22 January 2011

On Censorship

Censorship is one of the few topics that really fires me up. The idea that someone thinks they have the right to tell someone they can't think something and express it because of some irrational system of societal rules is as irrational as the people who allow it to go on. The parents who don't allow their children to watch a television show or read a book because it might have questionable material or a few words here and there that they don't like have a clear misconception of what goes on in public schools. As much as the administrations of the public school system would deny it and try to suppress it, there are things that go on in schools that are far more shrewd than anything in these books.

Two great examples of how people try their hardest to create some sort of over-protective dome of what they deem as 'appropriate' can be found here and here. The First of these links is a video from John Green whose book Looking for Alaska was being taught in a school where parents wanted it to be taken out of the curriculum. The Second is from a video blogger and author, Jackson Pearce, about the censoring of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

But, this blog is not about you or your parents or any one else who would want to censor it. It is about me and my thoughts. So to practice my powers of free speech, I chose the worst possible word in the English language; fuck--which for some reason is worse than other words that are deemed inappropriate. Below is a paragraph that I found here about the origins of the word fuck.

The obscenity fuck is a very old word and has been considered shocking from the first, though it is seen in print much more often now than in the past. Its first known occurrence, in code because of its unacceptability, is in a poem composed in a mixture of Latin and English sometime before 1500. The poem, which satirizes the Carmelite friars of Cambridge, England, takes its title, "Flen flyys," from the first words of its opening line, "Flen, flyys, and freris," that is, "fleas, flies, and friars." The line that contains fuck reads "Non sunt in coeli, quia gxddbov xxkxzt pg ifmk." The Latin words "Non sunt in coeli, quia," means "they [the friars] are not in heaven, since." The code "gxddbov xxkxzt pg ifmk" is easily broken by simply substituting the preceding letter in the alphabet, keeping in mind differences in the alphabet and in spelling between then and now: i was then used for both i and j; v was used for both u and v; and vv was used for w. This yields "fvccant [a fake Latin form] vvivys of heli." The whole thus reads in translation: "They are not in heaven because they fuck wives of Ely" [a town near Cambridge].

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