Fudge! That’s what most of us do when caught exclaiming an expletive. You end up telling your sombre listeners with a conservative streak that you just remembered what you were supposed to pick up from the shop — a soft creamy candy made of sugar, milk and butter. No such pusillanimous class-covering excuse for Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Some soft, limp-wristed Pommie-type journalists last week had exposed that Mr Rudd, in a private meeting with his Labour Party colleagues, had used the four-lettered word that literally means fornication several times. Mr Rudd has not only not denied using the word that the Queen of England replaces each time with ‘fudge’, but he has proudly proclaimed that the expletive is part of “robust conversation” and is “consistent” with Aussie political traditions. Good on ya, mate!
Not only is a person hurling the ‘f’ word a reassuring sign in timorous times that he has a no-nonsense approach when it comes to taking action when people entrusted with a job fudge up, it also shows that he is not one of those genteel, frilly-collared sorts obsessed about decorum and class. Richard Nixon may have been done in by Deep Throat, but the man who hurled more ‘f’ words than napalm in Vietnam was responsible for ‘unmoveable’ things moving — like the historic thaw in relations between the West and China.
Not too many Indian politicians will go on to admit using our own homegrown expletives that include ‘the Oedipal’ one. Even after films like Omkara that made Indian gaalis downright fashionable among our Beautiful People, and even after having made a veritable profession of tom-tomming how India is finally a mature, confident nation, we still flinch at the sight of the ‘f’ word, an imported rhetorical word to boot, in print. Fuck.