the schmooze

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

Cursing is forbidden in Judaism. According to Stevens, Levine, & Steinmetz ("Meshuggenary - Celebrating the World of Yiddish"), "A curse is much worse than an insult. While an insult is intended only to hurt another's feeling or self-respect, a curse invokes God and asks to send down misfortune or injury on the cursed."

An AP poll found that 74% of Americans said they encounter profanity in public frequently or occasionally. Fewer "moyde zayn" (admit to/confess) to using the words themselves. John Singler, a professor of linguistics, says the F-word, in particular, has become more common today than it was 20 or 40 years ago.

Ryan Underwood (FAST COMPANY, Sept. 2003) wrote about workplace swearing: " The Classic F-bomb. ; Despite recent liberalization in some circles, employees are advised to approach this word with due caution. The golden rule typically applies: Don't say it until it has been said to you. That being noted, including 'f***' in a breezy exchange with a superior may prove a powerful bonding experience. (E.g., "How the hell are we going to hide this f***ing $3 billion shortfall?")

The Jewish movie reviewer, Joel Siegel, walked out on the screening of "Clerks II," and said, "Time to go! First movie I've walked out on in 30 [bleeping] years." Is this the same critic who wrote ("Lessons For Dylan"), "I started reviewing movies absolutely by accident. Jane, a film editor who loved film and hated critics, was opposed to it. We went to see a Jewish- Canadian movie, a sentimental mess about a little boy and his Yiddish-speaking zaideh. I was crying my eyes out when the movie was over. "How would you review that movie?" Jane asked.

"It stunk," I sobbed.

Personally, I've always adhered to the expression, "Kleyne kinder hobn groys oyern." (Little children have big ears.)

Remember those lyrics from the B'way show, "Into The Woods":

Careful the things you say, Children will listen. Careful the things you do, Children will see. And learn. Children may not obey, But children will listen.

In Iris Burnett's book, "Schlepper! - A Mostly True Tale of Presidential Politics," we read about Sadie Alsofrom, and the other occupants aboard Air Force One. The author writes, "They were told never to do anything they didn't want to see on a website or the evening news. They especially shouldn't forget that the media was not their friend. Everything members of this diplomatic delegation said or did w ould be considered fair game."

In the last few weeks, the AP headlines have read:

"Hooters Chairman dies of natural causes" (Yahoo! News) " Bush Arrives At Caribbean Summit Aboard Catamaran One" (The Onion) " Bush Unintentionally lets fly the word heard around the world" & nbsp; ( " Bush curses Hezbollah in unscripted comments" (numerous sources)

Yes, an irritated President Bush was caught cursing, as he expressed his frustration at the U. N.'s inability to rein in Hezbollah. He used the S*** word, not realizing that a microphone in front of him was open and sending his words all over the world.

"See the irony is that what we need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this S*** and it's over," Bush told Tony Blair as he chewed on a buttered " zeml" (roll).

Is this the same man who tells people that they are doing a "heck" of a good j ob, following the fundamentalist Christian injunction not to use loosely the word " hell"?

Didn't First Lady, Laura Bush, ever tell her husband that swearing does damage? It represents the dumbing down of America and it offends more peple than you think. Our president need an attitude adjustment; he needs to learn to cope, NOT CUSS.

Oh, well, Laura Bush and President Bush are very different. Laura once said, "I can pronounce nuclear."

LBJ, JFK, Clinton and other presidents, except Jimmy Carter, cussed. Millard Fillmore (president from 1850-1853), had a gracious and courteous manner and forbade the use of foul langauge in his home. Bush Sr. once called broadcast journalist, Dan Rather, a "bastard" ("mamzer" in Yiddish) in front of numerous people. Dick Cheney told U. S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, "Go f*** yourself!" And Tucker Carlson ("Talk Magazine," 1999) said that Bush swears frequently. Brian Montopoli said that John Kerry did learn to swear in Italian. (One favorite phrase: "Spaccare la faccia, porcol!" which translates as "Shove it in your face, pig.")

Perhaps we should send President Bush to the website ("vebzaytl"), Jim O'Connor can then invite him to attend one of his presentations/corporate seminars which help people reduce their salty language.

The writer wonders if Mr. O'Connor includes the following Yiddish curse in his seminars:

"Zolst hobn a ziser toyt--a vagon mit tsuker zol dir iberforn!"

(May you have a sweet death--a truck full of sugar should run you over!)


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Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

NU, what are you waiting for?  Order the book!

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