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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 11, 1998)
No bad words
Profane language is a matter of perspective
CLIFF HICKS is a senior
news-editorial and English
major and the Daily
Nebraskan opinion editor
It’s just a word.
I mean, whoever thought a word
would have such an impact?
-^This was the situation. It was
about 2 in the morning and I was
working on a paper at home when I
decided I needed a bite to eat. So I
tossed on a shirt, some shoes and my
leather jacket, hopped in my car and
drove to a supermarket that shall
I just needed a microwaveable
pizza and a bottle of (university
endorsed) Pepsi before I headed back
to my apartment to finish my paper
and sleep for five hours. I got to the
check out, my pizza and pop rung
up, and the cashier gave me my total.
I opened up my jacket to get my
wallet out of mv inside Docket and
the cashier got a very blank look on
her face. “I’m sorry, sir; you’ll have
“What seems to be the problem?”
I asked her, totally taken off-guard.
“We don’t allow profane T-shirts
in the store, sir. You need to leave
It being late at night, I had just
grabbed whatever shirt was on the
top of my shirt drawer and took off.
As I looked dowti, I recognized the
rtwlti-color pririf and things became
clearer to hie. ; '
Emblazoned across my chest
were the words “Too Much F***ing
“Look,” I told the cashier, “just
let me pay and get out of here, and I
won’t wear this shirt again in here.”
“I’m sorry, sir. You need to go
It was way too late for me to put
up with some cashier’s smart-mouth,
so I took off and went to a different
store. This time I left my jacket
unzipped as 1 walked around the
store, so everyone could read the
No one said a thing.
Maybe you’ve heard of George
Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words.” That
was the early ’70s. Since then, one of
those words has slipped from unac
ceptable context to the you-can-get
That’s right, it’s now OK to “piss
And there was much rejoicing. (A
pathetic cheer of lifeless enthusiasm)
The fact remains, however, that
six words are still so bad that it is
considered inappropriate to say them
in public context. I can’t even list
them here for you.
We actually keep those words in
a small vault in the back room of the
offices, buried under Jimmy Hoffa’s
body and the lost Watergate tapes.
Just to even get the asterisks in
print I had to send a lackey in, and
it’s a shame, because that lackey
made good coffee too.
By now, I hope you’re starting to
realize the absurdity of this lecture.
What I’m trying to relay to you is
that there is no such thing as a bad
word to me. / Js.\
Words have ©ply the context that
you give them. They aren’t that bad.
Sure, you may take offense to them,
but you have to ask yourself this one
simple question - why?
When someone spouts what you
think is an obscene word, that’s your
perception. It has nothing to do with
the word itself.
And you’re voluntarily letting
yourself get worked up about it.
You, our gentle readers, may
think that my columnists and I have
puritanical language based on what
you’ve read in our columns, but let -
me tell you that you couldn’t be fur
ther from the truth.
I probably have the worst mouth
out of my staff, though there’s a
columnist or two who come close.
What I think is funny, though, is
how they can get so worked up about
it. One of them complains because
she thinks she swears too much.
Another told me he thinks / swear
Unlike the cashier last night,
though, I’m not that disturbed by the
words, and I’m proud to say that my
staff hasn’t complained about my
foul mouth much either.
You see, Too Much Joy is a band
(a very good one, I might add) that
had some run-ins with the law
because of profanity in the past. So,
natch, some of their shirts read “Too
Much F***ing Joy.”
Gentle readers, I know you know
what letters hide behind those three
asterisks. So do I.
Some people say they’re afraid
their kids will see my shirt because
they would learn a profane word
News flash to parents: Most kids
who can read already know these
words. If they didn’t hear ^
kids know them, the parents know
And if you don’t like my shirt,
don’t read it. But I have as much
right to buy my food and wear
what I want to wear, no mat
ter what someone says.
An atheist who says
he finds religious shirts
offensive is told to be
more tolerant. They’re
told that religions pro
mote peace, disregard
ing centuries of reli
gious crusades and
I’m not condemning
religious clothing, I’m merely saying
there’s room for everyone in the wide
world we’re in. So let me wear my
damn T-shirt and buy my damn
afiest - ft
you saying it, tney
heard some other _
kid saying it.
The reason Jm
they keep say
ing it is because 4H
they know you
don’t want them to. ii
Just like cats 1
love to get into trou
ble, children love to
irk parents by doing
what parents don’t want
them to. By telling
to make a
to say it
more and more
learn to be
So who are
parents protecting? The
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Surviving the game
Don’t lose sight of what’s really important and meaningful
AARON COOPER is a
senior English major and a
Daily Nebraskan columnist
We are all put to the test.
We are all left to stand in the face
of adversity, only to rise to the chal
lenge or fall into the aby ss of defeat.
It may not come in the manner
we would hope or at a time we
would prefer, but it comes nonethe
About this time everv semester
and approximately 187 times during
the year, we find ourselves looking
into that sinister reality, pondering
the ever present question of, “To fail
or not to fail?”
Somewhere in that chain of
events — the midnight pop run, the
computer disaster before a paper is
due, the sweat induced by chronic
procrastination - the test itself
becomes the most important thing if
we’re not careful.
Maybe you forget about the
paper you wrote two months ago that
you felt good about, the impossible
math test you got an A on or the kind
soul that lent you 13 cents at Burger
King because that Whopper cost
more than you could dig our qf your
faded high school blue jeans. t v
At best, maybe you realize that
finals are only a few exams which
won’t matter in 10 years. At worst,
you can look around campus at the
zombies walking to class and won
der if “The Invasion of the Body
Snatchers” was based on a true story.
The other day, I was standing on
Stadium Drive across the street from
one of the busiest construction sites
on campus, and I, too, was a bit pre
occupied with events of the near
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Then I noticed something.
A red sign with white lettering
was hanging in the southwest comer
of the stadium that read “Gates 4, 5,
6, and 7.” Above that sign were
numerous support structures in the
form of beams, boards and pillars.
But what caught my eye was some
thing higher up.
It was a different sign of sorts, a
heavily obscured engraving hiding
in the shadows beneath the overhang
of the construction. Those who are
familiar with the traditional appear
ance of Memorial Stadium might
recognize it as one of four corner
stone tablets atop large gray pillars.
It hit me that the words etched on
this particular tablet were probably
not going to be; visible for much
longer, assuming that the engraving
wiTFretnain intact once it is hidden
behind new additions to the stadium.
It is a series of seventeen words
that make up perhaps the most
important principle of higher educa
tion and of the work we have done
here, be it for one or 20 semesters.
They represent what I feel should
be the heart of every university,
every athletic team, every business,
every search for knowledge and
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or her place in the world.
They represent hope.
Not the Victory but the Action;
Not the Goal but the Game;
In the Deed, the Glory.
It is the simplest ideal and the
most profound wisdom I have ever
encountered, because it provides the
answer to some of our hardest ques
And the question is, as we scurry
to class or make a beeline for the
parking garage, whether or not we
take time to look up, to read the
signs that are meant to help us find
These words have been the
bedrock principle upon which I have
grounded my journey along this wild
ride through higher education,
I wrote them at the end of my '
application essay to the honors pro
graifir because I believed iriwhat they
stood for. Four years later, as I find
myself infinitely closer to the end of
my journey than the beginning, I
believe in the truth they provide
more than ever.
Maybe that means I am the last
American optimist or just a raging
idealist Or maybe it means that one
day, rather than staggering through a
sea of mindless obsession and preoc
cupation, I actually looked up.
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finds its way to my doorstep with a
vengeance, much like it does for
many others. I have known my days
in the house of pain and felt as
though my problems were more
important than anything else.
We are all put to the test. I guess
the defining moment comes not in
taking an exam or receiving that
final grade, but in the manner we
choose to face the challenge. v
The Primitive Radio Gods said it
best in that song few people can
remember the name of: “Can money
pay for all the days I lived awake but
The answer is no. It can’t.
Remembering that the challenge
itself is the most important tiling
provides the key to true success.. * y:
It is the one thing that can make
winners out of those teams and indi
viduals who feel they have endured
life’s greatest defeats.
Hey, I think about grades like
anyone else, and I grumble over
defeat, but I don’t dwell on them. As
for finals and the rest of this thing
called life, I figure you do your best,
you study/cram/pray until your eyes
can’t stay open any longer, you put
the pencil down and remember to
The rest is out of vour hands.
As for me, I’m going to enjoy the
few remaining months of undergrad
uate madness and await the return of
the boys of summer.
Things could be worse.
Cooper’s Law: When the game
becomes more important than a
number on the scoreboard, you can’t
Thanks for your hospitality,
It’s been real.
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