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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


October 17, 2013

When Asterisks Replace Words

Harry M. Covert

After due diligence, broad research and deep contemplation, it can be said the toughest jobs in the nation's capital belong to the chaplains of the Senate and House.

 

The opening prayers, usually timed at 60 seconds, may reach heavenly climes; but, more often than not, it falls on closed ears and waffling minds.

 

This is not a knock on the esteemed and honorable clergymen. It does point to the job facing them and perhaps a re-thinking of their inputs.

 

Washington apparently has a long reputation, not just of shootings and stabbings, but now as the cussingest city perhaps in the country – for the more educated, the most profane anywhere.

 

The chaplains wouldn't dare invoke the Biblical admonition to "shun (avoid) profane babblings." Obviously that would be quite dangerous considering their constituency. They probably leave and mumble, "Lord give me patience and do it now."

 

Obviously the matter of role models is far from the thinking of the members of the most exclusive club and those in the Rayburn, Longworth, Cannon and Ford buildings.

 

Beloved television character Captain Video ended his Dumont children's program one afternoon with this comment: "There, that should hold the little b******s." That occurred in 1955. Promptly the Captain lost his live television job and couldn't find another until the mid-60s when a kind Virginia broadcaster gave him a chance.

 

Today, the alleged political role models don't even try to keep their "cussing" out of the open microphone. Heck, just like all of the models, actors, sports and political radio-TV talking heads, cussing is in style. Nothing is off limits. Even the Federal Communications Commission doesn't really care anymore.

 

It's funny. We can laugh at Winston Churchill teaching his parrot to use all of the British cuss words.

 

Obviously all of the frayed nerves these days are an excuse for the distinguished Speaker informing Americans the current shenanigans are "not a damn game." The Crier-of-the-House also told his Senate counterpart to "f*** off" after a January White House confab.

 

The District's long-serving delegate has roared in, telling some colleagues "to go to hell."

 

Let's be fair here. A few years back the vice president, on the Senate floor, told a colleague to "f*** off." He was "forcefully expressing unhappiness with the conduct" of a longtime senator.

 

It's no secret profane use of the English language is not confined to other venues. Apparently only George Washington, the general-president, did not use profanity and cautioned his charges not to do so. Ike, the other general-president didn't either.

 

Their esteemed followers have been more up to date. They have broadened their use. Their words haven't been recorded as heavenly days, shucks, save our beaches, cheese and crackers, bull pockets, horse's patoot and p-o'd, but many other popular epithets.

 

Cussing may be a form of anathematizing. It is puzzling that so many of the leaders love public posturing ending their speeches by invoking Divine guidance calmly with dignity, "and, God Bless America."

 

Then it's back to business. Returning to polite talk, they are caught whispering (not realizing microphones are live) describing a national reporter as an "a-double-ess."

 

Here's where Captain Video's words should truly be remembered, "Let's blast them to space dust!"

 

hmcovert@thecovertletter.com

 



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