Bloody Stupid

Back in 1914, Shaw’s Pygmalion opened in England.

There was an uproar, even before the opening, because the press knew that a certain word would be used by the main female character.

I recently bought (for a dollar, thank you very much) the Cambridge Encyclopedia of English, which reprinted an article from an outraged newspaper in 1914. If the censors don’t do something, it said, the word will be spoken and who knows what will happen!

The word: bloody.

Liza, who is pretending to be a duchess, is asked whether she’ll be walking across the park.

“Walk! Not bloody likely. I am going in a taxi.” And the other characters swoon.

Interesting to note that the outraged article could not, would not, print the word, but could print “damn” several times. So “damn” wasn’t nearly as bad as bloody.

Haha, but that was 1914. Today, of course, things are different.

But I was reminded of the commercial for Australian tourism that came out a few years ago. The Canadians banned it because the spot implied “unbranded alcohol consumption.” Can’t have that. And England banned it because, yes, it ends with a woman asking, “where the bloody hell are you?”

In Australia, the word “bloody” is practically as innocuous as “gosh,” but England still has their standards. Or they did. They finally ruled that the commercial could air, and that “bloody” can finally be considered a non-issue.

Meanwhile, if this commercial doesn’t make you want to go to Australia, then you’re either dead or you’re my timid friend JB.

2 Responses to Bloody Stupid

  1. JB September 22, 2008 at 1:53 pm #

    I think “wary of death by poisonous spider or venomous snake” is a more apt description of my state.

  2. BruceS September 24, 2008 at 9:34 pm #

    It didn’t make me want to go to Australia.
    (I already wanted to go to Australia)

    There are plenty of poisonous spiders and snakes in Mississippi and Alabama, and they didn’t stop me from living there for 15 years. It was in Colorado that I nearly stepped on a rattler, and I still live here. Australia can keep its spiders, snakes, and even jellyfish—I’ll still want to visit.
    Yay Australia!

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