Writing in the Daily Express, Dalrymple outlines the cause and effect of increased public swearing in Britain.
The history of the extension of the use of swearing in public entertainment is interesting and instructive. It did not come about through any popular demand from the general public, but rather by the action of pioneering intellectuals…The use of bad language on the stage or screen gave permission for it to be used off it as well. We live in a democratic age and if toffs could swear in public… so could everyone. And use, if repeated, becomes habit.
and the effect:
In the first place, it makes it more difficult to say something to cause another person to sit up and take notice.Paradoxically, the more we swear the smaller, not the larger, our verbal repertoire and our capacity to shock. We therefore have to resort more frequently to extreme actions to startle people.Second, though they mean nothing much, the words retain their vulgar connotation so that the more they are used the coarser our culture becomes.
Read the whole piece at the Daily Express.
I just wanted to let whoever runs this blog know that there is a new Dalrymple book out: The Policeman and the Brothel. You can only get it from the UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Policeman-Brothel-The-Theodore-Dalrymple/dp/1906308497/ref=sr_1_15?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1333797977&sr=1-15