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April 05, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-04-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Vpt 9Aktan Daflt
Eighty-two years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

'&!$!': A


look at swearing

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552



.*9 1 * t A I,
" 1:'

Early in life we learned t h a t
certain words, words sounding as
good as any others to infantile
ears, merited that label.
Sometimes we didn't learn fast
enough. Soap is horrible-tasting
But for centuries man has prac-
ticed swearing as an outlet and
as an'art. Swearing is not universal
-American Indians, Japanese and
Malayans have never gotten into
the potty-mouth scene. But most
countries have used the same words
and their variations at least since
there has been paper to record
Swearing has been a legal and
social no-no long before George
Washington called it "a vice so
mean and low that every man of
sense and character detests and
despises it." In England and t h e
United States swearing is still con-
sidered a legal offense.
MOST SWEARING is derived
from religious sources or else re-
fers to sexual or excretory func-
tions, which are calculated to bring
an emotional response. W o r d s
today considered obscene started
out as standard English but soon
became primarily the domain of
the male of the species as a sub-
stitute for crying. That was left
to women and babies.
The vocabulary has developed
colorfully over the ages and across
the globe. Australian aborigines
have highly developed the art;
terms meaning "big penis," "plenty
urine" and "bald pubis" sprinkle
the language. Ancient Romans
swore by their gods, Greeks swore
more mildly -- Pythagoras by the
number four, Socrates "by the
dog" or "by the goose." Baude-
laire, the 19th Century French poet,
used "Sacred Saint-Onion!" while
the Ionians swore "By the cab-
bage." Jews of old were powerful
swearers, and the Bible dictated
death as punishment for blasphem-
ing the Lord's name.
While Puritans and Quakers con-
demned the taking of oaths, many
were originally solemn Christian
oaths. "Catholic swearers," writes
Ashley Montagu in his book, The
Anatomy of Swearing, "are, on the
whole, far more accomplished in
the art than the votaries of other
Christian sects." Expressions such
as "Shiver me timbers" or "The
hell I will" can be equated with
"May God strike me dead" and
"May I go to hell."
That finest of dirty old men,
William Shakespeare, fondly em-
ployed the most explicit of terms.
Juliet's nurse swore "by my maid-

enhead," referring to the hymen.
"A pox on't" meant syphilis.
15th Century the English w e r e
known by the French as the "God-
dams" because of their constant
use of the term. Joan of Arc her-
self called them by the name.
The art of polite swearing w a s
best developed in England, where
"unmitigated cad" or "insufferable
young puppy" were fightin' words.
Nobility called each other a cur
or a cad, but never a bastard; too
often it was accurate. Scotland and
England had laws against the use
of vulgarisms and fines from using
them swelled the royal couffers.
All the current favorites, smirk-
ingly referred to as "THE four-let-
ter-words," were banned from diz-
tionaries by the 18th century. In
the 19th century's Victorian Age
women burst into tears when men
used such strong nasties, then very
taboo. Swearing had to go under-
ground in polite society. "Oh,
fudge," "Fiddlesticks," "L and
sakes," and "Goodness me" made
the rounds. Fortunately, the pro-
stitutes conscientiously kept t h e
words alive to hand down to future
In addition, names for the Deity
were coded in order to avoid "tak-
ing the Lord's name in vain." Je-
sus Christ became "Jiminy Crick-
et" or "Gee Whiskers"; Christ be-
came "Cripes" or "Criminy"; Je-
sus became "Gee," "Jeeze," or
"Jehosophat"; and God was trans-
lated into "Cor," "Gawd," "Gosh,"
or "Golly." These forms have lost
their religious meanings and be-
.come very mild by today's stand-
ards. Who could be offended by an
All-American Gary Cooper stam-
mering "Gee Whiz"?
Polite swearing today takes on
obvious forms. We know what he'd
REALLY like to say when a swear-
er utters an upset "Shoot!"
"Heck!" or "Darn!" College stu-
dents home for the weekend lapse
into a coded form of the words
tossed around so lightly in campus
As class barriers broke down,
swearing became common. And,
somewhere along the line, women
stopped crying when their ear- -
drums were molested by the rude
terms. A factory sign in a World
War II aircraft factory read, "No
swearing. There may be gentlemen
In the 1920's flappers picked up
the term "Jazz," a bit of Negro
slang used to mean sexual inter-
course. Pretty shocking, s i n c e
women of course are supposed to
be demure, and, if they insist on
opening their mouths, clean in lan-
guage. "Feminism finds its ulti-
mate tool - the four-letter word,"

information is on the rise! PIR-
GIM would like to fight this trend
by keeping PIRGIM members
aware of the progress of their $1.50
PIRGIM released two state-wide
projects during U-M's spring vaca-
tion. PIRGIM's Gasoline P r i c e
Study demonstrated that the jungle
of road-side gas signs deceive the
consumer with the variety of add-
ed-on taxes, trading stamps and
illegally sized pricing. PIRGIM's
investigation prompted Attorney
General Frank Kelly to issue a
set of requirements that gas sta-
tions in Michigan must comply
with by April 13. PIRGIM's Medic-
aid Project revealed that doctors
purposely discriminate against
Medicaid patients who apply for
health care. Medicaid patients are
the real losers in the doctors' ideo-
logical battle with the Dept. of
Social Services.
The following is a breakdown of
the 1973 PIRGIM budget: Profes-
sional staff - 53 per cent; office
- 9 per cent; loan and debt re-
payment - 9 per cent; campus or-
ganizing - 2 per cent; newsletter,
advertising, etc. - 3 per cent;
summer intern program - 4 per,
cent; projects (state and local) -
19 per cent.
PIRGIM's effectiveness is largely
determined by the number of staff
members; it presently employs a
four-member professional staff and
three part-time workers. Incom-
mensurables include allsthens t u-
dents and citizens who freely (i.e.
no pay) give their time and ex-
pertise. At pre-registration in April,
U-M students will indicate their
support by marking their PIRGIM
fee-collection cards yes or no.
Board members will be at the
PIRGIM station to answer a n y

wrote William Zinsse in a 1968
issue of Life. "Tarnation! Will they
never stop this blasted infringing?"
at Wisconsin's State University at
Stout, mothers of the world will
need as much soap for their sugar-
and-spices as for their puppy-dogs'
tails. Spys in the dorms f o u n d
women can hold their own with the
best of 'em, with "damn" among
the top twenty words used most
often in ordinary speech. What
were delicately called the "lustier
expletives" made the top seventy-
"When they break through," said
Stanford psychologist Philip Zim-

bardo, "they really let go." He said
that Barnard coeds swore at po-
lice in the spring of 1968 Colum-
bia University revolt in order to
flaupt their class superiority. Low-
er class women like the police-
men's wives will not swear in front
of men.
Happy, relaxed people are found
to swear more than uptight ones.
This swearing is social rather than
annoyance swearing. The social
swearer needs a good audience to
perform up to par, while the pre-
sence of the pure of mouth inhibits
him. Swearing in anger is good
therapy. It purges the swearer of
his violent emotions and calms him

Probi P

Swearing has advanced vastly in
the last decade in becoming ac-
cepted. Not only do women bandy
cusswords without a wince, b u t
the words are becoming a kids'
toy as well. But is this really pro,
gress? The real artists, the hard-
core swearers, face a dilemma-
there aren't any good words left
anymore. The words have lost their
power. Swearing has made it into
every social class. There's nobody
left . to shock.
GOLLY GEE, is nothing sacred?
Kathy Irrer, '75, i saguest
writer for The Daily.
asking them to join their students
in supporting PIRGIM by becom-
ing citizen members. PIRGIM re-
quests contributions of $15 to help
support the summer intern pro-
Now students can put their class
work on social problems to better
use than lining for desk drawers.
PIRGIM conducted four a!tlon-
oriented classes this Winter term.
N. R. Ecology 301 is investigating
the enforcement . of water pollu-
tion standards by the State Dept.
of Nat. Resources. Course Mart
"Consumer Investigations into
Medical Research" is taught by
Kay Weiss whose research into
DES (the morning after pill) re-
ceived nationwide attention. "Al-
ternatives to Prison" class is work-
ing to develop a new community-
oriented system. "Breakdowns of
the Free Enterprise System" is in-
vestigating the fast food industry,
occupational safety and o t h e r
ADDITIONAL Course Mart credit-
ed courses for Fall -are awaiting
approval. These include "E(%onom-
ics, Energy and the environment"
and class sections concerning con-
sumer protection, sex and race dis-
crimination, health care, pollution
and land use.
PIRGIM has 31 ongoing local pro-
jects. This summer we'll be devel-
oping a number of intensive pro-
jects, including areas of land use
and energy needs. If you're dis-
covering your $1.50 is doing more
for the Public Interest Mlovement
than you are, why not come by and
offer your talents to an organiza-
tion that runs on student motiva-
tion and initiative?
Joan Anderson is the chair per-
son of the PIRGIM board of di-
rectors at the University.



TM 1) All rights reserved


Ralph Nader:
PIRGIM's inspiration
TO MINIMIZE election c o s t s,
PIRGIM will conduct its own elec-
tion and a student opinion survey
April 9-10. The success of both ven-
tures depends on how many of PIR-
GIM's 11,000 members turn out to
vote. Students interested in helping
at registration or at the election
polls should stop by this week at
the PIRGIM office at 1511 SAB
or call 662-6597.
Those students aspiring to follow
Ralph Nader's footsteps s h o u 1 d
apply for PIRGIM's summer in-
ternship program. This job prom-
ises all the qualities of the Raid-
er lifestyle - modest pay ($350 plus
room and board in Lansing for the
summer) and hours of exciting
muckraking work. Work study stu-
dents are eligible for higher pay.
This week, U-M faculty and ad-
ministrators will receive letters


THE SENATE has lost Round One in
what. proves to be a long and ex-
hausting battle over President Nixon's
budget cutbacks.
The bill at stake this time around was
a $2.6 billion vocational rehabilitation
bill, cited by the president as irresponsi-
ble and unworkable. The bill had easily
passed the Senate by an 86-2 vote be-
fore being vetoed by Nixon. Unfortunate-
ly, the Senate was only able to assemble
60 votes to: attempt to override Nixon's
veto, four short of the required two-
thirds majority.
For the last few weeks, the Senate has
spoken bravely of fighting any Presi-
dential cutbacks. It is indeed disappoint-
Editorial Staff
Co-Editors in Chief
ROBERT BARKIN ....................Feature Editor
DIANE LEVICK .................Associate Arts Editor
DAVID MARGOLICK...........Chief Photographer
MARTIN PORTER................Magazine Editor
KATHY RICKE ....................Editorial Director
ERIC SCHOCH ....................Editorial Director
GLORIA SMITH....................... Arts Editor
CHARLESSTEIN.....................City Edtor
TED STEIN .......................Executive Editor
MARTIN STERN ....................Editorial Director
ED SUROVELL ........................ Books Editor
ROLFE TESSEM ......................Picture Editor
Sports Staff
Sports Editor
Managing Sports Editor
BOB McGINN.............Executive Sports Editor
CHUCK BLOOM.............Associate Sports Editor
JOEL .REER...............Associate Sports Editor
RICH STUCK............ Contributing Sports Editor
BOB H$UER ..............Contributing Sports Editor
NIGHT EDITORS: Jim Ecker, Marc Feldman, George
Hastings, Marcia Merker, Mark Ronan, Roger Ros-
siter, Theresa Swedo, Robin wagner.
STAFF: Barry Argenbright, Jeff Chown, Clarke Cogs-
dill, Brian Dming, Leba Hertz, John Kaher,
Mike Lisull, Mike Pritula, Bob Simon.

ing that when the time came for battle,
the Senate proved meek.
The nature of the bill itself merited
strong and rational consideration. It
would have authorized $2.6 billion in
grants over a three year period to basic
rehabilitation services, as well as launch-
ing a new aid program for the severely
Yet Nixon, apparently more concerned
with financing corrupt governments like
South Vietnam's President Thieu's, or
military spending, felt that the costs of
human services were inflationary. Nor
did Nixon offer any viable alternative to
the handicapped for future funding.
BUT FOR Nixon such behavior is typi-
cal. Our hopes had rested with the
Senate. They have failed us. The psycho-
logical advantage is now on Nixon's side,
and future efforts to override other
Presidential vetoes don't look promising.
The Republicans maintain that such
bills would destroy Nixon's budget ceil-
ing of $269 billion, thus causing tax
hikes. But the government has the op-
tion of closing up tax loopholes to pro-
vide needed federal revenue if it chooses.
Unfortunately again Nixon will not even
consider tampering with Big Business.
At this point, we can only cross our
fingers and hope that the Senate will
regain its voice and not succumb to the
Nixon "monarchy." The nation's fore-
fathers never believed in one man rule.
That was what the Revolution was all
T odays staff:
News:Angela Balk, Robert Barkin, Dan
Biddle, Dan Blugerman, Ted Stein
Editorial Page: Bill Heenan, Linda Rosen-
thal, Martin Stern.
Arts Page: Diane Levick, Sara Rimer
Photo Technician: John Upton



'Sylvia 's Sign-off'


To The Daily:
THIS MORNING when I read
The Daily, I noticed the omission of
the feature "Sylvia's Signs". This
was the best 'sign' yet; however,
upon closer inspection the words
"Sylvia is on vacation" loomed in-
to sight. My contentment quickly
faded into disappointment and dis-
gust, and thereby prompted t h i s
I have always had great respect
for The Daily. The editorials and
feature articles are almost always
of value and the reporting or cov-
erage of local, national, and inter-
national events is more than ade-
quate. My complaint is not against
the inclusion of a feature on as-
trology but rather against the form
that this feature has taken in The
Anyone who is interested in as-
trology will tell you that no one
horoscope can be true for all peo-
ple born under the same sign. It
is not accurate. In fact, the daily
horoscope for two people (born at
the same time, on the same day,
but in two cities 300 miles apart)
can be entirely different.
If one takes astrology seriously,
it is necesary to calculate the exact
time and place of birth, as well as
the planetary positions both at the

time of birth and at the time of the
projected horoscope. With this in-
formation it is then possible to get
an "idea" of what could occur on
a given day. I say "idea" because
it is potentially dangerous to be-
lieve entirely the accuracy of any
horoscope - no matter how "scien-
tifically" exact. The psychological
phenomenon of self-fulfilling pro-
phesy comes into play for if read-
ers take the advice seriously, it can
be dangerous (as witnessed in a
previous letter to the Editor). If
readers ignore the advice, what is
the value or purpose of a feature
on horoscopes? For' these reasons
(and countless others), I am both
amused and appalled by the fabri-
cated advice given by Sylvia.
The Daily is supposedly aimed at
a literate, educated audience. Is
it necesary to flaunt ignorance and
debase the intellectual level of
your readers by including this fea-
ture? This feature not only sup-
plies inaccurate information, but
gives advice which is so general,
it could apply to anyone regardless
of the alleged influence of the as-
trological sign. True, most na-
tional tabloids carry a feature
of this sort but - up until now -
I did not equate the readers of
The Daily with those those of The

New York Daily News.
Would it not be more interesting
and of greater value to run arti-
cles on the discipline of astrology,
other cult studies, and various as-
pects of altered states of con-
sciousness, such as meditation, sub-
conscious, dreams, ESP, and psy-
chedelic and psycho-active drugs.
Features of this sort would be in-
formative and would appeal to a
broader audience . . . on a higher
-Pamela Tytell
March 31
To The Daily:
SO SYLVIA is on vacation, and
we are spared her space-wasting
'drivel for a merciful (if unpredict-
able) interlude.
Let's retire silly Sylvia perman-
ently, and return to The D a il y' s
mission of printing news again.
-Edwin Arlington
March 31
To The Daily:
GET RID of Sylvia's Signs. In
an age searching for something to
believe in, it is all too easy for each
of us, each in our way, to succumb
to Sylvia's cosmic instructions.
And this only causes antagonism
and misunderstandings. Perhaps
you could replace her with a little
sermonette by Billy Graham.
-Kevin Krebs
March 22
(Editor's Note: Will Sylvia's
Signs return? The answer lies in
the stars.)
Never say die
To The Daily:
TUESDAY'S Michigan Daily at-
tempted to portray an anemic, un-
derweight, sad-eyed hippo clutch-
ing the air for its very breath. We
(the readers) were led to believe
the HRP losses in the first and se-
cond wards showed a renounce-
ment of HRP and an embracing of
the Democratic party on the part
of the student population. However,
when you look at the vote totals
you see the Democratic support
(and subsequent victories) not as
a passionate embrace but rather as
a marriage of habit.

cluding' East Quad where Jones
lives, went for Shoichet.-
Nor was the first ward defeat
"particularly bitter." For HRP to
win the model cities area, parti-
cularly when running against a lib-
eral black man, is a decided vic-
tory. Those voters remembered
who was walking on the secretaries
picket line, and who wasn't; who
is pushing for a Community Wo-
men's Clinic, and who isn't.
During the next year the differ-
ences between the Human Rights
Party and the Democratic party
will become even more evident.
People will be able to compare
what HRP and the Democratic
party do outside of city hall. If
a year from now all the Democrats
can run on its "Don't Blame Me-
I Voted Democratic" they had bet-
ter hope that the voters stay home
again. For the Human Rights Par-
ty is by no means quitting now, or
a month from now, or a year
from now. Hippos, particularly
when they're working collectively,
are hard, hard animals to kill.
April 13
'U' open to views
To The Daily:
WE INVITE all students to ex-
press their views on how the Uni-
versity of Michigan can contribute
still further to the people of Mich-
The University is defining its role
in meeting the future needs of the
State. Accordingly, we are review-
ing many aspects of higher educa-
tion, such as: Will there be greater
concern that the University at-
tract students from all sectors of
the State's population? Will t h e
citizens of Michigan prefer to
contribute to the University's sup-
port indirectly through taxes or
directly through tuition payments?
Will older citizens desire to attend
the Univeristy in greater numbers?
The Long Range Planning Com-
mittee of the U-M Office of Bud-.
gets and Planning, composed of
nine faculty members, four s t u-
dents, two deans, and two execu-
tive officers, began in fall, 1972. Its
Subcommittee on the Future En-
vironment of the University es-
pecially welcomes the views of

ed by the University to the people
of Michigan?
Even the briefest response will be
warmly welcomed, but it would be
particularly helpful if you can in-
dicate how your experience leads
to your predictions. We hope this
open invitation will serve to ex-
pand consultation between inter-
ested parties in the University com-
munity about the University of
Michigan's future.
Please address your letter to Pro-
fessor Claude A. Eggertsen, 4124
School of Education Building, The
University of Michigan, Ann Ar-
bor, Michigan 48104, or telephone
him at 764-54%.
We hope to hear from you in the
near future.
-Robert Cares
and 4 others,
Office of Budgets and
March 26
Thief testimony
To The Daily:
THAT BICYCLE is in a perfect
position! There's no one around
and that lock will break quickly.
The guy that owns this machine
must really be into the sport of
bicycling to own* a gem like this.
The sign on his seat says, "Vote
Yes on Bikeways" - Well, he
won't be riding on them.
It's beautiful that I can make
a quick" $100 daily by stealing a
couple of bikes. It's very nice that
bicycles don't have titles like cars
do or else that certainly would de-
feat me. And look how easy it is
to dispose of this. Inthe winter
I steal tape decks and in the sum-
mer, it's bicycles. There's an in-
finite market for these items. I
remember that guy whose tape
deck I stoleon a Sunday. Monday
he gave me $25 for another one.
Also, around the University, I don't
even feel paranoid about being dis-
covered. It appears the authorities
are busy prosecuting the owners
of the property instead of t h e
crooks, as was done to the guy in
East Quad. It's going to be a lucra-
tive season so I'm going to work.
-Name witheld by request
March 29

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