OK I’m going to say this once: There is a difference between cursing, and cursing in context.

They called me a what? Well obviously I understood the irony straight away

Last night the internet was up in arms over a tweet made by satirical online newspaper, The Onion, and an allegation that Family Guy creator and Oscars host Seth Macfarlane sexualized a nine-year-old.

Yesterday The Onion tweeted: “Everyone is afraid to say it but Quvenzhané Wallis (the nine-year-old Oscar nominated star of Beasts of The Southern Wild) is kind of a c***, right?,” and deleted it about an hour later after outrage spread like wildfire across the social network.

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  • Sickemrex says:

    05:55pm | 26/02/13

    Colour me bad too, Pedro. Read more »

  • Rob says:

    05:16pm | 26/02/13

    Not a lot going on up there is there Claire? Read the article.. I mean, really read it. You’ve missed some pretty key things. Read more »


I’m going to start this column with a veiled reference to a swear word, so I do hope you’re sitting down and have a brown paper bag handy to breathe into.

This low level swearer only uses the F Word, which is pretty wussy these days

Are you ready? Right: Remember when the “c word” was considered the absolute worst, most shocking, most pants-droppingly offensive word in the English language?

If you’re scratching your head thinking “but isn’t it still?” then it’s quite likely you’re over the age of 35, don’t really use social media and haven’t watched TV in a while.

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  • Maryjane says:

    06:47pm | 13/12/12

    Tim, this woman is the wrong side of sixty and swears like a trooper.  I love swearing but find that the word ‘panties’, when referring to women’s knickers, quite offensive.  I’ve no idea why. Read more »

  • Servaas says:

    05:17pm | 13/12/12

    Sahara are you for real? So as long as anything is communicated using a mixture of letters from the standard alphabet it ought to be met totally without any emotion by whoever is on the receiving end? Read more »


By now there would hardly be a person in Australia who has not seen the video of that shocking pair of morons on a bus in the Melbourne suburb of Frankston haranguing a young French woman who had committed the unforgivable sin of singing quietly to herself in her native tongue.

Get your own f***ing chips you f***ing c***sucker.

To call these blokes bogans is an insult to bogans. It’s hard to find the words to convey the depth of their stupidity.

The aggression they displayed was repulsive, telling the woman they were going to “fillet” her with a fishing knife, and their racism was truly repellent, with the usual suggestions that she should eff off back to her own country.

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  • Alan says:

    06:16pm | 27/11/12

    Just a point - it’s arse not ass. We are not f@#king Americans! Read more »

  • Wickerman says:

    03:42pm | 26/11/12

    David, you expect everybody to have a civilised repartee its seems. Not everybody can be like Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill or William Shakespeare their witty replies or responses to situations. Read more »


Apologies if you are offended by swearing. If you are offended by swearing, click on another article.

Peter Slipper prior to being musselled out of the Speaker's chair. Photo: Ray Strange

In the early 2000s former prime minister Paul Keating gave a speech at the Sydney Town Hall where he took aim at the city’s growing culture of materialism and spoke of his fear that the next generation of first homebuyers would be priced out of the Sydney property market. It was a thoughtful and sincere speech and one I covered in a straight fashion for my then newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

I got a call that night from one of the sub-editors, a man who to his professional detriment had spent some time on Fleet Street, who said ominously that he had given the copy “a small tickle-up”. The sub thought it should be noted that Keating, as an apparent enemy of materialism, owned an extensive number of antique French clocks. It’s the kind of phone call that usually guarantees another phone call the following day, and sure enough it did, with the phone ringing at 9.01am and a woman’s voice saying “Hello David, I have Mr Keating on the line for you.”

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  • marley says:

    06:38pm | 12/10/12

    @Bear - first of all, show me the single individual that threw together all that trash-speak of yours and directed it at a single person.  Second, explain to me why, even if there is such a hypothetical person, you shouldn’t be judged by the standards you’re applying to him.  Your… Read more »

  • sunny says:

    06:01pm | 12/10/12

    “The Federal Parliament today is a total disgrace” I reckon it would have been a disgrace if they had passed that no-confidence motion in Slipper. He was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and his transgression was some filthy text messages that were supposed to be private, not a… Read more »


To profane is human, and occasionally divine. Swearing can be functional, and powerful. In the right hands a good swear word can be wildly entertaining, shocking, surprising. Offensive. Funny. Liberating.

There’s a shedload of stories in this country and overseas about swearing at the moment, sparking kerfuffles over what language is acceptable, and what goes too far. Can there ever be a consensus?

2Day FM, employer and enabler of Kyle Sandilands’ rabid sewer mouth, has banned nine words as part of its attempt to impose a “kids in the car” decency test on radio announcers. On the blacklist are: “F . .k, f . .ker, motherf . .ker, arsehole, bullshit, shit, f . .kwit, c . .t and cock.”

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  • Shiralee says:

    04:33pm | 25/07/12

    I agree totally. I also wonder if people who used swear words new what the words meant and how stupid they sound. Would they keep useing those words. Read more »

  • Jason Todd says:

    09:55am | 25/07/12

    Susan - I take your point, but I see a lot of people use other slang terms for female genitalia, as well as clinical terms, as descriptors or insults. This is what I am saying, as far as I, and many like me are concerned, all terms are acceptable. I… Read more »


Mel and Kochie are our friends. That’s what the ads on the back of buses tell us at the moment and that’s the way Sunrise producers want us to feel about their star presenting duo. It works. Many of us do feel that way.

F-ckin oops

Over at Nine, Today stole Sunrise’s set but they’ve never quite managed to poach Sunrise’s blend of down home folksiness and folksy down homeness. Karl Stefanovic went and transformed himself from sensible foreign correspondent to superblokerrific eccentric everydude, and that has largely worked. But it hasn’t worked as well as “The Sunrise Family”.

Mornings are family time. Mornings are nice time. Mornings are when your food is (mostly) not deep fried, your beverages are (hopefully) non-alcoholic and your kids are (slightly) better behaved. One thing mornings are definitely NOT is swearing time.

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  • here says:

    09:14am | 08/06/12

    Hey, stupefying envisage ! Read more »

  • Shane From Melbourne says:

    10:58pm | 23/03/12

    @Neil- I always thought the word derived from the offense “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge”.... Read more »


My freshly kindergarten-ed daughter has been learning all sorts of stuff at her new school.

This is how you spell sh_t. Photo:News.com.au

Last weekend, for instance, she missed a ping pong shot and chucked a McEnroe-esque hissy fit while bawling “oh s—t”. (Lesson from school number one: swearing gets results.)

When I launched into my umpteenth Why Profanity Really Isn’t Such a Great Idea for Five Year Olds lecture, Alice asked a bunch of questions along the lines of “what does s—t even mean?”,  “don’t YOU sometimes say s—t? and “does it count if I just say s—t quietly on my own?”

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  • marley says:

    07:27am | 24/02/12

    Acotrel - please give us all a break.  The only bullshit you detest, or even seem capable of detecting, is that from the coalition.  When it comes from the ALP, you either don’t see it or lap it up.  And you’ve authored more than a bit of bullshit yourself -… Read more »

  • Robert Smissen of country SA says:

    09:50pm | 23/02/12

    Acotrel, mate you kids tell whoppers, you don’t realise that they are because they are soooooooooooooo good at it! ! Read more »


Conspiracy theorists should adjust their tin-foil hats if they think Julia Gillard was personally involved in the release of the Sweary Kevin video.

Today she is attending a function where she is able to look every centimeter a national leader, the commemoration of the WWII bombing of Darwin. This is an important occasion at which a Prime Minister can look like a Prime Minister and not an MP down in the ruck of scrapping politicians.

No way would she have wanted the moment ruined by nasty internal Labor Party head kicking.
However, the video release did just that.

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  • Tony (not phony) says:

    04:05pm | 22/02/12

    I wonder how many comments in here are written by the young Liberal brigade who can’t stand not being able to dictate to the Australian people, little Coward was extremely good at it. Read more »

  • LmyLefty says:

    03:54pm | 22/02/12

    @Mouse says Every right if you pay taxes, and maybe you need to get a brain as well. Read more »


Well, puck me with a fitchfork. The F-word is apparently an acceptable part of Australian speech.

Hey, are those two futs nucking?

That’s the only conclusion you can draw after the trade mark examiner gave two thucking fumbs up to a soon-to-be-released product called “Nuckin Futs”.

After the initial trade mark application was rejected, a savvy lawyer argued that the f-bomb is an everyday part of Australian speech. And he won. The product is on its way, with the only caveat being it can’t be marketed to minors.

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  • Simmo says:

    08:41am | 08/03/12

    Ihad a situation over the weekend where our neighbour behind decided to put a sign up on his back window that sadi “you nosey f&%ka” I called the cops (as he is not the most approachable person) and the cops advised me that the F word is acceptable, but were… Read more »

  • Steph says:

    04:24pm | 07/03/12

    I agree whole-heartedly Caroline, having studied linguistics at university. There is more to the use of language than just its “proper” use. People say that the standard of grammar is in decline, where as I would argue that it’s just changing, as languages tend to do over time to allow… Read more »


With the election running faster than a ‘roo on the hot desert’, the Australian slang and euphemisms have been coming thick and fast. For a politician it is clearly a calculated move: during the recent televised debate, Tony Abbott dropped the term ‘fair dinkum’ four times before Gillard started using it back in an ironic sense.

Cartoon by The Australian's Peter Nicholson

Even Kevin Rudd made his return to the campaign trail claiming that ‘I actually don’t think Mr Abbott is fair dinkum.’ But really, are any of us buying this usage? How many Australians can listen to politicians using slang terms, and find it natural and believable?

For many Australians, slang is a part of every day life. It’s a useful way of shortening our sentences, has created a sense of camaraderie, and done wonders for defining the Australian image. But much about Australian slang comes from its casual delivery, and it’s association with a relaxed atmosphere. Neither of which are terms used to describe politics.

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  • zkfvgucr says:

    01:56pm | 09/11/12

    The same opportunities are available for promotional umbrellas in other outdoor events.    Sijnwfqcy <a >swarovski sale</a>    Xbkjxwmgq <a >christian louboutin lady peep 150mm nude</a>  Jqidesugm <a >thomas-sabo-outlet.co.uk</a>  Trfndhsvz <a >http://www.cheapboots4sale.co.uk</a> Read more »

  • Bumbclam says:

    06:53am | 22/10/12

    get http://www.karen-millen-uk.net/ [/URL - Read more »


Oscar Wilde, the famous 19th century Irish poet once said: “The expletive is the refuge of the semi-literate”.  In other words; swearing is for dumb heads.

Swearing? You've got to be effing kidding.

Well, all I can say is, if the ‘refuge’ was an actual place, it would be packed to the rafters—considering the number of foul-mouthed ‘dumb heads’ around these days.  And yes, okay, I might be among their number too at times, I admit.  (Before anyone starts calling me a hypocrite because they’ve heard me say naughty words).  Yes, we 21st century folk certainly say lots of words that would’ve made our Victorian ancestors’ hair curl.

As a kid, while I soon became aware of most swear words (mainly thanks to the neighbourhood kids who were clearly more world-wise than me) I would never dare use them.  And, even though my Dad, an ex-army pugilist and a Scotsman to boot (apparently a very bad combo for swear-ability) was always pretty careful not to swear around us kids or in public, I still, in fact, heard my first F Bomb from his own lips.

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  • Ryan says:

    05:53pm | 20/07/10

    @Reg: Are you serious? Did you read your last post at all? You are honestly trying to convince me that swearing is “sophistication”? The rest of your post referring to all teenagers and the reference to “card-carrying Tourette’s practitioners” is just blatantly offensive to Tourette’s sufferers and as such I… Read more »

  • Chris L says:

    04:18pm | 18/07/10

    I seldom meet blokes who are offended by the C-word. Funny how there’s so many different expletives for penis but under no circumstances may the vagina be so disrespected! Read more »


Call it Humpty Dumpty jurisprudence. Australia has a new arbiter of taste in magistrate Robbie Williams, who has let a student off the hook after calling a police officer a prick.

Police swearing of a different nature.

Williams has enraged police with his ruling but at the same time shown himself in touch with the broader community’s appreciation of the finer points of swearing.

Police are outraged that his ruling appears to condone the verbal abuse of officers, but Williams’s decision explored the delicate way in which swear words change their intensity depending on context. There is also the less delicate reality that some police officers can be quite accurately described as pricks.

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  • Simon says:

    04:17pm | 14/11/12

    one assumes if the ‘offender’ had actually offended that he would have been fined or arrested for that offense, that he was not suggests that there was no offense and he was probably ‘offended’ at being held up by the officer, perhaps he did offend and the officer let him… Read more »

  • www.thepunch.com.au says:

    12:21pm | 25/06/11

    Asc.. Outstanding Read more »


White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gave a lesson in how to manage a potential blow-up yesterday with one little Tweet.

As you might have heard, US Vice President Joe Biden got caught by an open mike after introducing President Barack Obama, who was about to announce the passage of his historic health care reforms.

“This is a big f—-ing deal,” the gaff-prone VP said in the President’s ear, loud enough to be audible on television. Gibbs’s Tweet? “And yes Mr. Vice President, you’re right…”

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  • survive work-at-home jobs for moms says:

    02:05am | 02/12/10

    Surprise Stay,promise citizen indicate code explanation wave fee hold stuff form inside eye therefore beneath pleasure vast design energy support independent ordinary progress much index happen industrial strange park same propose individual trip regard finally pleasure row compare correct market cash important ring far academic because light expensive could over… Read more »

  • Marilyn says:

    12:45pm | 25/03/10

    David C, Palin has been whining on about Obama wanting death squads for oldies. Those who still pretend to worry about swear words are just too f&**ing precious for words. Read more »


EDs: South Australian Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond has banned swearing in Liberal party meetings. Here she explains why.

I am somewhat surprised at the level of interest in my anti-swearing stance.

Swearing is for members of the ALP, not Liberals. Cartoon: Jon Kudelka

It’s not that I’m a prude – I don’t expect that people will never swear.  Indeed, I’ve been know to utter the odd expletive myself.  But in the workplace and especially in my workplace the Parliament, I take the view that it is inappropriate.

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  • Julie Coker-Godson says:

    06:27pm | 28/07/09

    @Davido:  “Love your work JCG ! You dont like to swear but you have no problems besmirching someone’s character without any reasonable or specific grounds. You are a champ!” Question:  Upon what acts, facts and circumstances do you rely in making the accusation that I have besmirched a person’s character. … Read more »

  • casey says:

    02:03pm | 28/07/09

    Johnno: *you’re You may love words, but you clearly don’t respect them. Read more »


People behave better online than in real life, moderating their language, respecting the views of others and being selective in their choice of invective.

A $%*#ing good cartoon by Jon Kudelka

That’s my conclusion after completing what I am claiming is the first definitive study on the language of building workers in a confined space, otherwise known as an online discussion board.

Thinking ourselves prudent, we decided to vet online messages of support for Ark Tribe, the Adelaide building worker facing jail for refusing to answer questions to the Building Commission , before we posted them online.

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  • AW says:

    09:48am | 15/07/09

    I agree with Brian, I chat a lot online, mainly on MSN.  I chat with a group of people from around the country (inc NZ), and I have to say that I re-read everything before I post, so that things can’t be taken the wrong way.  But when it comes… Read more »

  • Brian says:

    06:38pm | 14/07/09

    Personally, I’m not surprised that people swear less online. I’ve got a couple of theories regarding it: 1) When you swear in person, it’s normally something which flows. Rarely do I think ‘Hmm, let’s swear’ - normally I’m not even aware I’m speaking until I get ‘Gee, that hurts like… Read more »


Ask any marketing professional in the world today what they believe is the most potent asset in communications and they will tell you,  authenticity – and if you don’t have it, then fake it.

Watching the Prime Minister singing at the community cabinet meeting in Brisbane last week reminded me of another performer with whom Kevin Rudd has more in common than he would like to admit.

In Eddie Murphy’s film, Coming to America, Randy Watson took the stage at the Jackson Heights School Hall to perform “The Greatest Love of All”.

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  • Matt says:

    02:01pm | 08/07/09

    That video was hilarious to watch. I could really imagine Kevin Rudd up on stage singing those lyrics. He really is a self obsessed self imposed celebrity. Absolutely classic. But nothing is funnier than seeing Ruddites flood an online article. Especially when they start getting all grumpy about Kevin Rudd… Read more »

  • paul says:

    10:20am | 08/07/09

    “John Howard has been accused of many things, but being a phoney was never one of them.” People so out of touch with reality are rarely phoneys - they don’t realise that they are nerds of a level that noone would wish to concoct if not for humorous effect. Both… Read more »


There are two types of people in the world: people who think there are two types of people in the world, and those of us who think it’s even dumber than the zodiac to divide people arbitrarily into just two irreconcilable camps.

Robert Hughes after his car accident: Bill Leak's entry for the 2001 Archibald Prize

However, the one issue which fits this never-the-twain-shall-meet division is swearing.

People either dislike swearing to the point of loathing it - hello Mum - or are perfectly comfortable with it, swear frequently themselves, find it amusing or edifying when other people use swear words to make their point.

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  • Lateisha says:

    10:19am | 17/10/11

    That’s way the bestest aswner so far! Read more »

  • Reg says:

    03:57pm | 10/06/09

    The master of the well placed swear-word. Lewis Black. http://vodpod.com/watch/493347-lewis-black-explains-religion Read more »


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