Brits get bloody over Bloody Brits get bloody over Bloody

By our woman who is no stranger to a bloody good time down under, Miranda S Givings
Britain's arbiters of good taste have got their knickers in a twist over the use of the word 'bloody' in an Australian advert aimed at encouraging more Pommy bastards to go walkabout down under

The contentious advertisement, produced by the Australian Tourism Board for British TV audiences, ends with a gorgeous, bikini-clad Sheila asking sun-starved Britons: 'So where the bloody hell are you?' as she wrings sea water out of her long, blonde locks. It's a bloody good question, if you ask us, given that Aussie tucker is among the best in the world, the sun shines most of the year and if the girl in the ad is anything to go by, Aussie shelias are gagging for a taste of British pork.

Utterpants finds it curiously ironic that Britain's TV advertising watchdog—the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC)—has banned the Aussie slogan on the grounds that it 'offends against good taste' whilst allowing British Holiday companies to continue to flog two week vacations to Albanian building sites with hot and cold running cockroaches. Do we detect the unpleasant odour of protectionism here? Perish the bloody thought, mate!

One Sydney wag we spoke to suggested that the slogan be changed to:'where the fucking hell are you?' to fall in line with current standards of British good taste. For the benefit of our understandably bewildered American readers, we should point out that the same British Word Police who've banned the use of 'bloody' in a silly bloody ad campaign don't bat an eyelid at the use of the 'f-word' on primetime Telly. In a further example of Kafkaesque logic the BACC has ruled that although the word should be edited out of the TV ad, it may be allowed online and in print. To which Utterpants says: Bloody hell, mate!

But while a few disgruntled sheep-stealers wept into their tinnies over Blighty's attempt to bung a spanner into their $180 million bid to lure us away from Falaraki and Florida, Utterpants were been busy researching the origin and use of the word which has so offended the BACC. With the resourcefulness for which we are justifiably famous, we spared no expense to convene a panel of lexicologists, pedants and cunning linguists over a light supper at the Purley Hilton Hotel, who lost no time in proving that the BACC are a bunch of bloody knobheads. What follows is a verbatim transcript of their conversation.

"Americans don't use it, do they?" proffered your reporter.
"Use what?" asked our Editor-in-Chief, Derek Tree.
"Bloody," I replied.
"Bloody what?" asked Keli McTaggart, senior writer and expert in oral diction.
"What the bloody hell are you babbling about, woman?" asked Derek.
"That," I said.
"That what?" he asked in mounting bewilderment.
"The way you just used bloody as an adjective to intensify your bloody meaning."
"And?" he enquired taking a rather large gulp from his wineglass.
"Americans don't bloody well use bloody, do they?" I repeated.
"Fucking," said Keli.
Our heads swivelled toward her in shocked surprise.
"What did you say?" I gasped.
"Fucking,." repeated Keli and burst into giggles.
"I see nothing to amuse in your use of a foul expletive at the bloody dinner table," said Derek, primly.
"No," laughed the irrepressible linguist, "Fucking is what Americans use instead of bloody."
"Are you sure, darling?" I asked doubtfully. "That seems bloody unlikely to me."
"No... " said Derek, wiping his mouth with his napkin. "I have heard them use it, though whether it serves the same purpose as bloody is bloody well open to question."

"That's just my point," I said triumphantly. "They don't have an equivalent in their language, do they? Fucking is far too bloody rude to use in normal conversation."
"So is bloody," said Keli.
"No, you're wrong there, darling," I objected, "Bloody is not considered a swear word any longer."
"But bollocks is, so please don't use it, Keli," I added.
"Are you sure?" asked Derek. "I mean about bloody not being a swear word?"
"Quite sure," I replied smugly. "Look it up if you don't bloody believe me."
"I bloody well will!" he retorted, and flinging down his napkin, snatched up the copy of the Oxford English Dictionary (2005), which I had purchased at great expense from a bloke who flogs genuine Chanel perfume on London's Oxford Street.

"Now then..." he muttered, "Let's see... ah, here it is:
"Bloody; adjective, informal, chiefly British. Used to express anger, annoyance, or shock or simply for emphasis: 'you took your bloody time!' As an exclamation: 'Bloody Hell!—what was that?' As a submodifier: 'It’s bloody cold outside.' More dated usage, unpleasant or perverse: 'don't be so bloody to poor Keli."
"Why? What have I done to her?" I asked.
"No, not you, that's another example from the dictionary."
"Keli's mentioned in the OED?" I asked.
"No, of course not!" snorted Mr Tree. "That was simply an illustration."

Derek continued reading from the dictionary: "Why are you being so bloody tonight?"
"I wasn't aware that I was," I replied.
No, not you, that's what the dictionary says."
"Oh... sorry, do go on, darling."

"Origin mid 17th century; from bloody. The use of bloody to add emphasis to an expression is of uncertain origin, but is thought to have a connection with the 'bloods'—aristocratic rowdies who were the late 17th and early 18th century equivalents of 21st century 'Chavs' and 'Pikies.' Hence the phrase 'bloody drunk' i.e., as drunk as a blood. After the mid 18th century until quite recently bloody used as a swear word was regarded as unprintable, probably from the erroneous belief that it implied a blasphemous reference to the blood of Christ, or that the word was an alteration of 'by Our Lady.' Hence a widespread caution in using the term, particularly in the United States, even in such phrases as 'bloody battle' to merely refer to bloodshed, arose. Such mistaken beliefs have now largely given way to an acceptance of the word as an informal adjective of considerable utility and popularity. Most lexicographers no longer consider it to be a swear word."

"Well—bloody hell!" exclaimed my husband, closing the book with a loud retort. "That explains why the Yanks don't use it and those utter arses at the BACC think it's rude and have banned if from the Australian tourism advert."
"Or maybe it's just coz they're all bloody hypocrites," said Keli.
"Hypocrites?" Derek and I repeated, "A prestigious body like the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre? That seems bloody unlikely."

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Story © Miranda S Givings & utterpants.co.uk / 120306 NN

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