Monday, June 10, 2019

Now and Then: Watergate Remembered--Profanity

While I've never set up a label "Watergate", I find I have referred to it several times in the context of Trump's actions.

One thing which hurt President Nixon was the revelation of the contents of the tapes.  What he said harmed his cause;eventually it sunk it when the "smoking gun" tape showing he planned the coverup. Another aspect diminished his reputation and support: profanity.

Remember in 1973-4 standards were crumbling under the determined attack of the baby boomers.  By standards I mean definitions of "propriety".  (A google ngram for the word shows its usage had been fairly steady for 40 years or so, but dipped significantly in the 70's.)  Nixon represented the people who still believed in propriety, who upheld standards of decorum, who were stiff in public.

So it was a shock to his supporters to find he actually swore in private.  And it's revealing that in the transcripts, his words were replaced by "expletive deleted".

Those were the days.

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