Why is profanity often based on bodily functions or God?

The point of profanity is to break social taboos to demonstrate intensity of emotion. Social taboos are real, so profanity has the desired effect of shock by messing with those taboos.

Most societies have strong taboos around religion. Most societies have taboos about excretion, and a lot of societies have taboos about sex.

The West doesn’t have these taboos anywhere nearly as strongly, and has replaced them with taboos around racism and sexism. So Westerners need some imagination, to imagine how forceful an impact profanity used to have.

Or, they need to substitute sexist and racist invective in their heads—although oddly enough, that’s not the same: prejudice singles out members of a community, rather than toying with the underpinnings of a community. On second thought, maybe that’s not so different after all.

In fact, there’s been profanity inflation, which is why Deadwood (TV series) had to use as obscene a language as they did. Cowboys swore plenty back in the day; but what they swore about broke taboos that just aren’t around anymore; so they’d sound silly today.

There was a time when not bloody likely scandalised a nation (Pygmalion (play)). And that time was way after the time of the Wild West.

(Btw, bloody is about God, not bodily functions. God’s blood.)

It’s federal election time. How do we get more true independents into Australian government?

People of Australia!

I don’t care if Ricky Muir is a bogan gun nut, and I don’t care if David Leyonhjelm is a Libertarian wackadoodle, and I don’t care if https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ja… is a single issue redneck. These are voices we have not had in our polity, and I want us to keep having these voices in our polity. I want to see randoms off the street grappling with serious issues, without some focus group telling them what to think. There is nothing that the LibNats and Labor have said that we haven’t already heard, and they don’t bring anything new to the debate.

If Malcolm has thrown a Double Dissolution to rid the Senate of anyone interesting, then throw that right back at both Kang and Kodos. Vote 1: Other.

If only there was just one Other to vote for in the Senate, of course, we wouldn’t be in this situation to begin with.

That’s the problem, and the way to address it, now that ‘Preference whispering’  is being blocked, would be for the independents to band together and have a single candidate per state. Which would make them no longer independents, of course, so won’t happen.

And to pick a figurehead who isn’t a failed impersonation of Donald Trump.

How does it feel for a Greek born outside of Greece visiting Greece in the big cities, in the villages or in the islands of Greece in 2015/2016?

Hey, I qualify for that answer. January 2015, on my honeymoon. Was last in Greece 2008.

Kinda sullen.  My home town (Sitia, Eastern Crete): visibly a lot of shuttered shops. Noone in my extended family gave a crap about politics any more. Still a healthy nightlife and buzz in Salonica; in fact I had a much better impression of Salonica than the previous time, when I decided it was no longer “the Queen of Cities”. I saw more of Athens than usual, including much more of Plaka; also found that enjoyable to my surprise. The bookstores had clearly shrunk in both Athens and Salonica—hard for me to imagine a world without Eleftheroudakis Bookstore. Noone cared about the smoking ban.

So much for the socioeconomics. The personal perspective:  it’s no longer home, which is always painful to realise; I felt especially dislocated in Sitia. I found what I thought was a deep lack of curiosity about the outside world (including Australia and my wife)—which I found dispiriting.

Does the Greek word for obey in Ephesians 6:1 and Colossians 3:20 mean obey without question or is there room for discussion?

Ephesians 6:1:   Τὰ τέκνα, ὑπακούετε τοῖς γονεῦσιν ὑμῶν ἐν κυρίῳ, τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν δίκαιον

Colossians 3:20:   Τὰ τέκνα, ὑπακούετε τοῖς γονεῦσιν κατὰ πάντα, τοῦτο γὰρ εὐάρεστόν ἐστιν ἐν κυρίῳ

Naive answer: certainly in Modern Greek, υπακούω is straight out “obey”.

Etymologically it means “under-listen”; and the first gloss given in Liddell–Scott is “hearken, give ear”: that’s the sense it has in Homer. That sense definitely has wiggle room: it just means “consider what is said”.

The meaning shift from “hearken” to “answer, respond” to “heed, comply” to “submit”  to “obey” happened during Classical times: LSJ says “submit” is already in Herodotus, and “obey” in Thucydides and Xenophon.

Did the original, Homeric meaning stick around in the Koine?  Probably not. The BDAG dictionary (of New Testament Greek) gives the definitions “to follow instructions; to obey, follow, be subject; to grant one’s request; to answer a knock at the door”. That doesn’t sound like wiggle room to me.

Could a Bosnian Muslim have the surname Novakovic?

Thanks to all. The back story of Ms Novakovic (from what I saw in the paper today), in case people were interested:

  • Serbian (“Greek Orthodox”) father died.
  • Indonesian mother; but outside of Aceh, most Indonesians are not strict Muslims
  • However, her maternal uncle encouraged her to embrace Islam as a teenager
  • She changed her name from Nancy to Aisha
  • She started wearing niqab—which her mother objected to
  • She was radicalised and used to have a poster of Osama in her bedroom
  • She has turned against radicalism since