The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Those Cheney fucks

Christine Pelisek of LA Weekly rounds up the media versions so you don't have to.

What did the old guy say?

As ever, the scansion is important. Fuck yourself is not idiomatic - certainly not in British English, and also, I suspect, in American English too. The idiomatic phrase is Go fuck yourself

Swearing and scansion are vitally linked, of course: the use of the Bono/Golden Globes expletive fucking [1] is a mere intensifier in meaning (rather than an attempt at Janet Jackson tit shock-horror), but its ubiquity in English speech is due to the satisfying rhythm it imparts. (In most cases, a proper adjective or adverb would serve even better - I'm pretty sure George Orwell decries the practice somewhere!)

The wide variety of versions printed by the various outlets surveyed by Pelisek only goes to show just how unreliable the media is; but a good part of that unreliability is due to the fallibility of witnesses. Which is given so pitiful a degree of recognition by the legal process [2].

  1. Bono's phrase: Fucking brilliant!

  2. There is a famous experiment where a bunch of learned men are gathered for dinner; two or three intruders suddenly appear, an altercation ensues, a shot is fired and they disappear. The learned men record their impressions of proceedings for the police. They differ wildly one from another.

    Eye witness testimony, regrettably, is still admissible in most courts.

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