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Abrahams cussing
12-12-2012, 08:16 PM
Post: #16
RE: Abrahams cussing
(12-12-2012 07:15 PM)Rob Wick Wrote:  I think for some added perspective, people need to read Stories The Soldiers Wouldn't Tell by Thomas Lowry. Although Lowry got into some serious trouble recently, I've never seen anything mentioned about this work that would lessen it's veracity. It gives an interesting account as to what really went on with soldiers during the war.

As I said before, Lincoln was a product of the frontier. He had to have heard every word imaginable, and used select ones himself. He also rode the circuit with a number of other men, and during the times when they were sitting by the fire I doubt they were reciting Bible verses.

I often get the feeling that many people who are upset with the saturation of sex and profanity which seems apparent in today's society has the notion there was a "golden age" when such things didn't happen. I've never accepted that. People got pregnant outside of wedlock all through history (even Lincoln believed it of his own mother) and pornography isn't a 20th century invention. Read traveling accounts of 19th century preachers on the frontier and you'll get a greater understanding of what real life was like then. I read several in trying to understand Everton Conger's father, Enoch and his life as a missionary on Ohio's Western Reserve.

Best
Rob

Rob,
The whole subject got me wondering about recent Presidents' language.

Harry Truman used to say, "hell," "son of a -----," and "g-d damn" a lot. It actually became a semi-issue in 1952 when Richard Nixon running as Vice-Presidential candidate to Ike said that when they were elected the White House was going to be a place of no more profanity.

Of course this was hilarious when the Watergate transcripts were released and there were so many "explitive deleted" when Nixon was cursing.

LBJ was known to use salty language once advising the George HW Bush to run for Senate in TX because the difference between the House and the Senate was the difference between "chicken salad and chicken ----."

Don Regan who was Ronald Reagan's chief of staff was remembered be creative in the use of the "F" word and supposedly said it all the time according to Lou Cannon's biography of Reagan.

Clinton supposedly complained in front of reporters in 1993 that "Carter f---ed" him over Carter's peace plan in Haiti.

George W. Bush was caught on live mic calling a reporter a name that rhymes with brasspole and on live mic telling British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to tell the Syrians to "knock off this s---."

And there is this clip where VP ***** Cheney told a Senator from VT to "bleep off" on the Senate floor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYY1oDDYS18

Of which he seems to be quite proud.

Supposedly according to David Corn's reporting at last year's debt ceiling talks there were some not printable language exchanged between the two sides.

Lincoln's occasional rude frontier jokes seem pretty tame...in comparison Smile
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12-12-2012, 08:28 PM
Post: #17
RE: Abrahams cussing
My point exactly. The widespread use of profanity is much more prevalent in the 20th century than it was in the 19th -- and we have come to accept it and expect it, no matter what the subject.

Dueling was much more prevalent in the 19th century and those that came before. Why don't we just bring it back since it was obviously okay for our ancestors to use it as a way to settle their differences?
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12-12-2012, 09:00 PM
Post: #18
RE: Abrahams cussing
Interesing points, Mike. Also, many military commanders were quite blue with their language.

Quote:The widespread use of profanity is much more prevalent in the 20th century than it was in the 19th

I'm sorry, but I can't agree with that. It wasn't as exposed, certainly, but to say that it was more prevalent now would also have to mean it was less prevalent in everyday conversation then, and that just isn't true. My files on Enoch and preaching in the 19th century are boxed up now, but one of the biggest complaints written about by the clergy was the vulgar language thrown about in society, among numerous other sins.

Does its use add anything to the movie? Doubtful, but I also hold with my original point, i.e., this is much ado about nothing.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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12-12-2012, 09:50 PM
Post: #19
RE: Abrahams cussing
(12-12-2012 09:00 PM)Rob Wick Wrote:  Interesing points, Mike. Also, many military commanders were quite blue with their language.

Quote:The widespread use of profanity is much more prevalent in the 20th century than it was in the 19th

I'm sorry, but I can't agree with that. It wasn't as exposed, certainly, but to say that it was more prevalent now would also have to mean it was less prevalent in everyday conversation then, and that just isn't true. My files on Enoch and preaching in the 19th century are boxed up now, but one of the biggest complaints written about by the clergy was the vulgar language thrown about in society, among numerous other sins.

Does its use add anything to the movie? Doubtful, but I also hold with my original point, i.e., this is much ado about nothing.

Best
Rob

Not to get too philsophical but hasn't what is considered profanity changed over the years? The bigger concern was blasphemous words said against God in the past. Something our more secular society doesn't care about as much as a whole.

I feel like George Carlin and his seven words routine, here.

What is profane or vulgar is ultimately a social construct. There is really no logical reason why some words that mean the exact same thing are a "curse" and something else is not. We now use the phrase "n word" for a word that was very common in the 19th and 20th centuries. While it doesn't count as profanity, mores do change and what is considered vulgar does change.

There are some languages and cultures like Japan where there is no such thing as profanity. There are rude and insulting phrases and so forth, but no particular word is considered unsayable per se.

Laurie Verge is right though of course about dueling and violence. There was a much higher murder and violence rate per capita in the 19th century than the 21st century. I know that is hard to believe with news reports and so forth, but America is enjoying today its lowest level of violence in its history.

If anyone is interested in this non-Lincoln topic, I would suggest psychologist Stephen Pinker's books which are very good.

Sorry, now back to our beloved 16th President.Wink
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12-12-2012, 09:50 PM
Post: #20
RE: Abrahams cussing
(12-12-2012 09:00 PM)Rob Wick Wrote:  Interesing points, Mike. Also, many military commanders were quite blue with their language.

Quote:The widespread use of profanity is much more prevalent in the 20th century than it was in the 19th

I'm sorry, but I can't agree with that. It wasn't as exposed, certainly, but to say that it was more prevalent now would also have to mean it was less prevalent in everyday conversation then, and that just isn't true. My files on Enoch and preaching in the 19th century are boxed up now, but one of the biggest complaints written about by the clergy was the vulgar language thrown about in society, among numerous other sins.

Laurie and Betty are the 19th century etiquette specialists but I'll add that it is unbelievable to me how much profanity is used openly now compared to when I was a kid, especially by kids.

.
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12-13-2012, 02:45 PM (This post was last modified: 12-13-2012 04:29 PM by Laurie Verge.)
Post: #21
RE: Abrahams cussing
I just want to clarify one thing: My original post was related solely to the use of the F & S words -- not profanity in general. It appears to me that Rob and Mike have misunderstood and extended the subject to include a much wider variety of cursing.

I certainly agree that 19th-century language had profanity in it. However, there are many forms of vulgarity, and some were/are much more popular than others. My contention is that the F & S words were not in popular, standard usage until one hundred years later.

Rob has mentioned Enoch Conger's writings on vulgar language. I would appreciate Rob sending me a PM of one example where Enoch specifically mentions an F or S word -- those are my targets as being very infrequently used during the era that we concentrate on.
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12-13-2012, 06:27 PM
Post: #22
RE: Abrahams cussing
I can no more send you a sermon from Enoch Conger (or any other preacher) on a specific profanity anymore than I could send you a sermon on black haired prostitutes vs. red-headed ones or madeira vs. moonshine. Your first post referred to the two words discussed in the movie but your subsequent posts referred to profanity in general. Your point that F*** and S*** were not used in the 19th century in any large amount remains questionable. There is no way to prove it. However, by looking at 19th century sermons, especially during revivals, one can see what was on the mind of the clergy, and vulgarity in language was a large part of it as was sexual immorality. Indeed, guards had to be posted at some revivals to keep men and women from going off into the woods (and they weren't going to pick berries). Some preachers believed that given the emotionalism rampant in revivals that men and women shouldn't worship together lest they become too excited.

Whether they were using a specific word misses the larger point, which from the outset is that today we seem to look at times past with the idea that we have somehow devolved where morals are concerned, and I think that's wrong. The only difference between 19th century American society and society today is that words and actions are more visible today due to a media which has let those words which have always existed (and were always used) enter into the national conversation.

I don't think anyone in the movie ever said Lincoln used the word F***, but he most certainly did tell the Ethan Allen story, and he most certainly did use the word S***.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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12-13-2012, 07:02 PM
Post: #23
RE: Abrahams cussing
My first post stated the two words that others had mentioned being in the movie and reflected in some reviews. I remained on topic while you turned it into an argument about vulgarities in general. You just did the exact same thing with this latest post.

I have not disagreed with you in respect to common vulgarities in the 19th century; you have just strayed from the original posting. And, you are the one who consistently cited Enoch Conger. I'm not surprised that you can't find the F or S words in his sermons. And, I'm not sure what that has to do with prostitutes and imbibing...

I did not say that Lincoln used the F word in the movie, but someone did use it. My point was that it was unnecessary! Yes, the media can bear part of the blame for the increased use of filthy words; but when was the last time you heard the talk that goes on in school hallways, the lunch room, in malls and other gathering places? How many times do you hear that language coming out of the mouths of men in business suits and women in beauty parlors? The media isn't to blame for 100% of the spread. And authors who consistently throw them in for shock value are doing a disservice also. I don't know if you are a father or not, but do you allow your child to use those two choice words because men like Lincoln did?

You and others are perpetuating modern use of these words when writing defensive posts like this. Just because Lincoln used the S word doesn't mean that we need to stress it in our writings, and just because he came from humble roots on the frontier doesn't mean that he was socially correct in using such words. You appear proud of him because he used them.

I will end my sermon by saying that right now I can think of one sentence containing both words that will stop this conversation - but I am too much of a lady to use it.
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12-13-2012, 07:22 PM (This post was last modified: 12-13-2012 07:23 PM by Rob Wick.)
Post: #24
RE: Abrahams cussing
Quote:You and others are perpetuating modern use of these words when writing defensive posts like this.

Physician, heal thyself.

My point about Enoch and other preachers is to counter your claim that not all vulgarities in place today were prevalent in the 19th century. Again, you can provide no proof of that other than your opinion. And my other point (which I believed to be clear) is that they didn't talk specifics but rather in broad terms as to what was going on.

Say what you want to me. But don't accuse me of being defensive when your posts are normally that way most of the time.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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12-13-2012, 07:28 PM
Post: #25
RE: Abrahams cussing
You just don't seem to get my point that I have been referring to only two vulgar words this entire time. Please stop trying to broaden the topic. You have also turned this into a personal attack, and on that note, I shall end.

Say good night, Rob...
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12-13-2012, 08:16 PM
Post: #26
RE: Abrahams cussing
I've heard that the origins of the 'F' word date back to the 1600's, when it was used in defiance of the King Of England's taxes.
Of course I'm sure we might say the same thing [or worse!!] when we get our tax bill.....
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12-14-2012, 08:14 PM
Post: #27
RE: Abrahams cussing
If anyone is interested there is an online Etymology dictionary for looking up the origins of the words and when used.

On the S word:

"The notion that it is a recent word may be because the word was taboo from c.1600 and rarely appeared in print (neither Shakespeare nor the KJV has it), and even in "vulgar" publications of the late 18c. it is disguised by dashes. It drew the wrath of censors as late as 1922 ("Ulysses" and "The Enormous Room"), scandalized magazine subscribers in 1957 (a Hemingway story in "Atlantic Monthly") and was omitted from some dictionaries as recently as 1970 ("Webster's New World")."

Lincoln's told the Ethan Allen joke as early as the 1830s in New Salem and was understood by his listeners, so they must have known about the word. It seems to have been a stock joke of his, as most jokesters have stock jokes. The one about the man who took the temperance pledge but asked to have alcohol put in his drink "unbeknownst" to him seems to have also been one of his stock jokes.

I personally was not offended by the inclusion of the joke. I think the movie shows Lincoln trying to break the tension in the telegraph office as they waited for news from the front. It sort of humanized him. However, if others are offended that is their right.

As far as the F word goes. It was apparently, outlawed in print in America in 1873 by the Comstock law as being obscene, so its saying must have been common enough that it had to be specifically outlawed.

I have no idea how often people said it in the 19th century vs. today and under what circumstances. People may say it more today because the legal barriers to it broke down in the early 20th century.

Again I think everyone has a right to see a movie or not due to its content.Smile
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12-14-2012, 09:59 PM
Post: #28
RE: Abrahams cussing
Quote:Again I think everyone has a right to see a movie or not due to its content.

Agreed. And excellent points, Mike.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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12-16-2012, 12:27 PM
Post: #29
RE: Abrahams cussing
I saw this cartoon on a church website and thought of this thread.

[Image: sofficeh.jpg]
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12-16-2012, 01:38 PM
Post: #30
RE: Abrahams cussing
The only reason I'm opposed to saying Christmas in public is because I'm a Scrooge. Big Grin

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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