Thursday, May 24, 2012

What An Insult!

Richard Warren, among 10 passengers in the lan...
Richard Warren, among 10 passengers in the landing party, when the Mayflower arrived at Cape Cod, November 11, 1620 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was teaching grade 6 a student came to me in tears one day because a boy had called her a 'ho'.

"He called you a hoe?" I asked, genuinely puzzled.

Now it isn't always easy to get information from a sobbing eleven year old but I did eventually figure out that he had said 'ho' not 'hoe'.

(You have to be a pre-teen to be able to hear the difference.)

I also learned that while the latter was still a tool one might use in the vegetable patch, the former was not one third of Santa's greeting anymore.

I mention this because I've had the old e-reader fired up recently and am in the process of reading Making Haste From Babylon, (Nick Bunker, Knopf).

It is about the social and economic factors in England that led to Puritanism and the sailing of the Mayflower to North America.

Trust me, it is a lot more interesting than it sounds.

Anyway, those Puritans knew a thing or two about insults.

No calling each other hos in the 16th century.

To the Puritans you might have been:

a usurer, a conjurer, a blasphemer, a fornicator, a fornicatrix,  or, (horrors), a swaggerer. 

Now those are classy insults.


One can only hope that the rise and fall of our civilization cannot be tracked by the quality of the insults that we  hurl at one and other.

Otherwise some shit-for-brains-scuzzbag will be our next Prime Minister.

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