Anyone remember Monty Python’s epic film, “Life of Brian”? I think it had come out in 1978 (circa) and had been deemed to be rather blasphemous in nature by the Vatican (George Harrison, a great Python fan, had produced the movie and had actually appeared in it momentarily).
There’s one of my favourite scenes in the movie (and my father’s too). It shows Brian, who is played by the late, great Graham
Chapman, who is desperately running away from the faithful followers, led by that other magnificent actor, Mr. Silly Walks himself, John Cleese, who erroneously believes that Brian is the real messiah. After having fallen into a pit and having stomped down on the foot of a poor hermit, Brian pleads with the followers to bugger off. At one point he looks at them and yells, “Why don’t you all just fuck-off”! Cleese, not at all perturbed, no doubt stuns the Vatican back in Rome and says, “And how shall we fuck-off, oh Lord”? Indeed a priceless scene.
As blasphemous as it was back then, the Cassation court of Italy just handed down a (bizarre) ruling yesterday: that saying “fuck-off” to someone should not longer be regarded as an offence! The court’s reasoning is that the word (vaffanculo) has entered the Italian lexicon for quite some time now and shouldn’t really be regarded as a major swear word. A few years ago a report concluded that Italian youth are amongst the rudest in all of Europe (thanks also to Italian tv which doesn’t “beep” out swear words during prime time), so no doubt this new ruling will only make matters worse.
Just imagine the scenario: a young church-goer is being confessed for her sins. She doesn’t agree with the priest’s penance, and so out of the blue from the confessional yells out, “Oh why don’t you just fuck-off”!