It’s such a pleasure to see a piece by Jan Morris, one of my favourite writers. She writes on The Decline of Cursing in the Wall Street Journal:
Time has overtaken the vocabulary because it was based upon now unfashionable conceptions—the mystery of religion, the exciting taboos of sex. What we need now, if the tradition is to be revived, is a glossary of bad language based upon contemporary obsessions, and in particular upon the universal influences of the computer—the grand and universal mystery of our time. Already we think far more about the Internet than we do about the Last Judgment.
We need some cyber-swearing, some reality expletives, to reflect these changes. “Blog off!” perhaps, or “Up your USB!” Or “What a load of apping, synching, twittering b–ls.” And in case some prissy subeditor has bowdlerized that last word before it got into print, let me conclude with this one: !!!*@*!!!
I love her travel pieces and her Pax Britannica trilogy on the history of the British empire.