This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

January 31st, 2005

Fels Naphtha

Depending upon your age you may not be familiar with the soap shown in the photograph - it was a household staple, a laundry soap and well-known for removing all sorts of spots and stains. It was also 'famous' as a way to remove unwanted bad language from the mouths of youngsters. The threat was something to the effect of "You better clean up your mouth or I'll wash it out with Fels Naphtha!" It was not an empty threat.

I suppose that would be considered child abuse in today's politically correct world, but maybe not, after all, toothpaste is soap just flavored to be acceptable.

Usually the threat was enough, I don't recall my grandmother actually washing my mouth out with Fels Naphtha - and I do remember using the offending words "holy scissors" which was enough to get her ire up. Compare that to what is used today. No, don't bother.

My dad and mother did not swear, at least not in front of me. Nor did my grandparents (I only had my dad's folks - I never knew my mother's parents.) I knew other adults who swore, or as grandmother would say, "took the Lord's name in vain" but the vulgar, coarse language so common today just wasn't done. It wasn't that we were 'upper class' or 'uppity' it was just that people were raised to have manners and common courtesy and vulgar, coarse 'street' language was not acceptable. Not by ladies nor gentlemen. If you weren't one or the other you simply didn't count. . . for anything, anywhere, at any time. It was THE expected behavior. Period.

Which bring us up to date.

I've received some email from folks concerned about posts on other Internet sites commenting about the "Demise of FAOL," others about "all the people banned from FAOL" and one from a 16 year-old who suggested we "retire and look for someone who is more accomodating [ibid] to members for publisher and editor of faol. You would do us all a favor, this is no fun." And finally 'tell JC to lighten up'.

I could make this column much shorter by simply saying practicing good manners and common courtesy could have avoided the need for anyone to remove posts from the bulletin board, or to ban anyone from posting there. As a point of information, in the past two months, four people have been banned from the bulletin board. Yes, I know there is a "board" which claims a whole bunch of people have been banned, and they even list the various reasons they have been banned. Nice try, not true. Makes for a good story 'tho. There was also a concerted effort to see how long it would take before someone from 'another' board would be kicked off FAOL. They thought it was great fun. Very juvenile, and to say the least, discourteous. Maybe these folks should get a life, or sober up.

As for the so called 'demise' - also not true. Our actual numbers are up about 20% from a year ago, including the Bulletin Board. Again, nice try. One of the ways you can tell is leader is by the arrows in his back. Or by how many shots the competition takes at them. If you can't beat them any other way, take personal shots and tell lies. Nothing new about that.

The truth is nothing has changed here. We continue to produce a new issue, with good content each week. We will not allow bad language, bad behavior, bad manners, cheap shots, personal attacks, political and commercial posts on our Bulletin Board. We do expect people posting on our Bulletin Board to behave like ladies and gentlemen - that doesn't mean we can't joke around and have fun, just not at the intentional costs to others.

There have been some other emails which I won't go into here, but I will say this - if I could have doled out doses of Fels Naphtha via email it would have been done. I expect the attacks on the Bulletin Board are over for now, but I assure you, when they start up again, they will be handled quickly and removed.

What is acceptable "elsewhere," and in fact is deemed as being really 'in', 'clever' or 'cool' is not welcome here. What it really is IS a complete lack of good manners and common courtesy.

And while I may not be able to do anything about that in our society as a whole, I surely can here. It is not acceptable, and will not be tolerated.

Got soap? ~ DLB

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