Friday, October 21, 2016

When You Think of Bullshit...

Some people are saying I wrote an “important article” on a topic in sociolinguistics. The modesty for which I am so well known prevents me from making this claim myself, but I can’t help what other people are saying, right? To be specific, linguist Michael Adams, in his recent book, In Praise of Profanity, wrote this: “In an important article, ‘On Swearwords and Slang,’ Robert L. Moore (2012) attempts to distinguish slang from profanity.”

Admittedly, the issues that linguists consider important might be different from those that the linguistically benighted deem worthy. Some people want to end world hunger, others want to distinguish slang from swearwords. Chacun à son goût.

My interest in this topic was provoked when an anonymous reviewer of an earlier article admonished me for putting slang and swearwords into a single lexemic category. So, looking at these two kinds of words closely, I was struck by the way they were so often linked but also by the fact that they were clearly not exactly the same thing. So, I sought the help of a number of Rollins students who dutifully filled out questionnaires asking them to categorize some of the words and phrases found in expressions like these:

“Who boogerbooing?...Jig, I don’t have to. Talking about me with a beat chick scoffing a hot dog! You must not of seen me…”

And, in a more poetical vein,

“He banked the six and seven cross-side

He took the motherfucking eight for a goddamn ride”

Based on what my students indicated, and backed up by what a similar sample of Chinese responses from Beijing students showed, I came to the conclusion that slang and swearwords are universal categories that serve separate universal social/psychological functions. The latter is prototypically used to express intense, often negative, emotion, while the former is prototypically used to inspire an ethos of egalitarian informality. These linguistic categories overlap in usage, largely because they share an emphasis on informality and the expression of affect. But they are prototypically separable and linked to specific design features of human sociality.

Anyway, it is nice to know that somebody has read one’s work and approved of it. Also, it occurs to me that if I write another 10 or 20 “important” articles on swearwords, I could become an academic big shot in linguistics; a kind of Jane Goodall of dirty words. If that happens, I intend to assume a cool slangy nickname like Badass Bob. Actually better than a slangy nickname would be a catch phrase. I’m open to suggestions, but right now I’m toying with this one: “When you think of bullshit, think of me.”

       Family Tree of Indo-European Languages 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Trump Speaks at Gettysburg, November 1963

In the fall of 1863 Abraham Lincoln spoke briefly and eloquently in a ceremony at Gettysburg, dedicated to honoring the men who fell in that terrible battle. But what if it weren't President Lincoln speaking? What if it had been President Trump?

       President Trump’s Gettysburg Rally

Four score and whatever our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that some day it could be made great again.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether America, or any nation can long endure unless it is led by an astonishingly healthy and smart guy like me. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives. But should we do this?
In a larger sense, a really huge sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground because these men are losers. They’re dead and buried. I like soldiers who don’t get killed. We’re not going to whip the Rebels if our guys keep dying by the thousands! The brave men, at least the living ones, who struggled here, have consecrated this battlefield, but not as much as my speech will. The world will little note, nor long remember what they did here, but it can never forget what I’m saying here. Cause I have the best words. Now it is for us the living to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far advanced – my re-election. It is for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—a Trump victory in 1864! From this battlefield victory (which I would have won even sooner because I know more than the generals) everyone should take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that I get four more years. Only in that case will these dead men (losers!) not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of greatness—and this government shall not perish from the earth, this government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Oh, who am I kidding? I mean government of the people, by the people, and for me, Donald Trump. 

Believe me.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Is Roger Ailes Blocking Trump's Tweets Now?

My associate, Mr. Fulano de Tal, reports from a source that has on occasion not proven unreliable, that Roger Ailes has been blocking Donald Trump's attempts to tweet about Hillary's health. According to the source, the following were the top ten of Trump's attempted tweets:
Just like I said, Hillary is sick + weak. But I’m the strongest + healthiest man who ever lived. And I can get a doctor’s note to prove it!

Rog. Ailes says no tweeting now. Hide my real self. No way! My real self: amazing – I have the best words. Part of my incredulous geniosity.

Hillary is so weak and sick. I bet she is barfing right now. Ever seen a woman throw up? Big slimy gobs of pukc. Disgusting!

I have never thrown up. Except when I was a baby and my mamma burped me on her shoulder. And then it was the best puke.

I think HRC had been drinking too. She was staggering like a drunkard – just like this; I’ll show you what I mean, watch me in this video!

[Sorry, video not available at this time – Culture World editor]

FDR’s wheelchair, Ike’s heart attacks, JFK’s back. America has had enough of these weak losers. And staggering Hillary - I will crush her!

I will NEVER get sick. Believe me.

I have a penis and it is huge. Believe me.

Plus a retweet from Trump’s friend, Putin:

@VladimirtheGreat  That woman, Hheellary, so styooppeed + so week. Nyekhorosho! I laff at her – Hha-hha-hha!