Political Correctness is merely bullying by another name.
It seems that I’m really not ‘politically correct’ ~ if what you mean by political correctness is fitting in with whatever is perceived as the ‘right’ way to believe, think, speak, and act by whatever minority group holds sway. For example; I like the film The Damn Busters, about a WWII RAF raid on Germany ~ that even though the word ‘Nigger’ is used 12 times in the movie, and I have no problem with that. (Nigger was the name of Wing Commander Guy Gibson’s black Labrador dog.)
Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organises hatred. ~ Jacques Barzun.
On the other hand, I firmly believe that all women, (including whatever two letter acronym is appropriate), deserve to be treated with the utmost consideration and respect. And, that sometimes creates a cognitive dissonance for me when a woman acts like a lot less than a lady; smoking, swearing, getting drunk, using drugs, cheating on her partner, picking up guys in bars,
fucking having extra-relationship flings with younger men, and having multiple sexual partners. But then, who said the world has to be perfect?
If the first words out of your mouth are to cry ‘political correctness!’, chances are very, very high that you are in fact part of the problem. ~ N. K. Jemisin.
I’m mentioning all this because of a couple of things I saw on television.
Firstly, I’ve been enjoying re-watching some old Carry On Films. These bawdy British movies are so incredibly politically incorrect it’s almost surreal. They feature very attractive, very well endowed young women, often portrayed as dumb blondes, often played by the legendary, and very funny, Barbara Windsor.
Secondly, and very seriously, I caught an episode of a US comedy / crime / drama series I quite like. The dramatic hook in this episode was that there was a person of interest, and nobody in the police department could figure out what this guy was saying, or which obscure Eastern European country he came from.
Having said that, even I couldn’t understand a
fucking damn word this particular character uttered. Whatever accent he thought he was imitating it certainly wasn’t Geordie.
No American actor can imitate any British accent whatsoever, so why the
fuck hell did the producer of this show go down the road of totally pissing off every English person born North of the Watford Gap? Ignorance and Stupidity.
There is no way the same producer would have made the same kind of mistake with any American minority, especially someone from the Gay, Lesbian, Transsexual, (whatever two letter acronym is appropriate), community. If he had he would have been sacked, pilloried, and remorselessly attacked.
But then, who gives a fuck about white Englishmen like me? (And by the way, I am NOT British, I’m English.)
TV can’t make mistakes when portraying lesbian BDSM
but it’s OK to make fun of Geordies
Climate is what we expect; weather is what we get.
The English love to talk about the weather; when an Englishman meets a friend or acquaintance they could spend a good hour or so discussing the weather.
The thing is, there are so many topics polite Englishmen almost never talk about; feelings, money, politics, religion, and sex to name just a few taboo topics.
The other thing is; we get so much weather in England. American tourists in London can never understand that, no matter how sunny and fine a day it is when they leave their hotel, within a hour it will be pouring with rain.
We English also have many, many interesting words and phrases to describe our weather. Brass Monkeys, Raining Cats and Dogs, A Bit Parky, Chucking It Down, It’s a Scorcher, It’s Just Drizzling, It’s a Bit Damp, Pea Souper, Sea Fret… to quote a few.
English weather is pretty clement, not usually extreme at all. For us 40 degrees Fahrenheit is bloody cold, and 80 degrees Fahrenheit is bloody hot. We don’t often get very strong winds, and even though it rains almost all the time, we don’t often get torrential downpours.
Mostly I like the weather in England, at least from April to September / October I like it here. From October to April it’s bloody awful and everyone in England will have colds, or flu, or even pleurisy. (I’m just recovering from a bout of pneumonia.)
So, if ever you’re in England, expect to be bored spitless by everyone always talking about the damn weather.
And, by the way, no sensible Englishman believes in Climate Change.
is it practise, or practice?
aluminum, or aluminium?
bum bags, or fanny packs?
and just what is a potato chip?
do they play defense or in defence?
an interstate, or maybe a motorway
I’m appaled, or is that I’m appalled?
is the language English, or American?
and why do they spell computerise with z?
there may be a little dissention, or dissension
but, when you’re a true and polite Englishman
you’ll allow there’s charm in their grab-bag of words
It’s cold enough to freeze the balls of a brass monkey.
This phrase seems like a good metaphor for very cold weather, but at first sight it’s quite an odd thing to say. Americans, in particular, may wonder why normally staid and polite Englishmen would come up with something so apparently rude.
This damned place is 18 below zero and I go around thanking God that, anatomically and proverbially speaking, I am safe from the awful fate of the monkey. ~ Zelda Fitzgerald. (wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald)
There are also some contractions and derivations of this phrase.
- Brass Monkey’s
- Brass monkey weather
- As cold as a witch’s tit in a brass bra
- Cold enough to freeze the tail of a brass monkey
- Brassed Off ~ meaning ‘pissed off’ (which may or may not have anything to do with any of this)
First of all, let me put your mind at rest, this description of very cold weather has nothing to do with testicles, simian or otherwise. However, like most colloquial English / English expressions etymologists have no clear idea where, when, and how the phrase came to be.
Like many English expressions, the most widely accepted explanation is that ‘cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey’ is nautical / naval in origin. The balls in this case are iron cannon balls, and the brass monkey is a frame to stack them in.
On dry land the neatest way to store cannon balls is to stack them in a pyramid. That doesn’t work so well aboard a heeling, rolling, and pitching, sailing ship. Said cannon balls would soon be rolling all over the deck. So a brass frame was made, the brass monkey, (also known as a shot garland), to hold the cannon balls securely in place. The theory goes that in cold weather the different coefficients of expansion and contraction of brass and iron would have made the cannonballs roll out of the brass frame.
This is most likely a load of balls.
As usual the professional etymologists don’t have a clue, but it’s a very useful and descriptive phrase. So, the next time you experience some cold weather, surprise and shock your friends by saying… ‘brrrrr it’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey…’
Next time I’ll try to explain £sd…
Many English words have a very doubtful ancestry, but there is no doubt whatsoever concerning the etymology of the word ‘Pleb’. What is at issue here is usage in English / English. I would strongly caution anyone against calling any English person a pleb ~ in English / English pleb is a very bad word.
As recently as 2012 a very senior politician was forced to resign after a scandal when he was accused of calling policeman ‘plebs’. The fact that the politician in question also swore at the police officers, using foul language, was of little import when put against the mere suspicion that the Member of Parliament concerned had called the policemen ‘plebs’. There is even a name for this scandal ~ plebgate. (This is funnier than you may think, but you would have to know London to really get the joke.)
As it turned out, the word ‘pleb’ was never used in this case. The policeman lied. Had the word actually been used, then that politician’s career would have been over for ever.
In English / English today, ‘Pleb’ means someone of low social status, unsophisticated and uncultured, a common no account person who will never amount to anything, a person to despise and denigrate… The dictionary definition of ‘pleb’ says an ordinary person… Not in England. In England ‘pleb’ implies someone who is maybe one step up from a street drunk. Pleb is an extremely derogatory term in English / English.
Like many English words, ‘Pleb’ is of Latin origin, (most Latin words have roots in classical Greek). A pleb was an ordinary citizen of Rome ~ as opposed to a patrician, who was a nobleman and a member of the ruling classes. To call a man ‘patrician’ is today still something of a compliment. To call someone a pleb is, and always has been, an insult.
In the USA, a derivation of ‘pleb’ ~ plebe is a perfectly acceptable term for a cadet or freshman. Just don’t try calling an Englishman a plebe, not unless you want a smack in the gob, (mouth).
Honestly, in England you would often be better off saying ‘Eff Off’ (or words to that effect), or using the ‘C’ word than calling someone a pleb. Fuck-off, or the ‘C’ word is merely foul and uneducated language. Pleb is a calculated insult with cultural and class overtones. That applies doubly so if you are in any way cultured or educated, and the person to whom you are speaking actually is ‘lower class’.
Trust me, in English / English, ‘Pleb’ is a forbidden word.
Next time I’ll discuss the term Brass Monkey.
Right now I despise America and all Americans. A little while ago I was asked if I was a Brit. What kind of a question is that? What kind of a word is ‘Brit’ anyway? Dictionaries define ‘Brit’ as a British person, so presumably ‘Brit’ is a contraction of British. Well, as it happens I don’t even define myself as British, let alone as a Brit.
Ask a Scotsman, or Welshman, what nationality they are and Brit or British won’t even get a mention. The Scots and Welsh are proud of their heritages, and rightly so. I am equally proud to be an Englishman, and if you want to call me a Brit, then be aware that we English have a range of derogatory terms for the natives of every other country on this Good Earth.
I speak partly in jest. ‘Brit’ is a term in fairly common usage among the bastard nation Americans, so any Yank calling me a Brit may be, (mostly), forgiven. Americans are to be forgiven for being uneducated, unwashed, and uncouth.
What should not be forgiven is that Americans have come to believe that English actually belongs to them, and most ‘Septics’ make no effort to grade their speech according to the ethnicity of the listener. This is a gross insult to every other English speaking nation on Earth. In my bitter experience, Americans are crude, raw, and barely literate.
As it goes, every English speaking nation, and within nations every region, has its own unique vocabulary. Any student of English, any writer, any true Renaissance Man, will relish the differential vocabularies and shades of meaning offered by the English language. Proper English / English has over 250,000 words, (some say more than one million words), of which around 25,000 are in common usage. My personal vocabulary is estimated at 40,000 words, (for example, rhadamantine is not in common usage).
However, most English words have multiple meanings ~ especially when used by different nationalities. One good example is the word ‘fanny’ which means two totally different parts of the anatomy when used by an Englishman as opposed to an American. (Some English words are a gross insult, unsuspected ny the mostly uneducated Americans ~ for example pleb.)
There is some argument as to who actually coined the phrase; ‘two nations divided by a common language.’ But here is no doubt in the truth of that saying. Any nation who thinks Las Vegas and casual sex is ‘fun’ does not deserve to speak proper English.
A Classic Rolls Royce ~ always posh
In my global travels I have met many different people from many different cultures, and although most have spoken good English, it’s almost never been English / English. An educated Englishman’s vocabulary contains hundreds of words and phrases which baffle Australians, Americans, New Zealanders, Canadians… Perhaps it’s time the rest of the world remembered that the language is English.
So, partly at the request of my friend from Orange County, California, USA, I thought I’d try to explain the meaning and etymology of some of these English / English words and idioms. Starting today with the word posh.
Posh is an adjective. It’s a complement, unless it’s used ironically. To describe someone or something as posh means that they, (he, she, it), are aristocratic, upper-crust, high-class, elegant, stylish, luxurious, gentlemanly, regal… In other words, the cream of the crop. Being rich doesn’t mean that you’re also posh ~ Donald Trump is not posh. Whereas, a classic Jaguar is posh. (Logic doesn’t enter into it.)
Etymologists can look away now. Posh comes from the acronym P.O.S.H. ~ Port Out Starboard Home, which was chalked on the sides of the luggage of upper crust people travelling, by sea, from England to India in the Heyday of the Empire.
In the days before air conditioning it could become unbearably hot aboard ship during certain parts of this voyage; down through the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea. You wanted a cabin on the shady side of the ship, the Northern side. Going out this was the port side, coming back to England this was the starboard side. Hence; Port Out, Starboard Home ~ POSH.
Posh is a slightly old-fashioned word ~ if you hear an Englishman using it today, then he’s probably well-educated, well-read, well-spoken, well-bred… in fact quite posh. The opposite of posh is pleb, which is an insult I’ll explain another time.
A classic Rolls Royce is very posh indeed.
(while an Englishman will use words with many origins, Romani is not one of them)