Lecture Service for Secondary Schools - We help to motivate your students. Click for details

web counter
web counter


Return to Index page

Dr Klaus Bung
68 Brantfell Road
Blackburn BB1-8DL


© 2010 Klaus Bung

Teachers tell you WHAT to learn, IDYLL (R) shows you HOW to learn it.

previous/next bar go previous next essay


Klaus Bung:
Contempt of court

On 2010-10-12 I published an article ( " Last words: Expletive deleted " ) giving examples of robust language in English. Among the expressions discussed were "take your finger out", "get off your arse" and "get off your backside". About four weeks later, a member of the British Royal Family used one such expression when he criticised, in forthright language, the bosses at the Ministry of Defence by saying: "...regrettably they will not get off their fat backsides". This reminds me of a case in 1973 when a German Social-Democrat member of parliament referred to the eight judges of the German Constitutional Court (the highest court in Germany) as "the eight arseholes" and that word was splashed in huge print over the front pages of most newspapers in the country.

I will keep this article here for 10 days. Then I will incorporate it into my article of 2010-10-12, where it belongs.

Read more ...


2010-11-06 Contempt of court

English Prince uses robust language

Today, 2010-11-06, a member of the Royal Family, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and son of the Queen, made some angry remarks about the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which is responsible for supplying the weapons etc which the Army needs.

He used some unusually strong language (forthright language), and since that language came, unexpectedly, from a senior member of the Royal Family, all the media reported it.

This is what the Prince said about the bosses at the MoD: "... regrettably they will not get off their fat backsides." The MoD is "completely hopeless at these kind of things".

You can read the full story at the BBC website.

German judges referred to as "eight arseholes"

8 constitutional judges in Karlsruhe in red robesIf you think the Prince's language was disrespectful, consider what happened in West Germany in 1973. West Germany (now simply Germany) has a constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht in the city of Karlsruhe) whose job it is to keep an eye on parliament and to ensure that the members of parliament do not make any decisions which are unconstitutional. One reason for the existence of this kind of institution is to ensure that the horrors and crimes of the Nazi regime (1933 to 1945) can not be repeated. The nazis came to power by utilising the mechanisms of democracy and, once in power, abolished democracy and replaced it by their dictatorship, which ended in genocide (murder of six million Jews). (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

The eight judges of this court are therefore more powerful than parliament and deserve to be treated with respect. However, some members of parliament became very annoyed because the eight judges in Karlruhe had repeatedly declared certain laws as unconstitutional. One Social-Democrat (moderately left-wing) member of parliament was heard saying (in German): "We will not allow those eight arseholes in Karlsruhe (acht Arschlöcher in Karlsruhe) to wreck our policies towards Eastern Europe" (Ostpolitik kaputtmachen).

The following morning these words were in huge headlines all over the newspapers, and everybody was discussing them. The case is still remembered today; click here for an example. This article is entitled "Acht Arschlöcher und ein Halleluja. Einige staatskritische Spekulationen aus Anlaß des Kruzifix-Urteils" (Eight arseholes and one halleluja. Some speculations on the status of the state on occasion of the crucifix judgement). (Are you tempted to learn German to find out what it is all about? LOL)

I googled "acht arschloecher in karlsruhe" and got 19,300 hits.

I also googled images for "acht arschloecher" (German for "eight arseholes"), covered my nose as a precaution, but only received one image, namely the building of the German Constitutional Court. I received no parts of the human anatomy; i.e. there is now a strong link between the expression "eight arseholes" and the constitutional court. Google for one and you get the other. But sadly I have never heard anyone try to insult his opponent by saying "You Bundesverfassungsgericht", instead of "You nazi", "You communist" or "You bastard", or even more succinctly "you prick" or " you c*** ". Apparently a one-syllable insult can be bowled faster than the seven syllables of "Bundesverfassungsgericht", which only a German in the full vigour of youth can utter without running out of breath.

The incident was first reported in an article by Johann Georg Reißmüller in FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG of 27 June 1973. Get that newspaper from the archives to convince yourself that I did not invent this surreal story.

Teachers tell you WHAT to learn, IDYLL (R) shows you HOW to learn it.