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Mr. Cope, have you noticed you've been using a lot more dirty words lately?

Nah. I don't think so. You're wrong. I've been using dirty words for years and years. Fact, the first time I ever said “f*** you” out loud, it was to Richard Nixon. That's President Richard Nixon, while he is still president. Course ... he was on teevee at the time, and I made sure nobody else was in the room when I said it, and I sort of whispered it anyway, so I can't prove anything. But, no, I've been talking like Joe Pesci since way before I knew there was such a thing as a Joe Pesci.

No, I mean in your blog.

Oh. You mean I've been writing a lot more dirty words.

Uh-huh. My mom said something about it when I was over there the other day. She's been reading your column for years and she thinks that since you started doing a blog, you've gotten a lot dirtier mouth than you used to have.

Is she offended, Junior?

I think she is, Mr. Cope. In fact, she said "I just don't know why he's using so many nasty words anymore. Can't he think of anything else to say?" See, she always told me that cursing shows a person doesn't have a very mature vocabulary.

Ah. That's very perspicacious of her.

What? What did you just say about my mom!?

Nothing, nothing. I just meant she must be a smart lady.

Uh-huh. She is. She also taught me that swearing a lot shows a lack of character. You know, like people of good character don't need to swear all the time.

Well, she's probably right. But the deal is, I don't need to swear. I just like to swear. And I've never claimed I had a good character, anyway.

She also says that calling people names means you don't have an effective argument on your side.

She said that about me!?

Oh, no. No no. Not about you. Uh ... well, actually, yes. She said that about you the other day when I was over there. She said, "If he's calling so many of those Republicans nasty names, it means he doesn't have an effective argument on his side." And I think she's right, Mr. Cope. At least about you doing a lot more name-calling. It's like everybody is an "a-hole" this or a "poop-head" that. Only you don't say "a-hole" and "poop-head." You say the whole dirty word and I don't think you used to do that so much.

You're absolutely right. I have been calling more people assholes and shitheads than I ever used to. I admit it.

Why, Mr. Cope? Why are you doing it?

I'd say it's pretty obvious, Gilligan. It's because there are lot more assholes and shitheads around these days, wouldn't you agree? Especially in politics. I mean, I know you're young and all, but do you remember a time when there were so many assholes and shitheads out there? Say, running for president? Or getting elected to the Congress?

But couldn't you think of something else to say about them?

Well of course I can think of other things to say about them. What do you think I am? ... some kind of half-wit Republican shithead or something? I can think of all kinds of different things to say about them, especially when one of them goes above and beyond being a run-of-the-mill asshole. Ted Cruz, for instance, or Lindsay Graham, whom I call "f***ing assholes." See what I'm getting at? I like to layer my name-calling. It's like putting a flannel shirt on over a sweater over another flannel shirt. And seriously, a couple of those guys are working up to "f***ing asshole shitheads." James Inhofe, for instance ... or Daryl Issa. If it gets any worse, I'll probably have to start using foreign words.

That's not what I mean, Mr. Cope. I mean, shouldn't a political commentator ... or whatever you call yourself ... try to show these people you don't agree with are wrong by the logic of your argument? ... or by the facts and statistics of the issues? ... or something like that, instead of calling them the nastiest names you can think of? That's what Mom says you should be doing.< /span>

I hate to tell you this, Scooby, but your mom is wrong.

What? What did you just say about my mom!?

Relax. I'm sure your mom is the very best kind of person there is, and I have no doubt her heart's in the right place. It's just that a person as good as your mom may not realize you can make an effective argument against an asshole, and still call him a n asshole. In fact, if the reason an asshole is totally wrong about an issue ... John Boehner, for example, or John McCain ... is predicated on his being an asshole, then I would be leaving out a huge link of the chain of logic against him if I did not call him an asshole. Or in Boehner's case, a f***ing asshole. Get it? It's like, if you're trying to explain why a baboon does what it does, you don't start out by neglecting to tell people he's a baboon, do you?

So you're saying the a-hole condition is as much the cause as the effect?

Egg-zactly! Mitch McConnell, for example ... or any Senator from Texas ... they didn't become assholes by behaving like assholes. No no no. They're behaving like assholes because they are assholes.

Hum. I'll have to think about that.

Absolutely, Zipper. You should think about that. And look, I'm awfully sorry if your mom is offended by my swearing. But tell her I've dedicated myself to getting to the bottom of things. You know ... the lowest common denominator of why it's turned so shitty in America. And you simply can't get there from here without using the most precise words available to describe the people doing it. Can't be done! That'd be like substituting a Smiley Face for the Pi symbol in trying to calculate the area of a circle, just because you find Greek letters offensive. You can see that, can't you?

Hum. I'll have to think about that, too.

Alright, Buzzy. That'll give you something to do this weekend.

One thing, Mr. Cope. If you're so dedicated to using the most precise language available to get to the root of America's current troubles, should you be using asterisks in that one word you say all the time?

Which wor ... oooooh. You mean “f***.”

Uh-huh. That's the word I mean. You always write it out with asterisks instead of letters. It seems to me if you are compelled to describe a screwy situation precisely, you're ducking the naked reality of it all when you disguise that word behind a mask of asterisks. Does that make sense?

Yes, Beaver. You're absolutely right. But, you see, my dedication to the truth is a work in progress. There are still lengths to which I still feel uncomfortable going. And there's a vast difference ... at least in my mind, if nowhere else ... between writing "shit," and writing "f***." I think it must be my age."

But you and my mom are the same age, about.

My point exactly. Let's just say the asterisks are for her.

I'll tell her that, Mr. Cope. I'm sure she'll appreciate it.