Chants, cheers, and Sixties language (multiple responses)

Sun, 16 Feb 1997 21:43:04 -0500


Subject: Re: What's that spell?

writing about the problem of cleaning up the WWII GI's language for the
copy sent by the correspondents to the good folks back home one recalled
an airforce mechanic slamming his wrench on the side of a plane and
yelling THE FUCKING FUCKERS FUCKED and how everyone knew just what he
ment. Ergot Spoken Here! how bout those e bonics huh!
Is it not time to admit that normal working class speech is always seen
as barbaric. As Jane Fonda told me about the GI's we were trying to
reach dont get to complicated "they are just working class guys who dont
know how to spell". Well Duh, that be me cept of for course the ever
popular F-U-C-K we know how to spell that thank you. have a groovy day,
coutry joe mcdonald


Subject: Re: What's that spell?

Miles ...

Words and phrases help authors embellish a historical setting. So "groovy,"
"right on," "up tight," "freaked out" have their place in novels about the
sixties. However, as I recall, real people did not use these words and
phrases except as exclamation. We talked to each other much as we talk
today. Now and then a hip word or phrase would slither into a conversation as
a way of manifesting hipness or emphasizing emotion. I'm sure we all
encountered the occasional "fuck this, fuck that" personality -- those
iconoclasts who could not speak a sentence without expletives -- but they
were as much a groan then as now.

Used judiciously in written dialogue, trendy words of the sixties can enhance
rather than detract from narrative. It is the unsophisticated writer who
leans on esoteric language too heavily to create the setting. A truly gifted
writer weaves discourse that is rich, real, and focused on content and
communication over style.

Brent Green