humour, music, life, sociology. friendly agnostic.

Dying for a Laugh

Posted by spritzophrenia on November 15, 2010

Or, How to Curse Really Well.

One of the disadvantages of being born in a country with no large wildlife is the lack of good swear words. “You’re a Kakapo’s bum” doesn’t compare with the exotic combinations of “Elephant”, “Donkey” and “Mother” which pepper Urdu and Hindi.

Well, I suppose the early Maori may have cursed about the Moa or the Giant Haast Eagle? “Your father is a Moa’s toenail. Now cook the man some eggs.”

laughing seal

My knowledge of Hindi was vastly improved by a work colleague who taught us how to swear in his language. This was mainly to tease another co-worker, by threatening to phone her mother and use these words in the conversation. She was a good Indian girl as far as her distant family were concerned, “Don’t you dare tell my parents about my boyfriend”. I think we did try out one or two phrases on a cab driver when we were drunk.

Boy, those cultures can really swear! Think of a body part, multiply by a large animal, insult its intelligence, give it a foul disease and have sex with it. That’s what a real insult is, none of this mild Anglo-Saxon rubbish. Perhaps even in their blasphemies the English are too polite.

Except the guys in Four Lions are also English. My knowledge of Pakistani swearing, which seems just as gleefully vile as Hindi, expanded by watching this film. Some time ago I listed top ten spiritual movies. I’ve discovered a few more, and this one would definitely make it into the list. Not because it’s spiritual as such, but because the story takes place within the current political and social climate of westernised Islam and offers wicked social commentary. Better than that, it’s hilarious.

Four Lions is the story of four English men wanting to martyr themselves for their faith. Unfortunately most of them are incredibly inept. At first I was concerned their failure and stupidity could appear racist, but it’s clear that other characters are also mentally challenged, for example the dim white girl who flats next door and the bumbling English authorities who deal with the group. I wonder what different Muslim communities think of this film? There are some poignant human moments too, and the social commentary is deeper than it first appears.

I don’t want to spoil it for you, so all I’ll say is: It’s funny— see it!

Four Lions Trailer

Guess what? There’s another fantastic movie about suicide bombers, I posted that here.


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14 Responses to “Dying for a Laugh”

  1. In Quebecois French most swear words are religious. So, โ€˜sacresโ€™ is sacrament, but in the context in which it is used means โ€˜goddamn itโ€™. Interesting, eh


  2. Theresa said

    Oh gosh. *crylaughing* Love it when he tries to shoot with the bazooka!
    It’s a must see. Thank you, thank you!

  3. SugarPop said

    Love the laughing seal pic and your phrase “Think of a body part, multiply by a large animal, insult its intelligence, give it a foul disease and have sex with it. Thatโ€™s what a real insult is,…” in particular.

    In Dutch, most profanity involves unsavoury diseases. Slightly derogatory forms of body parts including gentalia are used more as *added colour* to descriptions of situations and sometimes even as terms of endearment!

  4. […] Dying for a Laugh […]

  5. lunargrrrl said

    Now I’m wishing I’d learned some curse words in Irish from my great-grandmother rather than pushing Mom to teach me in French. I swear, no pun intended, in America everything is a curse word. We’ll all end up using sign language. Wait, we do that, now.

    Like SugarPop, I adore that seal pic. That was this girl watching the trailer. Also, I am hunting this movie down in the Washington, DC area. I *must* see it.

    “What are we going to blow up?”

    “The Internet!”

    This movie is my type of humor.

    Thanks for posting it, J, because we all need a damn good laugh these days!

  6. Myslef and Vince Millet (and Mrs Ninja, for the record)went to a screening of Four Lions, q+a with the director afterwards – drinks / cast – awesomness

  7. Tried to rent Four Lions but no one has it ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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