08 February 2011

Oh, Number Two!


When I posted on the subject of Creating Godde in my own image, I expected some negative reactions, but the kind of negative reactions the post received has been rather interesting.

Setting aside the whole "feminist issue" for a minute, one of the more interesting comments was from a fellow Methodist who objected to my first comment that I was waiting for the inevitable **** to fly. I wrote four asterisks, and my colleague pulled out the old card of "Let's all be horrified that an ordained minister (and a woman at that?) has made a scatological remark."

I'm going to put myself on a limb again, but I don't believe that there is anything immoral or unethical with making scatological remarks. I accept that some may find such words distasteful, but I think possibly the greatest worry is about being indelicate.

We also have all these "cute" words for excrement (is that a naughty word too?) like "number two" and "doggy do" and "poo poo". Are four asterisks really all that much more offensive? And, for that matter, what really is wrong with the words "shit" or "crap"? (yes, I dared to write them)

It's a topsy-turvy world. I wonder if those who take offense at four asterisks are writing letters of protest to the television programmes that are showing people jumping up and down shouting "Oh my God! Oh my God!"? (Are you offended that I dared to write those words? It's technically taking the name of the Lord in vain, but my bet is you're not nearly offended at that as what I wrote in the previous paragraph.)

Or what about getting outraged at articles that spin the truth so that people are presented in the worst possible light or presented as meaning something that they didn't mean? God forbid that those with sensitive constitutions should see four asterisks, but, hey, tell as many half-truths as you like and hope that others will interpret everything in the worst possible light.

We don't care about truth or taking the Lord's name in vain, but don't offend our eyes or ears with Number Two.

15 comments:

J A Y B said...

Good grief - is that all some people have to be concerned with. Poverty, homelessness, substandard utilities, underclass accepted as a norm. As you say Pam, it is better to be in a lather about **** then the above. The above needs interaction and people power.

Mendip Nomad said...

It's when people say they don't give a shit that I start to worry. I mean, I worry about how long it's been going on and whether they need to see a doctor. Because long-standing constipation really is a major issue!
(Sorry, PamBG, couldn't resist - student humour I'm afraid!)

And really, as JAYB says, if people think the use of earthy language is the greatest language in the world then their priorities really need a looking at!

Will said...

Reminds me of what Tony Campolo says. 'There are millions dying of hunger and you don't give a shit. In fact, most of you are more worried about my saying "shit" than you are about those hungry people.'

PamBG said...

MN: Your earthy humour is appreicated around here. Especially by my Chaplain colleague who is serving on the Colorectal unit!

Mendip Nomad said...

Just realised that my comment above should read "if people think earthy language is the greatest problem in the world" rather than what it does say! While I wouldn't hold with earthy language necessarily being the greatest language in the world it most certainly speaks to the reality of the world we live in.

Oh, and "Nomad" is the preferred shortening - I'm really not very big at all, and certainly nowhere near the size of the "Gopher State" :-)

Rev Tony B said...

Good, isn't it? I mean, all these folk jump up and down about homosexuality (on the basis of about 5 texts - usually taken out of context), and ignore the many texts about gossip and self-righteousness, because that would be a bit too close to home. And I still hear people argue that we shouldn't mix religion and politics, in spite of Amos, and Micah, and all those texts which refer to justice. Because then they'd have to be disturbed.

As far as "naughty words" are concerned, there are certain words I choose not to use. That's not to say I don't know them (I do) or that I'm shocked and embarrassed by them (I'm not). Not worth a wrinkled old Mersey goldfish, IMHO. (Get the allusion, arf, arf...)

When will people realise that what they say or write says at least as much about them as it does about what they're trying to address or attack?

WomanistNTProf said...

I give a damn about poverty, homelessness, unfair treatment of people because of sexual orientation, etc. I wish the hell the church would care more in a tangible, visible way. It seems only appropriate for men (and male clergy) to use the F bomb and other words in the presence of other men and then to be alarmed to hear a woman use them -- not that I'm a fan of the F bomb, but I am not for hypocrisy and chauvinism. I was a contributor to a volume edited by men and I raised a question to which one of the editors, a male clergy, responded in a nasty way saying "Where the F*** did you get these people" thinking he was speaking only to the other men. When he realized he had sent the email to me by mistake, he lied and said he meant to send it to the Publisher--yeah right! He felt it was okay to speak to other men about a woman in a "manly" I'm guessing language. And language is important and powerful. But we also choose to give power to language and one way is to limit who can use it and to whom it applies, includes, excludes, etc.

PamBG said...

WNTP: To be fair, I suspect that the person was more offended that I'm a minister than that I'm a woman.

But I also give a damn about poverty, homelessness, unfair treatment of people because of sexual orientation, etc. I also wish the hell the church would care more in a tangible, visible way.

I'm also proud as hell that, although the British Methodist Church doesn't always manage to have the most effective woman- and manpower to provide answers to these things that, at least we do mainly give a shit about these things and understand why Jesus would too. I wish more American Christians would do the same.

WomanistNTProf said...

rofl

Steven Jones said...

At the funeral of the late Prof Steve de Gruchy, who at the time of his death was head of the School of Religion and Theology at the University of kwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, his successor, Dr Simanga Kumalo (a Methodist minister) recalled, much to the amusement of those in attendance, that Steve was arguably the first theologian to use the word "shit" in an academic paper (referring to the state of squalor in which a number of desperately poor people live).

Given that Steve was well-known not only as a fine theologian but also as an activist who championed the cause of the poor, with community development being dear to his heart, Simanga remarked that in light of this, we all prehaps need to start developing a "theology of shit".

Like you, I'm not advocating gratuitous use of foul language, but sometimes we also need to stop being so "anally retentive" (to use the polite term) about these things.

Please keep these challenging posts coming - your one about "Godde" certainly provided some food for thought!

Steven Jones said...

Eek - more haste, less speed. That should have been "perhaps", not "prehaps"! I don't want people to think that we can't speak English properly, here in Darkest Africa!

"Sir" said...

The others said it. That's what comes of being late.

Steve Hayes said...

I'm reminded of the story of the lady who exclaimed "Oh shit, I've stepped in some doggy do."

And of Milan Kundera, who said that kitsch is the ultimate denial of shit.

PamBG said...

@Steve: :-)

stf said...

reminds me of the story of the preacher (was it Bono?) who made the comment some of you are more worried that I used a swear word than the fact that we are allowing one child to die every minute from hunger cos of poverty

today's reading for lent reminds us that we are called to stand in the gap ...