Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 7, 2011 / 1 Adar II, 5771

Swearing, Shoes, and Mark Twain

By Alan Douglas




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In 1906, Mark Twain told the audience in Carnegie Hall that since everyone swears we shouldn't feel that bad about doing it, especially around tax time. He added, "For it is not the word that is the sin, it is the spirit back of the word." I think Twain got it wrong.

In 2011, an audience composed of billions of people around the world heard an acceptance speech by one of the Academy Award winners that included a bleeped out, "F*ck", and the movie winning Best Picture, "The Kings Speech" contains a therapeutic session for stammering with a series of curse and swear words. The film is being reissued without the worst words and will be given a rating that allows young people to see the movie.

For the purposes of this article I shall use the exculpatory asterisk, a silly, but socially acceptable symbol. The use of an asterisk or a dash shows respect, but it also insures misadventure. It is like telling someone, "Don't think of a pink elephant," knowing you just tricked them into visualizing a colorful pachyderm. One of my friends is a Fundamentalist Christian who didn't want his children bombarded with television programs mentioning sex. He installed software on this television that changes the audio so each time anyone says, "sex" the television says "kisses." He feels better, but I am sure his kids see pink elephants. My use of asterisk is only marginally different than my friend's use of software.

Twain commented in his speech that students should be taught there are public and private moral codes. Political morality doesn't really exist, according to Twain, we vote for the party slate, the conservative candidate or the one that supports/opposes abortion regardless of their competency or character. Twain found all of this hypocritical, but I don't.

You are asked in other cultures to remove your shoes prior to entering someone's home or their religious sanctuary. To American Judeo-Christian tourists these customs may appear antiquated. But it is really about creating an environment of respect. Imagine someone visiting your home, walking into your bedroom, taking off their shoes and placing them on your bed. By now you are shuddering, with visions of sticky Men's Room floors invading where you sleep. This is a repulsive act not just due to hygiene but because it is invasive. I think we create distinctions for public, private, and sacred places where shoes and swearing do not belong. While Twain found these distinctions between public, private and sacred behavior hypocritical I find them comforting. These rules, etiquette, and religious practices give me some guidance as to proper conduct and respect. But I do realize it leads to problems.

Many years ago I was dating a beautiful Southern Belle who was very modern, but had strict rules of etiquette as to how a "Gentleman" and a "Lady" conducted themselves. I picked the young lady up from her apartment one fine summer evening, opened and held her front door. I was escorting her to my car when she suddenly looked down and screamed, "Oh Sh*t !!! I just stepped in doggie doo doo." She made clear that my immediate, non-stop laughter was an unforgivable violation of Southern Chivalry and conduct unbecoming a true Gentleman.

Twain does have a point about judging swearing based upon motive, not words. In his autobiography (the current humongous sized Volume 1version edited by Harriet Elinor Smith) he tells the story of when the Reverend Charley Stowe's little boy of seven accompanied his father to the Chicago Convention of Congregational clergymen.

Reverend Stowe warned his son that, "We shall be the guest of a clergyman, there will be other guests - clergymen and their wives - and you must be careful to let those people see by your walk and conversation that you are of a godly household. Be very careful about this." The child was eager to please his father. When they sat down to eat breakfast in the Chicago clergyman's house the first morning the boy asked, in the meekest, and most reverent way, to the lady opposite him, "Please, won't you, for Christ's sake, pass the butter?"

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

JWR contributor Alan Douglas, an author, media executive, speaker, and attorney, lives con brio- except when he is grumpy.


Previously:

How my poor man's Porsche, Virgil, prepared me for life
Leases and Landing Gear
The Oscars, Obama and Job Creation
Damages and Penalties
Obstacles with Impossibilities
Making Others Feel Bad
Referrals and Recommendations
Woodpecker Frustration
Phrases, Not Resolutions
I Was A Crime Fighter and Super Hero
Comforting with Sympathizing
Nautical Worry Killers
Can You Keep A Secret?
Holiday Card Hazards
Gifts
Sharing, Transparency and Dumping
Red Alert
Readers Respond Regarding Rabbi
Readers: I Need Your Help with my Rabbi
Humphrey Bogart and P. T. Barnum on Fighting with Family and Friends
Columbus, Honors and Hound Dogs
The Free Lunch
When your child suffers
Conversational Transmitted Diseases
Conservative, Liberal or American
Paris, Antarctica and Shopping
Personal Protection
Dispute Resolution
Jumped or Pushed?
Friends and Acquaintances
Revenge and Vindication

© 2010 Alan Douglas

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles