Words are the bricks of thought
Con Houlihan believes the tendency to use meaningless words is more worrying than actual bad language
Published 01/06/2008 | 00:00
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.