Sunday, October 18, 2009

Are there still words best left unsaid?

Maybe I see newspapers differently that you do. To me newspapers are special. I invite a newspaper into my home. It sits with me every morning at my breakfast table and shares stories with me, brings me up to speed on what has happened over the past 24 hours, while I drink my coffee, eat my cereal and just generally wake up.

I find it jarring when my friend asks me, "Why didn't he go after the writer of this crap...?" I change the conversation, I turn the page.

"She pisses off the wrong customer...," my friend, the newspaper, continues.

Now, the word crap I can take but I don't need it bandied about at the breakfast table. But the word piss has no place in day-to-day conversation. This is not the language of someone I want to wake up to. I'm not a prude, honest. I just recall what these words once meant.

One of my favourite columnists at The London Free Press likes to entertain and enlighten me with witty conversation and wise words. He makes me think and laugh at the same time. Ian Gillespie is a fine fellow with whom to share breakfast. He may offend but he is rarely offensive.

Ian has a grasp of English that seems to escape some of his superiors — in rank at the paper, not in class or writing abililty. P. J. Harston likes to throw around the term "wanker". He put the word to good use in his on-line piece, "Earth Day? Screw it!" (P.J. boldly used another questionable word right in his headline.)

Thank goodness for the redesign. Many of The London Free Press links are broken. You will be unable, at least in the short term, to read the Harston piece. (Harston the interactive manager must take some of the blame for all the broken links. I imagine if Harston was looking for a term to describe an interactive manager who cannot get his Internet code correct, he might reach no deeper into his rich vocabulary than the previous paragraph.)

Years ago I knew an English girl, Liz, who was staying with a girlfriend in Detroit. Liz brought the album Hair into her friend's home, but when her girlfriend's father, a Detroit policeman, heard the lyrics Liz was on the way home. I thought he over-reacted.

I would not have expected him to run out and buy the album or get tickets to the musical. Nor would the folk behind the production of Hair be surprise to learn that he was not to be counted among their audience. The Hair folk were not interested in having people like our Detroit policeman among their fans.

Why is it that The London Free Press appears not to be interested in having people like me among their fans?


  1. I love reading your posts!

    You're always making me question and think differently about events and everyday things.

    Your blogs are always invited for breakfast!

    Thanks for the good reads.
    Elle :)

  2. I don't know if one should comment on comments. It sounds like something that can continue to infinity - a little like a Chip 'n' Dale after-you-no-after-you routine.

    Some comments make me smile. The author of the above post may not realize it but she was the inspiration for my slightly off-balance "R". She has a very creative blog and it put my original "R" to shame.

    She is not the only person from whom I have taken inspiration while blogging - far from it. Someday I will write a post on how blogging has changed my life, or at least sharpened its focus.