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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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43 Responses to 794

  1. The Millers says:

    It’s easy to have convictions until they are tested. Then it’s hard. Real hard.

  2. Robb says:

    There is nothing more tiring than a sweary vicar. I try really hard not to. I have friends who I have known for years and as soon as they put on the collar it makes me do a double take if they start swearing.

  3. Tiggy says:

    It must be quite tiring trying not to. I’m sure I’d feel an urge to swear as soon as I put it on.

  4. Matt says:

    I can’t think of many issues that are more tiresome to me than the morality of swearing debate (is it even a debate?). Thing is, I am a Christian, and I was an English major, and I honestly don’t care if people swear, but I’m more put off by the lack of originality.

    (I guess if you want to take the morality of swearing into consideration, you’re just being boorish when you swear around people who find it offensive. Whether or not it’s inherently wrong isn’t really the question, it’s just that you’re ignoring the golden rule.)

    But think about it: there are only so many swear words. I listen to someone swear up a storm and think about how many interesting & more situation-appropriate words they could have chosen, and all I can do is question their intelligence.

    You want to swear? Fine. Just prove to me you’re doing it because it’s the best possible choice of words. Otherwise, it’s just lazy and unimaginative, and unless you’re truly unintelligent, you can probably do better.

  5. Tiggy says:

    That’s not a real swear word, unless you’ve put an extra asterisk in by mistake.

  6. Tiggy says:

    Anglo-Saxon is a particularly good language for swearing I think. Take the French ‘merd'; it has a nice contemptuous sound appropriate to some situations, yet it lacks the force of ‘shit’ or ‘sheiser’ (however that’s spelt!) Sometimes the oft-used word IS the more appropriate one. For instance my friend told me I shouldn’t say ‘I felt like I was on another planet’ because it was uncharacteristically unoriginal for me, but it was exactly how I had felt so it stayed in my email. Another one like that is ‘he’d turn in his grave’ – used a lot, but I’d still have no qualms about using it. Nothing else quite does.

  7. BeckyG says:

    Robb – I hear you. I lost some friends (well guess they weren’t real friends after all) when I tried to counsel them about the need to behave now they are seen as Christian leaders (in their cases the issue was posting pics of them drunk and flirting). They thought I was a prude, wingnut, and worse but what I was doing was pointing out what you illustrated. Like it or not when you’re an ordained minister, author, public speaker, etc. you’re seen as ‘religious leaders’ and with that comes a set of expectations. Do we stumble? *&^%$## yes – I talk about my struggles to follow Jesus despite my flawed humanity all the time.

    I think the pastor would be more sympathetic if he didn’t damn others for doing what he does himself. I clearly admit I’m a mess.

  8. Jane says:

    I swear too much and I shouldn’t. Interestingly I hardly swaear at all in French.
    However I never wear a dog collar, ever.

    However this cartoon spoke to me at a very primal level I live with an almost permanent fear – a sort of day-mare of falling down stairs so I sort of know that I would be screaming not swearing at the bottom of those stairs.

    There is also however some research that in extreme situations swearing comes froma very different part of the brain than normal speech – not that I’m trying to excuse my own bad language which I know comes from a more controllable part of the brain

  9. Forrest says:

    “Swearing is bad.” Yeah, so is sinning, but see how many people never do that one either.

  10. subo says:

    have you all been watching ‘Lesbian Vampire Killers’?

    or shouldn’t I admit to seeing films like that in this esteemed company?

  11. subo says:

    you know the one about the Bishop found cursing at the bottom of the stairs? a kindly verger asked ‘did you miss a step?, my Lord’, to which the Bishop replied ‘No, I hit every bloody one’

  12. Carole says:

    Hahaha! I like that one, Subo.

    Re swearing, if it doesn’t sound thoroughly offensive, you are clearly not doing it right. I listen to ‘swearers’ with a critical ear and I’m convinced that it is only in my corner of the UK (and indeed the English speaking world) that speakers are able to pack the venom needed into the old Anglo-Saxon expletive…and the odd gallon of phlegm. ;)

  13. Carole says:

    Subo – BTW I meant the joke, not Lesbian Vampire Killers.

  14. Tiggy says:

    I like the sketch with Stephen Fry where he’s a vicar baptising a baby and he looks at it and says, ‘I christen this baby Ugly Little Bastard Jones’.

    Btw, can I point out that I have literary Tourettes?

  15. alice says:

    What’s the big deal? He wasn’t in the pulpit.

  16. AnneDroid says:

    My brother in law claims to his wife he can’t help swearing. What annoys her a lot is that he mysteriously doesn’t swear in the presence of my husband (his brother) and me, presumably because we’re Christians. We’ve never asked him not to or anything, btw. (Working in jail I am pretty well oblivious to bad language now of course). But the fact he obviously CAN help swearing but still does it in front of her offends her as it seems like a lack of respect for her. I guess swear-ers need to factor in how it affects the people who hear them.

    I think it’s abusing/misusing the name of God/Jesus which is what bothers me more. Yet people think the “f” word is the bad one. I’ve come across many Roman Catholic priests who constantly say “oh my God” etc, so maybe my hang-up is a proddy one…

    Incidentally, a friend of ours was disappointed when his angelic wee girl came home from school aged five and said,”Daddy, I know the “f” word”. “Oh dear”, he said. “Yes”, she said. “It’s bugger”. He didn’t know whether to laugh or worry about her spelling!!

  17. Allatsea says:

    I really have no opinion on swearing. Far too many other things to be worrying about.
    It’s more often than not the spirit behind people’s words that leaves me feeling fully of joy or in a heap on the floor tending my wounds.
    The words themselves are just letters strung together at the end of the day…..

  18. Tiggy says:

    It seems like the higher church the clergy, the more they swear. The Pope must be dreadful!

    I remember my nephew when he was three, looking at an ants nest and saying,’Look at all the little buggers.’ Now I wonder where he got that phrase from….

    My 8 year old nephew the other day picked up a unexpectedly heavy bag of books to carry up to my flat and I heard him say ‘Jesus Christ! Catholic school obviously rubbing off on him.

  19. alastair says:

    Well, whatever the discussion, I just thought it was funny…

    And I shall continue my creative use of language of all sorts, in context, usually appropriately and occasionally at full volume. My Holy Orders don’t obscure my normality, I hope.

  20. Tiggy says:

    Was the vicar in the cartoon actually swearing? The position he fell in, it looks like he might actually have hurt his b******s.

  21. Greg says:

    Salt of the Earth….light of the World

    Christians are called to strive to be Christ like and that does mean go into the gutters and help the ones there but not to join in. I do not believe Jesus would be dropping f-bombs in the name of normality.

  22. Tiggy says:

    Okay, hands up who knows any Aramaic swear words?

  23. I seem to swear at the tely more often than not these days, probably just an age thing…anyway…
    Lithuania was the last country in Europe to be christianised (1275 I think; its language is also the oldest in europe and has no swear words in it. Perhaps the swear word has something to do with the prevalence of christianity?

  24. mrben says:

    I think the concept of “swearing” is an interesting one. Certainly the NT urges us to be in control of our tongue, and the OT encourages us not to take the name of the Lord in vain, but it strikes me that this set of “bad” words we have (which seems to change a lot) is less a Christian thing and more a middle-class morality thing.

  25. Freedom Bound says:

    “Okay, hands up who knows any Aramaic swear words”

    yep! Taught to me by Jesus!!! “Raca”! Matthew 5. 22…..

  26. Hee. Hee. Good one. Actually made me laugh out loud.

  27. Mr Ben, it is more about class than anything else.

  28. jonbirch says:

    words are just ****** words really, aren’t they? the same ****** words used in different ****** ways infuses them with different ****** meanings.
    if someone tells me to ‘**** off!’ this could be a put down filled with venom, or have a humorous touch that makes me laugh and makes me feel better about my ****ishness.
    are there really bad words? i don’t think so… just badly used words. in the right context all words have their use.
    having said that, some people f and blind between every word… i just sounds middle class and pompous if i say i think it’s ignorant, even if i do think that. it’s easy for me, i didn’t grow up in a sweary house… in fact my upbringing was the opposite and i had to introduce swearing into the family home with skill and subtlety. :-)

  29. jonbirch says:

    yup, freedom bound… ‘raca’ fits the bill.

  30. Kennedy says:

    Swearies are like presents – it’s the though that counts.

  31. Kennedy says:

    Swearies are like presents – it’s the thought that counts.

  32. mrben says:

    jonbirch – there _are_ bad words (from a Bible point of view): those that “take the name of the Lord in vain”.

    To add to your collection, in Philippians 3:8 Paul uses the word ‘skubalon’, which, if translated properly, would read ‘shit’, although is usually dulled down to read ‘garbage’ or ‘rubbish’.

  33. JF says:

    Matt (4) – very well said!

    Controlling one’s tongue is about much more than avoiding words that are considered vulgar.

    Jon – I never had the skill or subtlety to introduce swearing into my family home :-( It’s still the one place I can’t utter a swear word, although my brothers manage to slip in the odd “B”.

  34. Allatsea says:

    My mum used to tell me that people who were judgemental should just ‘get te f***’
    There was so much love in those words, telling me not to worry about what people think, still warms my little heart.
    Confused about what ****ishness could mean Mr Birch (no.28) been trying to figure it out and it ceased being edifying about ten minutes ago ha ha ha

  35. Tiggy says:

    I’m still trying to imagine someone introducing swearing with ‘skill and subtlety’!

    I love the swearing gran character that Catharine Tate does. She’s so much like my nan who was a real Eastender.

    Swearing only really became a class issue in Victorian times. Before that the upper classes swore just as much. I think part of the class thing is that showing your emotions is less frowned on in a working class culture.

    99% of the time when I swear it’s done humourously. I don’t like it when it’s aggressive like when people yell out in the street at night.

    Apparently a lot of the swear words in the Bible got toned down when it was translated. I would really be very surprised if Jesus, being a carpenter, didn’t swear if he hit his finger with a hammer or whatever the equivalent was then.

  36. Robb says:

    Personally don’t care about swearing if it is used to make a point. Can’t be bothered with it when it is punctuation.

  37. Bo says:

    I used to use the F-word a lot (and I only mask it like this when sensitive americans are around), but stopped doing this once I had a revelation of just how beautiful, blessed and wonderful this God-given gift called sex really is.
    Whenever you use something as a swear-word, you mark your lack of respect for it.
    You seem like an intelligent bunch here, so I won’t need to explecitly tell you how that makes me feel about people saying “Oh my God!” or “Jesus Christ, what an ugly shirt”, swearings that are somehow considered “less bad” than the F-word (just look, I can write them explicitly w/o fear of offending people)

  38. dubb says:

    I think his choice of swearword may be appropriate seeing how he landed…

  39. AndyP says:

    When the Sex Pistols released their album “Never Mind The B******s – It’s The Sex Pistols”, they were sued in the UK for using offensive language. They argued successfully in court that “b******s” was an archaic word for “priests”, and this was the meaning they had intended in the album title.

    In this light, surely the unfortunate man in the cartoon is merely calling for help from his ecclesiastical colleagues..?


  40. Robb says:

    AndyP – I love that story! I still don’t think I could get away with wearing the T-shirt to work :lol:

  41. BlackXanthus says:

    I have to say that I quite like the idea that people think that Clergy shouldn’t sware. There’s something beautiful about being in a pub, and hearing someone say “f***”, and then appologise when they see someone in a Dog-Collar. These are normally “unchurched” people, who’ve still grown up, for reasons I don’t really understand, that the Clergy are someone who should command a little bit of respect.

    In this day and age respect is something that’s generally lacking. Anything that can help bring that back is a good thing. If that means that it shocks people when Clergy sware, that’s a good thing. It would be nice to bring back the idea that swearing in public is a bad thing simply so that we can show respect for both swearing (so it returns to having it’s original impact), and to other people.

    The thing is, I’m not very good at not swearing. I do try, I really do, but it’s on my list of thigns that I should probably change about myself.


  42. Tiggy says:

    Sometimes if I turn round and give an offended look, a person (only ever a man) will apologise to me for swearing. I really like that. I suspect that when I get my new hat, it will happen more because hats seem to command respect – the right kind of hat. :-)

    I’ve really started swearing a lot since I’ve been living on my own.

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