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Author Topic: People really did cuss in the olden days  (Read 1304 times)

bandit957

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People really did cuss in the olden days
« on: December 28, 2018, 12:40:58 AM »

I'm 45, but apparently a lot of younger people think nobody cussed back in my day. But I guarantee you they did. Every single day.

I started 1st grade way back in 1979, and kids at school were already throwing the F-word around fluently. And they were flipping the bird all the time too. (This was at a Catholic school, incidentally.) This was before we had cable TV.

They usually didn't cuss in front of adults, but there was always that one kid who always got mad and yelled out the F-word in front of the teacher.

I actually remember hearing adults cuss before I was even old enough to start school. So this was 1977 at the latest.
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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2018, 12:50:41 AM »

Considering my Grand Father took great pride in teaching me all the swears when I was little that is a definite yes.  I noticed people in Detroit Area who were in blue collar work swore a lot more than people with white collar backgrounds.  Even saying “Hell” and “damn” we’re a big deal for my parents. 

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2018, 01:57:46 AM »

Several older Presidents were known to cuss pretty frequently, including Harry S Truman and LBJ.
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abefroman329

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2018, 06:51:49 AM »

Goes back even further than that - Deadwood is accurate in that regard.

My guess is that this misconception comes from the fact that there was little or no profanity in the movies and TV shows from that era.
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Brandon

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2018, 07:24:58 AM »

Oh fuck yeah, they did.

Jean Shepard in "A Christmas Story" doesn't pull any punches with it, and that was about 1940.

Quote
In the heat of battle my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan.

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Now, I had heard that word at least ten times a day from my old man. He worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master. But, I chickened out and said the first name that came to mind.

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I have since heard of people under extreme duress speaking in strange tongues. I became conscious that a steady torrent of obscenities and swearing of all kinds was pouring out of me as I screamed.

And, of course this one:

Quote
Only I didn't say "Fudge." I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the "F-dash-dash-dash" word!
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Brandon

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2018, 07:26:24 AM »

Goes back even further than that - Deadwood is accurate in that regard.

My guess is that this misconception comes from the fact that there was little or no profanity in the movies and TV shows from that era.

Hays Code.  That thing stifled movie making for a few decades, IMHO.
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abefroman329

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2018, 08:16:23 AM »

Goes back even further than that - Deadwood is accurate in that regard.

My guess is that this misconception comes from the fact that there was little or no profanity in the movies and TV shows from that era.

Hays Code.  That thing stifled movie making for a few decades, IMHO.
Yeah, it was quite spectacular. The movie version of The Seven-Year Itch had to end with the protagonist running back to his wife before he could sleep with Marilyn Monroe (in the play, the protagonist and the Marilyn Monroe character have sex). The original Ocean’s Eleven had to end with the money from the robber being inadvertently incinerated, because you couldn’t show protagonists committing a crime and getting away with it.
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kphoger

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2018, 02:34:07 PM »

They usually didn't cuss in front of adults

This is the biggest difference, in my opinion.  Youth nowadays have no problem throwing around that kind of language around both their elders and other people's kids.
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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2018, 02:56:23 PM »

My dad swore like a proverbial sailor when he was upset.
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Big John

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2018, 03:10:45 PM »

^^ Mine too, even when he was not upset.
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Roadgeekteen

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2018, 04:33:55 PM »

When it comes to movies, older childrens ones have more cusses.
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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2018, 04:54:38 PM »

My dad swore like a proverbial sailor when he was upset.

My grandfather takes that one quite literally. He was in the Navy during Vietnam and comes up with the most clever and dirty cusses when something pisses him off. I find it hilarious, but it seems so rude to laugh when he's pissed.
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bandit957

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2018, 05:33:59 PM »

Something funny happened once when I was in 1st grade, but the word in this case was "farted", which is pretty mild. Some kid in my class passed gas, and I yelled out that he "farted." Then the teacher corrected me and said the proper term is "flatuated."
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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2018, 06:24:49 PM »

Something funny happened once when I was in 1st grade, but the word in this case was "farted", which is pretty mild. Some kid in my class passed gas, and I yelled out that he "farted." Then the teacher corrected me and said the proper term is "flatuated."
My younger brother and I once compared notes on the worst profanity we knew. First I attempted to verify that I wasn't telling him anything he didn't know by asking what letter it began with. His was fartknocker (technically "fratnokcer"). Oops.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2018, 06:37:39 PM by NE2 »
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bandit957

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2018, 06:26:26 PM »

My younger brother and I once compared notes on the worst profanity we knew.

I remember when I used to think "crap-up" was the worst profanity in the world.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2018, 06:35:02 PM »

When it comes to movies, older childrens ones have more cusses.

Back in the older days the rating system was way more lenient than it is today.  There was some PG movies back in the 1970s and 1980s that would easily in R rating territory if they were made today. 

Roadgeekteen

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2018, 06:36:47 PM »

When it comes to movies, older childrens ones have more cusses.

Back in the older days the rating system was way more lenient than it is today.  There was some PG movies back in the 1970s and 1980s that would easily in R rating territory if they were made today.
Were the ratings more followed? Most of my classmates have watched r rated movies.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2018, 06:41:35 PM »

When it comes to movies, older childrens ones have more cusses.

Back in the older days the rating system was way more lenient than it is today.  There was some PG movies back in the 1970s and 1980s that would easily in R rating territory if they were made today.
Were the ratings more followed? Most of my classmates have watched r rated movies.

There wasn't PG-13 until the mid-1980s and getting an R rating required quite bit of graphic content.  For example the original Poltergeist was rated PG when it was released in 1982.  Said movie includes scenes of a guy ripping his face off piece by piece and lots of fleshy gore.  I'd attribute the more mature PG movies of yesteryear to a less sensitive viewing public than today. 
« Last Edit: December 28, 2018, 06:46:29 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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abefroman329

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2018, 07:25:44 PM »

Something funny happened once when I was in 1st grade, but the word in this case was "farted", which is pretty mild. Some kid in my class passed gas, and I yelled out that he "farted." Then the teacher corrected me and said the proper term is "flatuated."
We weren’t allowed to say “fart” growing up and I intend to strongly discourage my son from doing so. We had to say “make a buster,” which unfortunately meant that everything including the word “buster” (Blockbuster Video, Peanut Buster Parfait, Buster Brown) now had a double meaning.
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abefroman329

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2018, 08:03:56 PM »

When it comes to movies, older childrens ones have more cusses.

Back in the older days the rating system was way more lenient than it is today.  There was some PG movies back in the 1970s and 1980s that would easily in R rating territory if they were made today.
Were the ratings more followed? Most of my classmates have watched r rated movies.
In theaters, they were less followed - my mom bought tickets for the neighbor kid and me to see Demolition Man in the theater (I was 14, he was 12 or 13). Things got so tight post-Columbine that I couldn’t buy a ticket for my brother and me to see BASEketball (I was 19 and he was 15). We both had to sneak in.

In terms of what was shown at home, they were followed as much as they are today. I had classmates who’d seen R-rated movies at a much younger age than you (R means “no admittance for anyone under 17 without a parent or guardian,” not “no one under 17 is allowed to see it”).
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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2018, 12:10:35 AM »

Also worth noting that the ratings meant what they said.  G was "general audiences", not "kids", and PG was "parental guidance" rather than "everyone".  PG-13 didn't exist at the time (it was created after Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom revealed that parents couldn't be trusted to keep young kids from watching movies with unsuitable content).
https://www.npr.org/2013/06/06/189189054/when-g-movies-are-for-kids-do-kids-avoid-g-movies
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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2018, 10:42:18 AM »

When it comes to movies, older childrens ones have more cusses.

Back in the older days the rating system was way more lenient than it is today.  There was some PG movies back in the 1970s and 1980s that would easily in R rating territory if they were made today.
Were the ratings more followed? Most of my classmates have watched r rated movies.
In theaters, they were less followed - my mom bought tickets for the neighbor kid and me to see Demolition Man in the theater (I was 14, he was 12 or 13). Things got so tight post-Columbine that I couldn’t buy a ticket for my brother and me to see BASEketball (I was 19 and he was 15). We both had to sneak in.

In terms of what was shown at home, they were followed as much as they are today. I had classmates who’d seen R-rated movies at a much younger age than you (R means “no admittance for anyone under 17 without a parent or guardian,” not “no one under 17 is allowed to see it”).

Growing up in small-town Kansas in the 1990s, I used to see the movie at the theater every week-end, no matter what it was.  For 'R' rated movies, all I had to do was call my parents and have them give verbal permission to the ticket-clerk.  Back before that, in suburban Chicago in the 1980s, I used to rent 'R' rated movies for my family to watch together from the local video store.  I was probably about seven or eight years old at the time.
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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2018, 05:01:22 PM »

People have always cursed or otherwise used vulgar or coarse language, of course, but the difference was that they did so mostly in private, not very much in public, and almost never in mixed company or in front of children. When coarse language was heard in public, it was mild compared to today. People simply did not casually and unashamedly toss around F- and S-bombs in their ordinary speech like they do today. Could you find pockets of it? Sure (I was in the military; I could provide many examples), but that would virtually universally be in specialized populations or circumstances, not general society.

This is part of a larger phenomenon that some sociologists have called "the death of ought." IOW, a growing percentage of people do not do things or avoid things because they think they "ought to" or "ought not to" but only because they "want to" or "don't want to." They have no sense of ought, only of want. They see themselves as having zero responsibilities toward their neighbors or toward the community as a whole.

As an example, I was in a local supermarket recently and passed by the customer service counter. A man was berating the girl behind the counter using extremely foul language, including the F-bomb. (I don't know why he wasn't already tossed by security for abusing an employee, but that's another question.) After just thirty seconds, I couldn't stand any more of it and told the man to stop using such foul language in front of the children who were present. He started unloading on me, of course. "Who the F do you think you are, telling me what I can and can't say, wherever the F I F-ing well please?" I turned to the employees in customer service and said, "Are you going to allow that to continue?" They just sorta impotently raised their hands as if to say, "We're not getting involved." When those being abused think they can't or shouldn't do something, whatever I try to do will have zero effect, so I just walked away.

Because of the death of ought, a growing percentage of people self-centeredly think they should be able to do whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want, with no consequences to themselves, and no matter the consequences to other people. Many believe it's a growing problem, with long-term negative consequences for the cohesiveness of society.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2018, 05:04:42 PM by qguy »
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michravera

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2018, 05:09:00 PM »

I'm 45, but apparently a lot of younger people think nobody cussed back in my day. But I guarantee you they did. Every single day.

I started 1st grade way back in 1979, and kids at school were already throwing the F-word around fluently. And they were flipping the bird all the time too. (This was at a Catholic school, incidentally.) This was before we had cable TV.

They usually didn't cuss in front of adults, but there was always that one kid who always got mad and yelled out the F-word in front of the teacher.

I actually remember hearing adults cuss before I was even old enough to start school. So this was 1977 at the latest.

I remember sounding out the F-word for my parents that was written on a table at a drive in. This would had to have been in 1966. I definitely heard the word at my first recess in public school from first graders.

Sailors swore, well, like sailors all throughout history. I am sure that sailors in the time of the great migration (c 20000 BCE) did.


The reason that you didn't hear it on TV was that sponsors would pull their sponsorship and advertisers would pull their ads.

The Hayes Code kept a lot of nudity, sex, and salty language out of the movies until a number of producers told the Hayes Office to fuck themselves in about 1963. Movies that weren't originally released in the US didn't have the same restrictions. A few years later, the Supreme Court told movie makers "Produce what you like. It's not illegal to make the film. If the locals shut you down, you can sue them and see what a jury says about it."

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Re: People really did cuss in the olden days
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2018, 05:16:01 PM »

This is part of a larger phenomenon that some sociologists have called "the death of ought." IOW, a growing percentage of people do not do things or avoid things because they think they "ought to" or "ought not to" but only because they "want to" or "don't want to." They have no sense of ought, only of want. They see themselves as having zero responsibilities toward their neighbors or toward the community as a whole.
Yeah, who would've thought there'd be a downside to rugged individualism.

As an example, I was in a local supermarket recently and passed by the customer service counter. A man was berating the girl behind the counter using extremely foul language, including the F-bomb. (I don't know why he wasn't already tossed by security for abusing an employee, but that's another question.) After just thirty seconds, I couldn't stand any more of it and told the man to stop using such foul language in front of the children who were present. He started unloading on me, of course. "Who the F do you think you are, telling me what I can and can't say, wherever the F I F-ing well please?" I turned to the employees in customer service and said, "Are you going to allow that to continue?" They just sorta impotently raised their hands as if to say, "We're not getting involved." When those being abused think they can't or shouldn't do something, whatever I try to do will have zero effect, so I just walked away.
Unfortunately store customers have been berating store employees at Christmastime since time immemorial.  The recent phenomena of taking power away from front-line employees and taking "the customer is always right" to extremes by rewarding customers who make a stink, even when they're wrong, doesn't help.
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