Home » Army Life and Stories » JEAN SHEPHERD and foul language Part 3

JEAN SHEPHERD and foul language Part 3



I’ve gotten a number of responses regarding Shep’s use of and references to “foul language.”  Here, after a few notes on what he said on a non-broadcast at Princeton on May31, 1996, is just a bit of it:

Yearly Princeton appearance, 1996: (Recorded by someone attending the show, not recorded over the air or even broadcast. Many “Goddamns” “Asses”  “Sons of bitches”  and at least one “Balls.” None of this the more extreme words one has ever heard (or read in a couple of his printed stories as soldier usage.)

Laurie Squire: “In regular conversation (off air/offstage) , regardless of the tone of conversation, he never swore (neither did Leigh, temper and all!)” “Hi all, Digging into both my memory and Herb’s, we’re both really definite about never hearing Jean use a “bad” word. Really, never :)”

Jim Clavin: “I think that because Shep grew up in radio, from WJOB to WOR, and because the culture of radio during that time was such that it did not condone such language, he conditioned himself to never use the really bad stuff. If you say F or S in your everyday speech, you are bound to slip and he respected radio too much to chance that. Writing those words in a story is totally different matter. You write it once, with a creative thought in mind, and then move on. Writing the words do not create a habit like using it everyday while talking. Shep was a master of speech and had a vocabulary much too extensive too have to require ‘plugging up holes’ with those words. Comedians use those words for shock value, Shep was a humorist.”

EBB: I remember the good old days when I was known for not using foul language. But–on the rare occasion that I did let go with one–boy did people take notice! “Wow, Gene must be really upset!”

For a few words I encountered on the internet regarding soldiers’ words, see  SHEP’S ARMY page 225, “Glossary.”



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