Random Drivel from your Average Tosser

...with your host, Binty McShae - whether you like it or not!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lost in Translation #02

No Common Censor

Censorship in Sinless City takes a bit of getting used to. This is a country where cigarette packets bear pictorial health warnings with such graphic images as rotted feet and a dead foetus yet the London Financial Times has to place a little black square over the naughty bits on a photograph... of a statue. This is also a country where mindless violence is the order of the day on TV but they get scissor happy when BBC sitcom 'My Family' shows a husband cuddling his wife on a bed. Of course, I would opine that 'My Family' would benefit from several other cuts, but that's by the by.

Language, though - that's a whole other thing. Despite my initial shock at the word 'shit' being bandied around all over the place in a stage play for primary school kids I soon accepted that this word was not considered offensive here. It is, instead, purely descriptive, and the play was talking about bird faeces. On the other hand I will never, ever understand why the TV company decided it needs to bleep the word penis, a legitimate name of a body part... or (and I shit you not here) why they bleeped the first half of the accessory item "bum-bag" (that's a 'fanny-pack' in the States).

But these all register only mild surprise next to what I witnessed last night. Watching 'The Sopranos' on local TV is a very musical experience, with every other word bleeped. But you get used to it... it goes something like -

"Paulie, don't be a ****ing mother****er and pass me the ****ing gun before I **** **** you with my **** and pull your **** off. You ****!"

So you can imagine my disbelief when Tony uttered the phrase "She's a cunt"... completely uncensored.

Now, leaving aside the mirth that State-siders using that word always induces in me (I'm sorry, but there is something about US accents that just causes that word to lose some punch!), I was completely floored! Did I hear that correctly? Gosh-darn it, I think I did!

After an evening spent wondering how THAT word could have slipped past the censors and creating conspiracy theories in my head about some rebellious TV censor starting a cultural revolution I came in to work today and mentioned it to a colleague. "Oh, yeah" she said, with an air of disinterest. "That never gets censored. Pretty much no-one understands what that word means".

Cue me calling everyone a cunt all day...

Cheers m'cunts!

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At Friday, May 11, 2007 3:30:00 pm, Anonymous sarah said...

i remember when i sent you an e-mail with a video that i shouldn't have.

i thought you'd be caned for it. i still feel bad.

you cunt.

At Friday, May 11, 2007 6:35:00 pm, Blogger P1P said...

Whoops never post when hungover I left the following reply on the post below.

"I spent an evening drinking with a couple of American girls who described it as dropping the C-Bomb. I laughed so much I nearly prolapsed."

I dont think it makes much sense when talking about baths.

Red wine hurts my brain

At Saturday, May 12, 2007 12:54:00 am, Blogger AmericanScot said...

That was a great example of the differences in language we have with our friends across the pond!
Cunt indeed! My best friend is a Kiwi and he uses the word as if if it were the same as calling soemone an asshole! (Of course that would be bleeped here in the states)

At Saturday, May 12, 2007 3:16:00 am, Blogger SafeTinspector said...

Here "ass" is ok, but "hole" will get bleeped if preceded by "ass".

And we all think UK accents cussing are cute, unless there's drawn weapons of course.


At Sunday, May 13, 2007 5:06:00 pm, Blogger Binty McShae said...

Sarah - a friend sent me a joke mail the other day that included a very large full frontal picture of two old fat blokes completely in the nude. As I have to some degree opted out of the technical revolution and refuse to have a computer at home the only place to see my mail is either at work (an ultra-religious school) or in the local library. If I had been spotted opening that pic at work I could well have been fired... opening it in a public library with kids running about would have left me open to prosecution under "Offence of Modesty" laws and I could have done some time! Needless to say the friend in question received a curt e-mail about properly warning me about the contents in future!

P1p - I did wonder when I read it! C-bomb, though... that's pretty funny...

Americanscot - some things just don't translate well between cultures. An ex-pat author over here called Neil Humphries wrote in one of his books about his students calling him "Mr Cuckoo Bird" until the day he discovered that 'cuckoo bird' is a metaphor for 'penis'.

SafeT - UK accents, depending on region, tend to be more clipped and harsh when swearing lending them more impact. Especially on the word 'cunt'. Cute? My fucking arse!

At Tuesday, May 15, 2007 8:48:00 pm, Anonymous michael greenwell said...


in my time away it was the nonsensical t-shirts i always found funny

At Wednesday, May 16, 2007 4:30:00 am, Anonymous sarah said...

i SERIOUSLY did feel bad McShae. i wouldn't want you getting in trouble!!

At Wednesday, May 16, 2007 7:00:00 pm, Blogger SafeTinspector said...

binty: You all are so cute, thinking that you sound harsh when you really are so adorable!
I've seen enough UK produced porn to know that
A: UK porn workers don't believe in working
B: You can't say "fuck," "suck," "fanny," "cunt," or "fist a chicken," without send me into an erection-wasting giggle-spell.

At Wednesday, May 16, 2007 7:01:00 pm, Blogger SafeTinspector said...

working OUT, not just working. They worked hard enough in front of the camera, just aren't particularly well shaped whilst doing so.


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