Deciphering the smut

Ah. Radio 4’s News Quiz. Sandi Toksvig. Jeremy Hardy. And the need, once more, to navigate carefully the narrows of an expanding juvenile awareness of the perils and pitfalls of “bad language”.

Let’s start with what the boy DOES know. He already possesses awareness that language is tricky ambiguous stuff. Ground you might think solid will twist and turn at the drop of a hat into verbal quagmire. He knows that there is such stuff as word play, puns, double entendre. And it irritates him.

At least when others play it.

His own first proper joke, properly introduced, spun and recited at the dinner table, though: that was pun. “What cheese do you use to get a bear out of a cave?”

“Camembert”, of course. (Say it: mispronounce it a tad…”come on, bear….”).

That was pleasant.

Lately, though, as saturday journeys often overlap with THAT radio programme, he is fullo of questions himself and…his questions illustrate how difficulot, how different adult humour can be.

Thus, a week or two back, Sandi T retold an amusing story about herself and a condom. “What’s a condom?”, pipes up the boy.

That one, we answered. As age appropriately as we thought we could when dealing with a 7-year-old.

Though we have held fire on another “innocent” question that surfaced last week: the w-word. That’s one, we agreed, to be explained “when you are a little older” – and he seems to have accepted that. Though we remain slightly puzzled as to where the question originated. Its not a R4 word: nor, as far as we are aware, anything he will have picked from any of the television he is supposed to be allowed to watch.

From the playground? Maybe: he mingles with older boys, for whom the use of such a word is badge of honour.

Meanwhile, back to today’s News Quiz. He listened, puzzled, as the panel read out unintendedly droll extracts from various news reports.

First up, some exasperated local campaigner who, a paper reported, was “taking a stand on dog mess”. He got that quickly enough – though i’d guess that anything with “dog mess” in it was going to tickle his somewhat scatalogical sense of humour.

He didn’t get the next one…a simple mis-juxtaposition of programme informatoin. Saturday morning, apparently, the Beeb was running a cookery prog in which one could learn how to make curried meat balls and bakewell tart. The programme, the rubric continued “included strong violence and content of a sexual nature”. And it didn’t even say whether our Nigella was hosting it!

Too subtle, perhaps?

Last up – and also in the category of ambiguity to be explained at some nebulous future date was a report about a romantic professional golfer who, it transpired, at the start of every game, always “kissed his wfe on the first hole”….

Ye-es. Ambiguous. Rude allusion. And loaded with so much referential content as to be beyond any sort of appropriate explanation – at least as far as a seven-year old is concerned.

jane xx

3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Caroline said,

    How the heck did we ever figure it all out?

  2. 2

    eclectic chicken said,

    ‘we’ explained what a condom is?
    I think the phrase ‘ask your mother’ occurs fairly often in your conversations with the boy.
    As for wanker….I’ve (age appropriately) expalined masturbation…. but I’m refusing to add wanker to his lexicon of understood (and therefore usable) words.

  3. 3

    […] Deciphering the smut « Jane Fae’s BlogApr 28, 2012 … Ah. Radio 4′s News Quiz. Sandi Toksvig. Jeremy Hardy. And the need, once more, to navigate carefully the narrows of an expanding juvenile … […]


Comment RSS · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: