Nunberg: The Swearing on Deadwood is anachronistic


According to Goeff Nunberg on Fresh Air yesterday, the swearing on Deadwood is anachronistic. Nobody said fucking and cocksucker all that much in the 1870s. These didn't get popular until the early 20th century. For serious shock value, they would have used true profanity as opposed to obscenity, that is, blasphemous expressions like god damn it and hell and jesus christ. You can see why the writers decided to crank it up for modern audiences, whether you agree with the approach or not.

And here I thought the show's every detail was historically impeccable. Oh the disappointment.


David Milch (the creator) actually talks about some of the language in Deadwood in an interview on NPR. It sounds like they tried to get some era-appropriate expressions in, but it seems that they have had to bow to the current audience with the nature of some of the profanity. (You can here that interview at: ) It isn't like that is a new trick though - even Shakespeare did it. The historical play of Julius Ceaser was written with stuff that what current to the time it was written, not to Roman times. Oh well, who gives a fuck anyway.

Well said.

Yeah I heard that Milch interview too. Fascinating.

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This page contains a single entry by Professor B published on June 22, 2004 12:16 PM.

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