“F*** off, leave me alone”: the real-life F words of Helen Mirren, Elizabeth Taylor and feuding Irish politicians


It can be quite interesting, if you have an idle moment, to set up a Google alert to notify you when your business name gets a mention somewhere on the internet. That sounds – and probably is – rather egotistical but actually it teaches you that the people discussing your name aren’t referring to you at all but to something else entirely. You realise how insignificant you really are – and that you should get out more. Don't Say That jar, collecting coins for bad words

F*** off, leave me alone”

My alerts for the phrase F Words brought up the recent story about Dame Helen Mirren saying that if she’d had a daughter the first words she would have taught her would have been “f*** off”.

Referring to sexism in the entertainment industry and to the Jimmy Savile scandal, Mirren said in the Mail on Sunday: “We weren’t brought up ever to say that to anyone, were we? And it’s quite valuable to have the courage and the confidence to say, “No, f*** off, leave me alone, thank you very much.”

I certainly don’t think I’d have had the courage. For reasons I’ve long forgotten, I once wrote the word “piss” on the inside cover of a school textbook when I was about eight and the act haunted me for months afterwards; I lived in constant fear that the authorities would see it and find out who the perp was. Using the f word would have been well beyond the extent of my ambition.

How do you f***? You can barely move”

In other news, the new BBC drama about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, broadcast this week, had to be re-written because it was littered with too many swear words, according to the Daily Mail.

Apparently, the BBC got a fit of the vapours when it realised the first draft of ‘Burton and Taylor’ contained 49 different uses of the F word. BBC bosses reportedly told the scriptwriter: “We love the script but we simply can’t have 49 f***s and a c-word”.

In one scene Taylor asks her ex: ‘How do you f*** anyway? You can barely move.”

I’m sure there must be many women who’d say the same thing, if they thought of it.

I will not f***ing apologise to her”

Meanwhile, over in Ireland, the Independent newspaper reported that independent Senator David Norris had been involved in a “fusillade of f-words”.

The story goes that Norris had accused Fine Gael politician Regina Doherty of “talking through her f***y” when she claimed scrapping the Seanad (the Irish upper house) would save €20 million a year. (Source: Irish Mirror)

[For the benefit of my American readers, fanny doesn’t mean arse on this side of the pond.]

Labour senator Lorraine Higgins asked him to apologise. The Independent reported that Norris responded: “ “I will not f***ing” apologise to her,” and went on – for reasons unexplained – to list other “fanny” synonyms, “many of them most definitely unparliamentary”.

Higgins reportedly gave as good as she got, at which Norris told her she was “incredibly rude”. It seems Norris used to be a lecturer in English, so he could presumably have found a way of expressing himself than didn’t involve childishly coarse references to a lady’s downstairs parts.

It sounds to me as though he could have benefited from a good talking-to from Helen Mirren and Elizabeth Taylor. They’d have told him to f*** off.

What do you think? Is effing and blinding a legitimate way of expressing a strongly held opinion? Or should Mirren, Taylor and Norris wash their mouths out with soap?

Picture credit: jppi at http//www.morguefile.com

4 thoughts on ““F*** off, leave me alone”: the real-life F words of Helen Mirren, Elizabeth Taylor and feuding Irish politicians

  1. kim says:

    Dear F words,
    Recently George Ferguson, the Mayor of Bristol, listened to a protestor going on about something for 30 minutes, then told the protestor to ‘F off’, as he’d had his say. I thought this was perfectly acceptable. However, my question would be- if it had been a woman telling a member of the public to ‘F off’, would my opinion have been different?

    1. Sue Fenton says:

      I hadn’t heard about that! I just Googled “George Ferguson fuck off” and there’s a YouTube clip of it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lb5OFukKqDg. George can be heard saying: “You’re extremely boring… I’ve listened to you, now fuck off!”

      As to your question – no doubt had Ferguson been a woman he would have been widely criticised for being coarse, unfeminine and rude to the voters – as it is, I guess his remark was seen as part of his red-trousered eccentricity?

      By the way, some entrepreneurial type has launched a range of T shirts commemorating the incident. “George says fuck off!” http://www.bristol-culture.com/2013/05/15/ive-listened-now-fuck-off/

  2. Joli says:

    I often say a silent prayer of gratitude to the scriptwriters of Father Ted for giving us a word that does the same job as F*&k but which isn’t the least bit offensive!

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