Thursday 30 March 2017

Words are the bricks of thought

Con Houlihan believes the tendency to use meaningless words is more worrying than actual bad language

LET BATTLE COMMENCE: Members of An Dal Cuinn re-enact the Battle of Clontarf. For too long history has been taught from a slanted perspective. The Irish
were always right and somebody else was always wrong. Long ago, in the primary schools, this attitude reached comical heights: we were taught that the
Battle of Clontarf was a kind of European Cup Final between Ireland and Denmark, and that Ireland won
LET BATTLE COMMENCE: Members of An Dal Cuinn re-enact the Battle of Clontarf. For too long history has been taught from a slanted perspective. The Irish were always right and somebody else was always wrong. Long ago, in the primary schools, this attitude reached comical heights: we were taught that the Battle of Clontarf was a kind of European Cup Final between Ireland and Denmark, and that Ireland won

About 60 years ago, a man called Kenneth Tynan -- who posed as a drama critic and an intellectual -- decided that he would become famous by being the first person to use a certain four-letter word on television. He thought that this might cause a revolution.

He used the word, but next day the sun got up; the rooks left their high-rise flats and went about their business; the red buses continued to brighten London. The use of that word didn't change the world.

That word goes back as far as Shakespeare and beyond. I think you will find it in the Old Testament. A certain Irish politician used it lately and his admirers thought that it was an example of his outspoken speech.

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