Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Heartfelt 'Gosh' Doesn't Always Fit Well

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Heartfelt 'Gosh' Doesn't Always Fit Well

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson, Times-Union staff writer

Some ABC affiliates did the sort of thing you don't expect in today's world. About 20 station managers declined to air the movie Saving Private Ryan because they feared Federal Communications Commission fines for its language and violence.

The network's contract with director Steven Spielberg stipulated that the film couldn't be edited. The language and violence, it was argued, were an accurate portrayal of what was said on D-Day.

Spielberg is right. And we didn't exactly stop cussing when the Germans surrendered.

Picture this. You're sitting around taking a break on a little clump of high ground in the middle of some rice paddies in a place in Vietnam the Marines named Antenna Valley. Smoke 'em if you got 'em, bum 'em if you don't.

A bunch of ground pounders sitting around making fun of each other and reaching a unanimous conclusion that the colonel must be a complete idiot to have sent you on such a useless mission. What do you expect? He's a West Pointer who wears starched fatigues and spit-shined boots and gets to ride around in a helicopter while you're slogging through the mud and leeches.

Then there's a crack overhead, followed by a thump from another little island across the paddies. The crack was the sound of a bullet and the thump was the sound of the rifle firing.

You quickly deduce the following: A) Somebody fired a shot. B) At me.

Along with that split-second realization comes a tingling down in your gut from a place you didn't know you had and a stream of words come out of your mouth. In comic strip balloons they look like this: #&*$ @*##%!

You can rest assured the guys who went ashore at Normandy, dropped bombs on Berlin and shot at kamikaze pilots in the Pacific all could cuss with eloquence. Most probably were like the backslid Methodist preacher whom Mark Twain described as possessing the ability to cuss through a 9-inch board. …

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