Cр*нь господня. Краткая история брани

автор: Денис Песков

Неплохая книга о ругательствах Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing. Название отсылает к двум основным направлениям брани: богохульства (вкл. упоминание имени бога всуе a-la "Сспидя!") и просто неприличные вещи (в основном генитально-телесно-функциональные). Борьба между ними за право быть самыми вызывающими шла с древнейших времён и с переменным успехом. Что Мелисса Мор и показывает.

…the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries presented a mix of the Holy and Shit. The Holy was declining in power, the Shit gaining it. Oaths had lost their ability to access God directly, and had begun to lose their power to shock and offend, but had not yet been eclipsed as the most powerful kind of language. Obscenity was beginning its rise to the position it has today, but it was still in the process of being defined, with obscene words sometimes avoided and sometimes ignored or even celebrated in the same contexts. It would take the extreme repression of the Victorians finally to secure obscene words their place as the “worst” in the English language.

Вообще, заход на тему с антично-библейских истоков сразу делает работу серьёзной и адекватно подготавливает к более прозаичным реалиям современности и относительно недавнего прошлого. Oaths тут означают клятвы/присяги, которые эволюционировали в поминания всуе. Вообще, конечно, разбираются ругательства, относящиеся к английскому языку. Поэтому а) его надо неплохо знать; б) самые мерзкие их ругательства всё равно не вызывают у нас такого отклика, ибо не на родном, вшитом глубоко в мозг. Старинная брань звучит любопытно: By God's bones!

….In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Holy and the Shit were mixed, neither one nor the other predominating. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, however, the balance swings entirely toward the Shit. Obscenities experienced a tremendous growth in strength, even as they disappeared almost entirely from public discourse. Obscene words for body parts and actions (sex and excrement) took oaths’ place as the words that shocked and offended; that insulted; that expressed extremes of emotion, positive or negative. To a degree, obscene words even adopted oaths’ ability to signify the truth of a statement, a capability that harks back to the “plain Latin” of ancient Rome. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, obscene words began to be used nonliterally, for their emotional charge alone; at this point they completed their transformation into swearwords.

…Because of the rise of Protestantism and other factors we’ve discussed, the balance slowly began to shift away from the Holy and back to the Shit. By the mid-nineteenth century, we were firmly mired in the Shit—obscene words had become the most shocking, the worst words in the English language. This was the height of the civilizing process, the maximum extent of the shame threshold, with obscene body parts and words taboo as never before or since. It was at the end of the nineteenth century that obscene words finally started to be thought of as and called “swearing,” though they had been fulfilling this function for many years before then. Most recently, the twentieth century witnessed the beginning of sexual obscenity’s decline and the rise of a new kind of obscenity, racial epithets, which are now some of the most taboo words in the English language.

Касается автор и актуальной сейчас темы запрета книг, в которых есть непристойности или мат — на множестве примеров, включая, "Улисса" Джойса и "Любовника Леди Чаттерлей" Лоуренса. Так, издательство Random House, имевшее права на издание в США запрещенного в Британии Улисса, решило сразу зайти на "рынок" со скандала. Таможенники, однако, едва не сорвали хитрый маркетинговый трюк:

…Random House possessed the rights to publish Ulysses in the United States and figured that such a scandalous book would sell. First, though, it needed to create a trial, one that would declare the book not obscene and thus legal to be published. The publisher tried to get the book impounded by customs, but this proved difficult, even for such an “infamously obscene” work. According to the story, Random House arranged for someone to bring an illegally published copy from France into the United States. When the “mule” went through customs, however, it was too hot for the inspector to bother opening anyone’s luggage. The man insisted that there was contraband in his luggage until the inspector was forced to search his bag. When the inspector discovered the copy of Ulysses instead of a bottle of rum or a packet of opium, he refused to seize it, telling the Random House man, “Oh, for God’s sake, everybody brings that in. We don’t pay any attention to it.” (An estimated thirty thousand illegal French editions had already been “smuggled” in.) The customs chief had to be called in, and he eventually did his duty and impounded the book, paving the way for Random House’s long-sought trial.

The trial happened in 1933 (with a favorable appeals court ruling in 1934) and was a success for Random House, for James Joyce, and for literary obscenity in general.

Американский суд вынес вот такое славное решение. Им обзор и закончим:

If a work contains a few obscene words or suggestive passages, this is no longer enough to push it into the category of obscenity. As the appeals court pointed out, most of Western literature could be indicted for obscenity under the Hicklin Rule (Британский закон, по которому книгу там запретили), from the Odyssey to Hamlet (not forgetting the Bible).

The U.S. courts insisted that the law deal only with a book’s effect on a “normal person,” equivalent to the “reasonable person” … not with its effects on the parts of the population most liable to libidinous excitation, whether those be the poor, the uneducated, or the boys. Given these considerations, the courts found that Ulysses was too sincere a portrait of lower-class life in Dublin, too artful a re-creation of people’s sometimes frustrating and often boring inner monologues, and just too dang long—it is of “such portentous length,” one judge noted—to be obscene.

Ибо не х** детьми прикрываться.
Из-за этого решения книгу разрешили и в UK.