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Most recent 20 results returned for keyword: Peter Cook (Search this on MAP) Peter Cook :

Episode 7
A jeweller identifies the man who bought the pendant. The man is questioned, but he has an alibi. Romain is given a bag of Lea's possessions left at the race track.In French with English subtitles.
20 hours ago - Via Google+ - View - Sherry Roth : "Constraints Boost Creativity" by @AcademyOfRock on +LinkedIn Wisdom from Peter...
"Constraints Boost Creativity" by @AcademyOfRock on +LinkedIn
Wisdom from Peter Cook:
Constraints Boost Creativity
There is a school of thought that says that creativity is enhanced by having all the resources you need. There is an equal and opposite school that suggests that constraints and limitations can spur
21 hours ago - Via Google+ - View - Arab Today : Daesh launches new attacks in Afghanistan: Heavy fighting between Afghan forces and Daesh terrorists...
Daesh launches new attacks in Afghanistan: Heavy fighting between Afghan forces and Daesh terrorists has killed dozens of people, officials said Sunday, raising fears the militant group is staging a comeback months after Kabul said they had been defeated. The fighting began late on Friday in the Kot area of the Rodat district in eastern Nangarhar province after a contingent of Daesh terrorists attacked police check posts, provincial governor Salim Khan Kunduzi said. The Interior Ministry in a statement said at least 18 fighters had been killed and more than 40 others wounded so far, though Kunduzi placed the number of Daesh terrorists killed as high as 36 and said at least a dozen security forces personnel and civilians had also died. Scores of people have been forced out of their homes, according to local officials. Daesh began making inroads into Afghanistan in late 2014, winning over sympathizers, recruiting followers and challenging the Taliban on their own turf, primarily in the country’s east. But in March, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced that the militants had been defeated following a months-long military operation. The US military estimates between 1,000 and 3,000 Daesh terrorists are in Afghanistan, mostly comprised of disaffected Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, as well as Uzbek militants and locals. Earlier this month the US President Barack Obama ordered the US military tackle the resurgent Taliban more directly — in tandem with Afghan allies, ratcheting up a 15-year conflict he had vowed to end. On Saturday the US military carried out its first air strikes against Taliban targets under the newly approved rules, which mean US troops can now work more closely with local fighters in striking the Taliban. Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said the strikes occurred in southern Afghanistan, but he did not provide additional details.   Source : Arab News
Arab Today,arab today - daesh launches new attacks in afghanistan
Heavy fighting between Afghan forces and Daesh terrorists has killed dozens of people, officials said Sunday, raising fears the militant group is staging a comeback months after Kabul said they had been defeated.
1 day ago - Via - View - Peter Cook :

Great prices
"Lots cheaper than the shops, delivered in days. I order heavy bulky items, which are always bro ..."
1 day ago - Via Google+ - View - Randy McDonald : The Globe and Mail features an article by Margaret MacMillan looking at the post-Brexit United Kingdom...
The Globe and Mail features an article by Margaret MacMillan looking at the post-Brexit United Kingdom. As I watched UKIP leader Nigel Farage chortling in triumph, I was reminded of what the British humorist Peter Cook once said: that Britain was in…
[LINK] “Britons will enjoy their victory today. But tomorrow, the hangover will be fierce”
The Globe and Mail features an article by Margaret MacMillan looking at the post-Brexit United Kingdom. As I watched UKIP leader Nigel Farage chortling in triumph, I was reminded of what the Britis…
1 day ago - Via - View - Jonathan Ashley : The comic use of profanity within television: What’s the fucking point? This essay aims to look in ...
The comic use of profanity within television: What’s the fucking point?

This essay aims to look in depth at the comic use of profanity within television. There has arguably been a more liberal attitude to swearing on television in the past twenty years. Popular television shows such as HBO’s The Sopranos and Curb Your Enthusiasm in America, as well as BBC’s The Thick Of It in Britain, have all used profanity to a far greater extent than past shows of similar genres. Is this liberalisation an effect of a wider social acceptance of swearing, or is it a sign that television production has been granted a Lady Chatterllean reprieve from the archaic laws governing output that have stifled previous attempts at linguistic freedom? In an attempt to answer this question, a brief look at how swearing has been used in society throughout history will be analysed followed by a look at television production’s changing attitudes to the subject. But this is only half the story. What is of interest here is the comic use of profanity: to understand how and why a well placed swear word is funny, or not, as the case may be. This notion will take in aspects of delivery, context, timing and realism in an attempt to understand the often intricate placement of swearwords to create humour within television output. A study of some scenes from the above mentioned shows, in addition to others, will be undertaken in order to highlight the defining aspects of the comic use of profanity and how, and why, there are times when it is funnier to refrain from swearing altogether.

Rather than being a fixed set of rules, language, and in particular swearing, is malleable. Over time some words have changed in their meaning and inventive replacements have often been found for words that carry a taboo. Prof’ Rom Harre (1991 p.90) suggests that ‘[t]he first point to notice about “bad” language is that both obscene and blasphemous uses are certainly displacements.’ But why do we feel the need to displace one word for another with a certain unpleasant, biological or religious reference. In his introduction Hughes (1998 p.3) quotes Montague as saying:

swearing is not universal ... several substantial speech communities, including the American Indians, the Japanese, the Malayans and most Polynesians, do not swear (1973 p.55). Never the less, in many cultures swearing is fascinating in it’s protean diversity and poetic creativity, while being simultaneously shocking in its ugliness and cruelty.

Given that swearing is not universal it can be assumed that the societies that do swear have found a use for it that does not exist in the societies for whom swearing is not evident. It could be argued that in societies organised hierarchically, oppression and suppression have put in place unwritten rules and regulations governing the use of language. For example, while the ruling classes may swear liberally, a servant, heard to be using similar language in the presence of his superiors, would almost certainly be castigated for it. This, according to Hughes (1998 p.3), is one area in which words have had their meanings ‘disguised’. He dates it back as far as the eighteenth century and the plight of slaves:

taboos generate forms of censorship which may be overt or covert. The latter kind is characterized by means of phonetic disguise into a seemingly innocuous variant. Thus by golly! was originally a Negro euphemism for by God! traceable to c.1743.

This disguising tactic holds interesting parallels with a modern day British television comedy, Father Ted, which chooses to disguise the swear word ‘fuck’ with the brilliantly devised ‘Fek’. This will be given a closer look later when discussing attitudes to swearing within television production. Another form of disguised swearing can be found in cockney rhyming slang which, interestingly, has itself many variant forms and has grown and changed in much the same way as the language from which it is derived. Hughes (1998 p.15) offers as examples, ‘Berkley (or Berkshire) Hunt (=cunt) and Friar Tuck (=fuck, although there would seem to be a spoonerism at work here as well)!’ What is apparent here is the notion that a lower class of people had a need to communicate in a way that their oppressors would not understand. This, of course, is not constrained to just swearing. Cockney rhyming slang, for example, was widely used by criminals to evade the prying ears of law enforcement or those that might inform the authorities.
Moving away from the disguised swearing of the oppressed, a look now at how swearing and objections to it may have developed over the last hundred years would be useful. Battistella (2005 p.72) attempts to break swearing down into categories:

epithets, profanity, vulgarity and obscenity. Epithets are various types of slurs, such as wop, raghead, bitch, or fag. Usually these refer to race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality, but they may also refer to appearance, disabilities, or other characteristics (as for example with the epithets midget, gimp, and retard). Profanity is religious cursing. This ranges from a mild hell or damn to a more emphatic goddamn, and it involves the coarse use of what is taken to be sacred. Vulgarity and obscenity refer to words or expressions that characterize sex - differentiating anatomy or sexual excretory functions in a crude way, such as shit and fuck, with the distinction between vulgarity and obscenity being primarily a matter of degree and prurience.

Epithets, in a world policed by political correctness, are nowadays unused on television and becoming generally considered abhorrent by most of society. They may still be used by certain far right political movements and, to that end, could be used within a television narrative to depict a character of that persuasion, but the days in which these types of words were being used for humorous effect are thankfully long gone. An interesting example of this in recent British comedy is that of Alf Garnett, main protagonist of sitcoms Till Death Us Do Part (1965-1975) and In Sickness and in Health (1985-1992), written by Johnny Speight. Alf Garnett was a racist misogynist, brilliantly brought to life by a combination of Speight’s satirical writing and Warren Mitchell’s performance. Till Death Us Do Part is interesting in terms of epithets as it was first aired when cultural attitudes were on the cusp of change in Britain. According to the BBC’s website: ‘Most people got it - that he was everything wrong with the nation in one man. A few diehard racists never got it, and thought he was just telling it like it was, much to Speight’s despair.’ These series’ say more about the cultural changes happening in Britain than any other sitcom of their time and, much like the characters within the series, split families down the middle: between the dated attitudes of Alf Garnett and the more liberal accepting attitudes of his daughter and son-in-law.
Returning to Battistella’s breakdown, we can now turn to the profane. He classifies it as ‘religious cursing.’ This, presumably, would have been a far greater sin at times when religion played a bigger part in policing, or governing, society’s moral compass. Although some modern belief states that we are living in a more secular society the fact remains that there are now, compared to fifty years ago, many more religious faiths living side by side within the same societies. Consequently, although there is some truth in the fact that not as many people attend church here as was once the case, there are certainly well attended mosques in most urban areas, not to mention the myriad religious faiths from around the world which no doubt have some following within most British communities. This being said, any religious profanity has the potential to cause offence to someone devoutly following its doctrine. Although ‘Christ!’ is routinely used by secular society as an exclamation of many things, from the the pain of stubbing a toe to the elation of winning the lottery, it is still considered an aberration by many Born Again Christians, for example. While subsections of society hold strong religious beliefs, profanity of this nature will always cause offence. This leads us neatly into the realms of when and where it could be considered okay to use bad language. Battistella (2005 p.75) cogently outlines his findings:

What is evident from the various objections to coarse language and epithets is the idea that certain words are not used in polite speech - that public language should be suitable for all possible groups of listeners, from one’s children and grandparents to worldly adults and working folks. Language falling outside this range is often characterised as impolite, inappropriate, disruptive, disrespectful, immoral, injurious, or dangerous, and as such, is constrained by etiquette, workplace rules and law.

These clearly defined outlines suggest when, and to certain extent where, swearing could be considered inappropriate. Yet swearing is a prevalent part of communication for many in society. It is argued by Battistella (2005) that both World Wars contributed to the proliferation and acceptance of swearing. The troops returning from the First World War, used to the language of the trenches, brought it back and continued to swear in much the same way once returned to civvy street. The language of the media also took on a harder edge during times of war as politicians aimed at galvanising the nation at a time of great hardship. This effect is then compounded by the changing roles of women brought about by the consequences of the Second World War with, according to Burnham as quoted in Battistella (2005 p.81-82) ‘strong language coming to be seen as a mark of sophistication.’ War also plays a part in the liberation of language in the U.S, but in a quite different way. According to Battistella (2005 p.82)

Like World Wars l and ll, the Vietnam War engendered a soldier’s language of the 1960s. The antiwar movement and some of the social and political movements of that time also occasionally used offensive language to shock and challenge authority. The Berkely Free Speech Movement, begun in 1964, was labelled the Filthy Speech Movement by some after a 1965 incident in which a small group of protestors chanted and displayed coarse expressions.

We see here clear changes in the uses of bad language occurring at key moments of the twentieth century. Times of hardship during the two World Wars, opposition to the Vietnam War and contentious governmental policies during the 1960s (the Civil Rights Movement, for example, garnering a similarly bombastic response rhetorically, as well as physically). To illustrate the affects of this on the arts Battistella (2005 p.69) notes that ‘[i]n his Cursing in America, Timothy Jay finds a tripling of the average amount of cursing in films from the 1960s to the 1970s.’
Despite the apparent liberation of swearing that occurred during the twentieth century there are still areas in which it is considered wrong to use lewd, or coarse, language as outlined above. What really constitutes the boundaries of these areas varies from person to person and situation to situation. Among friends or colleagues, for example, there will be an unspoken boundary in terms of what is acceptable within that particular dynamic. The boundaries for every dynamic and every work place also vary. This makes measuring swearing’s offensiveness difficult. It is, after all, subjective. As noted by Willis (2005):

We all allow ourselves to behave in a more unbuttoned way when in private, saying and doing things when alone or with close associates which we would not consider doing in public. Indeed, we might even condemn similar behaviour by others if carried out openly (unless, of course, some kind of license has been negotiated or granted, as is the case with comic figures). This public/private duality parallels to some degree the friction between the conscious and the unconscious.

So how does television negotiate the line between public transmission and private consumption? Broadcasters have always been acutely aware of television’s place in family entertainment and, as such, have taken the issue of bad language and taste extremely seriously. A look at television production with relation to swearing will now be undertaken.

Television, and radio, hold an unusual position in the realms of entertainment. They both deliver content direct into people’s homes. Interviewed for a BBC documentary, Mark Lawson (2010) posits:

In all other art forms you’ve made a decision. You’ve bought a ticket, you’ve made a journey in most cases, or you went and bought a book and brought it into your house. But this stuff, television, could take you unawares. And that’s why it’s been [that] both dangerous and brave things have been able to be done. It’s also why there’s been so much caution: because [of] that awareness; that people are not necessarily choosing what they’re viewing.

Early broadcast television in Britain was, attested to by O’Sullivan (2011), guided by the Reithian doctrine of high culture and moral values. However, with the social liberation that was occurring after the war years, and the introduction of commercial television, a gradual move away form these rather staid principles was afoot. The launch of ITV gave television a new focus. Much like in the U.S, ratings were now the holy grail for television broadcasting. Popular shows from radio moved to television, and with echos of Music Hall stars moving from the stage to the silver screen, radio stars made a similar journey into people’s living rooms through their televisions.
One such star was Kenneth Williams, who had been cleverly flouting the regulations around what could and could not be said throughout his tenure on the popular radio series Round The Horn. This is relevant to television as it could be cited as the broadcasting origins of Father Ted’s ‘Fek’ and Red Dwarf’s ‘Smeg’. According to the BBC documentary, Rude Britannia (2010), Round The Horn used the underground gay slang, known as Polari, to litter its programmes with jokes that, in all probability, went straight over many of the listener’s heads. Andy Medhurst (2010) gives this example:

There’s a sketch where Julian and Sandy [the gay couple featured in the series] are talking about how talented they are playing different musical instruments, and one of them describes the other as being a ‘miracle of dexterity on the cottage upright,’ which, of course, is a type of piano to most people listening ... but to gay men listening at the time, and to their clued up friends, ‘cottage upright’ means an erect penis in a public toilet where men met each other to have sex. ... It’s unthinkable, that had people got the full extent of the joke, it could have been broadcast.

Given that homosexuality was illegal at the time the need to disguise the true nature of this type of humour was a matter of maintaining one’s liberty, but it nevertheless shows a tradition of masking lewd language for the purposes of comedy and necessity. A tradition that was passed down from Music Hall to radio, and radio to television.
It is arguably true that as society has changed, television has changed with it. With more choice available moralists will argue that standards inevitably slip. The Daily Mail (Revoir 2013) published a recent online article in which it lambasts Caroline Thomson, a BBC executive, with the headline: ‘BBC chief who says swearing in comedies is good.’ The article positions itself firmly against the remarks of Caroline Thomson by stating:

Many of the popular and award winning shows in the golden age of TV - including Porridge, the Good Life and Dad’s Army - never featured such bad language.

The article backs this up by citing results of an Ipsos Mori poll in which 25% of people ‘said that they had been offended by bad language on TV in the past year.’ This means that 75% of people were not. The BBC executive also makes the interesting point that there ‘was an “enormous inter-generational difference about what is acceptable” [going on to say], “It is very tricky because language that will give you offence, won’t give me offence. And language which gives me serious offence won’t give my son offence.”’ As The Daily Mail has positioned itself as the moral arbiter of the chattering classes it is perhaps unsurprising that they should take a perfectly sensible series of well rounded opinions from a broadcasting executive and turn it into a predictably alarmist invective.
In order to protect younger viewers from programmes that may contain language that could offend, a watershed exists in most countries that broadcast television. But legislating taste, as illustrated by Caroline Thomson, is virtually impossible. As the scheduling of television is now being marginalised by the ability to watch shows on a myriad of devices at any time of day, the watershed will have to be replaced by a modern equivalent fully equipped to deny people of an impressionable age access to content designed for adults. Littlewood & Pickering (1998 p.294-295) aptly illustrate some of the problems encountered by artists around the issue of the watershed by citing Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s reaction to the BBC’s restriction of Johnny Speight to twenty ‘bloodies’ per episode:

Moore: So what’s wrong with that? So I’ve got thirty bums in the script.

Cook: Thirty-one.

Moore: Thirty-one, give or take a bum. The bums are all there for a dramatic cumulative effect. You’re not going to tell me that bums don’t exist.

Cook: No.

Moore: I’ve got a bum, you’ve got a bum.

Cook: We’ve all got a bum, Johnny. I would not pretend that bums don’t exist. But what I do ask you, Johnny, and I ask you this very seriously, does an ordinary English family sitting at home early in the evening want to have a barrage of thirty-one bums thrown in their faces in the privacy of their own living room? I think not, I think not. I don’t think we’re ready yet to break through the bum barrier.

Moore: Don’t give me that. Only two years ago Kenneth Tynan said f-f-f- ...

Cook: I don’t care what Kenneth Tynan said. This was a live, unscripted programme over which we had no control and I must tell you, Johnny, that it is very seldom that we allow a bum to slip out before 11 o’clock in the evening.

Moore: What miracle happens at 11 o’clock in the evening that takes the sting out of a bum?

It is evident from this sketch that there has always been an uneasy adherence to the rules and regulations around swearing placed on the producers of television. Any arguments over what audiences may feel about the issue are neatly summed by Dan Bucatinsky (2012), in a documentary entitled Family Guys? What Sitcoms Say About America Now:

Hollywood gets a lot of criticism for being overly liberal and pushing an agenda. But America’s watching. The ratings show that. If they did not like the message they would not watch, and if they did not watch we would be shut down.

And people are watching the shows that utilise a greater degree of swearing. The Sopranos, which in it’s first season used the word ‘fuck’ 437 times (IMBD), became a huge success for subscription channel HBO. According to Delany (2009):

At its peak the show attracted 18 million viewers and was syndicated to channels across the world. It won numerous Emmy and Golden Globe awards and was declared by many critics as the greatest drama series of all time.

In the UK, the multi-award winning The Thick Of It is arguably the most profane British sitcom of all time. (IMBD) ‘Employing writer Ian Martin as a “swearing consultant”’ The Thick Of It pushed the boundaries of taste by creating a parody of the first modern day spin doctor of British politics, Alastair Campbell. The character of Malcolm Tucker was given lines, such as: (Dee 2009) ‘Come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off’, ‘[h]e’s about as much use as a marzipan dildo’ and ‘[p]lease could you take this note, ram it up his hairy inbox and pin it to his fucking prostate’, yet the show made a successful transition from its original home on BBC4 to a 9:30 time slot on BBC2. So what is it about the swearing contained in certain modern day television shows that is so appealing to critics and audiences alike? It is arguably coarser, definitely greater in use and certainly more daring than before.

Comedy ... is all in the timing. Jack Benny, considered by many comedians to be the master of timing, is quoted as saying (Ajaye 2002) ‘If I take the time to wait to tell them, those silences are as strong as words.’ The timing of a well placed swear word, or phrase, can be devastatingly funny. In an episode of The Sopranos, entitled ‘Do Not Resuscitate’, Tony’s elderly uncle, Carrado “Junior” Soprano, falls whilst shaving in the shower. The show itself is not a comedy but is littered with so many darkly comic moments that the humour, as well as the drama, contributed hugely to its success and popularity. The scene in question depicts Junior in the shower, singing as he shaves under the water. He drops his razor and slips as he bends down to pick it up. There is then a beat as the camera lingers on a close up of his contorted face before he utters the expletive phrase - ‘your sisters cunt’. This is an interesting choice of words. An elderly man in pain from a fall in the shower would not normally be expected to say something quite so profane. Even given the fact that this is an elderly gangster given to inventive linguistics, the phrase itself is particularly aggressive. But it is the beat before hand, the anticipation of what he will say, that lends the phrase even more weight: as if the character has considered all his options and landed on this phrase as an apt expression of his pain. The phrase encapsulates everything The Sopranos is about. It’s dirty, bombastic and darkly funny. It works, not only because of the timing, but the context and delivery give it the required sense of realism that, ultimately, comedy would fail without.
In a more prolonged scene, almost choreographed by swearing, two police officers investigate the site of a murder scene, attempting to establish how the shooting of a young woman took place. The Wire is renowned for its realism in depicting the ongoing ‘war on drugs’ being played out on the streets of Baltimore and, as such, the dialogue is littered with swear words. This particular scene is contained in an episode called ‘Old Cases’, and has officers Jimmy McNulty and Bunk Moreland communicating using a linguistic shorthand derived from the word ‘fuck’. They enter a small apartment and begin meticulously examining the scene, using original photos of the body’s location and a bullet hole in the window. The original assumption was that the fatal shot was fired from inside the apartment but the two officers discover, after taking some rudimentary measurements of the crime scene and closer examination of the photographs, that the bullet in fact entered the apartment from outside. This scene plays with our nuanced use of the word ‘fuck’, and its derivatives, in a clever display of linguistic minimalism. Lasting approximately five minutes, a mixture of intonation and gesture enable the two characters to effectively communicate their findings using only the words ‘fuck’, ‘mother fucker’, ‘fucker’, and the American term ‘fucking A’. The Wire, similarly to The Sopranos, is infused with a darkly comic counterbalance to the social commentary that makes up much of its overriding narrative, and this scene is indicative of its playful linguistic humour. Again, realism and timing play key roles in the successful delivery of this scene. We may never know to what extent improvisation played in putting the scene together but one programme that relies entirely on improvisation is Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Larry David’s obsession with saying the unsayable and playing with political correctness is never far from the surface of any episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. One memorable episode has him offer to write the obituary for his wife’s aunt, only for a typo to render the printed copy reading ‘beloved cunt’. These shows are even more interesting to analyse for the fact that they are completely unscripted. The basic outline of the show is configured, and any key compositions that need to be established within a scene, but aside from that, actors (very often comedian friends of Larry David) are free to say anything they fancy. This is nowhere more evident than the season three finale, entitled ‘Grand Opening’. The whole season has been building up to the opening of a restaurant Larry and a number of friends, and associates, have invested in. Beset with problems from the start they approach the opening night without a chef. They find one at the last moment but discover, when it is too late to replace him, that he suffers from Tourette’s syndrome. This is only a problem as the restaurant has an open kitchen and the chef is on display as he works. Earlier in the episode Larry is moved by a group of students who have shaved their heads in a show of solidarity for a fellow student who is going through chemotherapy. Larry remarks to his friend, and manager, Jeff, that he wonders if there will ever come a time when he himself will be able to help a fellow human being out in the same way. In addition, his wife, Cheryl, has missed an engagement with Jeff’s wife, Susie, as she got stuck in a carwash. The culmination of these incidents sees the entire restaurant, mostly made up of friends and family, taking it in turns to bellow indiscriminate swear words, and phrases, in a very funny scene that highlights the joy that can be found in breaking taboos. The restaurant is packed and all seems to be going swimmingly. Everyone is present, apart from Susie. Over the din of the packed restaurant the chef suffers a sudden outburst:

Chef: Fuck-haired, shit-faced, cocksucker, arsehole son-of-a-bitch!

The entire restaurant goes silent and turns to stare at the chef in disbelief. The chef seems nonplussed and continues in his work. Larry has a flashback to the students and his own thoughts of doing something similar to help someone suffering from a disease. Impulsively he decides to swear at the top of his voice, believing it to be a noble gesture to the plight of his chef.

Larry: Scum sucking mother-fucking whore!

Jeff, who also has a stake in the restaurant, decides to join in out of panic.

Jeff: Cock. Cock. Gism, grandma cock!

Michael York (another investor) then joins in.

Michael York: Bum. Fuck turd fart. Cunt piss shit bugger and balls!

Restaurant Mgr’: Damn it, hell, crap. Shit!

Cheryl: You goddam mother fucking bitch!

Susie walks in as Cheryl says this line.

Susie: (Directing her line at Cheryl) Fuck you, you carwash cunt!

Cheryl’s Dad: Felatio, cunny lingus, French kissing .... Rimjob!

Now the whole restaurant begins laughing as Richard Lewis shouts some obscenities, Larry’s father shouts some obscenities and various other people take a turn until the air is filled with riotous laughter and the show comes to an end.

This episode is particularly interesting for its parallels to the infamous ‘Aristocrat Joke’ that makes up the thesis of the 1995 film The Aristocrats. Shelley Berman, who plays Larry David’s father, is in both the film and the ‘Grand Opening’. Also present in both the film and episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm are Sarah Silverman, Susie Essman (Jeff’s wife) Richard Lewis, Paul Reiser and many more. The ‘Aristocrat Joke’ is a vaudevillian set piece in which comedians have license to descend into depravity. The joke itself is described by IMBD in its summary of the film The Aristocrats as

‘a joke only told by comedians to other comedians. The outline of the joke is that a man goes into an agent’s office and says he has a family act. He then either acts out or describes the most obscene acts possible. The stunned agent says, “And what do you call yourselves?” and the man answers, “The Aristocrats.”’

This scene, within Curb Your Enthusiasm, is clearly hinting at the idea behind the ‘Aristocrat Joke’, and Larry David’s fondness for breaking taboos and toying with political correctness are also both very much evident in the make-up of this particular niche in the history of American comedy. Breaking taboos and the element of shock are parts of the psychology of humour. We laugh at the forbidden in order to release the tension found in confronting a previously hidden taboo. Realism may be lacking from much of the elaborately constructed set-pieces of Curb Your Enthusiasm but timing and delivery are definitely present, often illuminated by the fact that they are entirely improvised. Another show that relied, in part on improvisation, or at the least, a certain amount of leeway with the script, is BBC’s The Thick Of It.
As highlighted earlier, the swearing featured in The Thick Of It, is largely thought up by one man, ‘swearing consultant’, Ian Martin. But that is not to say that lines were not altered on the day of filming. Realism, delivery, context and timing all make up how The Thick Of It was able to weave such masterful use of swearing into mainstream television. It was widely reported that Alastair Campbell was an irate bully who considered himself the prime minister’s enforcer. This political setting builds the context perfectly and the timing works on two levels. Not only from a performance point of view, shooting the series with jerky handheld cameras giving it a fly on the wall documentary feel (lending the piece a voyeuristic intimacy - the viewer is quite often positioned to be peeking through a doorway), but also, in a wider sense, politics was ripe, at that time, for the kind of microscopic satire that the The Thick Of It offered. Not since Yes Minister, and latterly Yes Prime Minister, had there been a comedy with the kind of intricate knowledge needed to successfully satirise the inner workings of Westminster, and the over-the-top swearing was integral to, not only the show’s success, but also its fierce satirisation. This kind of extreme profanity, as used in The Thick Of It and Curb Your Enthusiasm, is the exception rather than the rule. As stated earlier, in the Round The Horn example, there is often much humour to be found in disguising lewd language and this can be done in a number of ways.
In an episode of Arrested Development, an American sitcom based on a family whose situation is thrown into chaos after the imprisonment of the patriarch for financial impropriety, there are several instances of swearing being ‘bleeped’ out. This is of interest because it hands responsibility for the level of profanity to the viewer. One such scene from the show has Buster, a childlike mummy’s boy within the set-up of the family, in conversation with the rest of his siblings while they are talking about their mother in less than flattering terms. Teasing Buster a little, they goad him into joining in, however, when he does so, much to their surprise, he omits an outburst of such bad language that much of the speech is bleeped out. The humour within this scene is derived, initially, from the fact that Buster’s outburst is completely out of character. However, as he finishes his tirade the camera offers the viewer reaction shots of his siblings who all look completely stunned which accentuates the presumed coarseness of Buster’s language. The bleeping out effect, in this instance, adds to the comic affect of the dialogue. The lack of tangible profanity invites the viewer to fill in the gaps. We see, here, that profanity can be just as funny when it is suggested as when it is openly conveyed. The psychology of this is akin to the idea that it is considered just as erotic (if not more so) to see a scantily clad erotic dancer hinting at what lies beneath, as opposed to a naked erotic dancer flaunting her wares, thus denying the imagination any work at stimulating the libido. And as stated by Morreal (2005 p.69), ‘humorous messages are aimed more at the imagination than at speculative reason or practical reason.’ Similar instances of masking swear words occur in two contemporary British sitcoms: Father Ted and Red Dwarf. Rather than bleeping out offensive language, the writers here offer alternative words in place of traditional swear words. In the case of Red Dwarf it is stated by Jackson (1991 p.62) that

the writers ... needed to find a word they could use in place of the ubiquitous ‘bloody’ or ‘fuck’ (pick your own strength according to taste) of common workplace language, for use in the endless argument and banter of the two lead characters in the scripts. They eventually came up with ‘smeg’, a word which they have now moved form being a highly recondite noun used to describe a specific and little discussed bodily excretion to being a fairly current all purpose ‘swear’ word. The word works for several reasons; it sounds right - it has got that satisfying hard g at the end; it readily adapts to all parts of speech, thus ‘smeghead, ‘smeg off’, smegging hell’, ‘what the smeg’, or, as the T-shirt has it, ‘Better Smeg Than Dead’.

It could also be argued that the futuristic setting of Red Dwarf afforded the writers the opportunity to explore the development of English language by inventing a new swear word: thus reversing the practice of etymology. When laughing at the use of a swear word it is arguably, as stated earlier, a reaction to hearing something generally forbidden. By eliminating the forbidden word and replacing it with a non-threatening innocuous word, the humour is generated to a greater degree, again, by the imagination. Bearing a close resemblance to the word ‘smegma’ it is a fair assumption that this is the hypothetical etymological basis of the word ‘smeg’. With ‘Smegma’ being the ‘thick white secretion that accumulates underneath the foreskin of the penis’, (Chambers - 2007), it is understandable how the made up word ‘smeg’ could titillate the imagination as successfully as it does within the programme.
The writers of Father Ted got round the censors by deploying the word ‘Fek’ instead of ‘fuck’. Being set in rural Ireland this is essentially a clever use of phonetics when applied to regional accents. Fuck, as pronounced by a thick Irish accent sounds like ‘Fek’. This linguistic wordplay relies less on the imagination to derive its humour than the previous two examples, but does, however, derive humour from the fact that it is assumed that the word being spoken is ‘fuck’, and thus, forbidden, or taboo. There is a slight softening of the word in the changing of one letter and this softening allows the word to be used throughout the series by a bad tempered elderly priest. The fact that the show is concerned with Catholic priests adds some weight to the forbidden properties of the etymological base word - ‘fuck’. Nevertheless this is yet another example of the comic properties of masked swearing. As noted by Harre (1991 p.90):

It is not surprising ... to find that dramatists and others concerned to portray everyday life often feel the need to put blasphemous expressions in the mouths of their characters. If ... the dramatist ... [is] unable for some reason to employ that everyday vocabulary for reasons of conventions of public taste, [he/she] will be obliged to find functionally similar expressions.

In the examples above from Father Ted and Red Dwarf the writers fulfil Harre’s edict to find ‘functionally similar expressions’ by utilising words that are first and foremost funny and secondly, clearly allude to forbidden words allowing the imagination to add to the connotations of what is actually heard on screen.
It is perhaps testament to the fact that attitudes to swearing have changed that audiences are willing to laugh at an elderly Catholic priest screaming the word ‘Fek” (or fuck) at all. Jackson (1991 p.60) makes the point that ‘[c]omedy has traditionally been a safety valve of society. It has, as part of its function ... consistently broken the rules, mocked its betters, and said the unsayable, both literally and philosophically.’ Part of this rule breaking, mockery and boundary pushing has been the use of increasingly taboo swear words. Littlewood and Pickering (1998) suggest that:

Joking as a form of human interaction plays disrespectfully on our sense of what is socially respectable or ethically correct. Some would argue that all instances of the comic are founded on the transgression of decorum, propriety, and gravity in human affairs, that this transgression is its very raison d’etre.

This gets to the heart of what makes swearing within television programmes funny. It is escapism from the strictures of everyday life. Be it swearing priests, a restaurant full of people shouting obscenities at each other, or the darkly comic use of language in an otherwise bleaker narrative. Viewing figures would suggest that the makers of these programmes have tapped into a previously neglected need of the audience. Neglected because of historically restrictive regulations on what could, and could not, be said. However, our complex relationship with the ever malleable boundaries of acceptability lends certain caveats to the use of swearing on television. Pickering and Lockyear (2005 p.9) make the point that:

What is funny at one time is not funny at another. Humour is a volatile substance. It can explode in a bright sensational light or simply fizzle out with only the slightest wisp of smoke. This is what makes it such a fascinating phenomenon.

This alludes to the nature of comedy as being an ethereal essence bound by laws of ever changing acceptability that is difficult, if not impossible, to adequately breakdown. Certainly, any comic performance has, at its heart, the unknown quality that gives a successful performer an edge over less successful performers. For a television performance to work it must firstly be well written and secondly well delivered. One without the other would jeopardise the comic potential of any performance. And, it could be argued, both, writer and performer, must possess certain qualities to be able to deliver effective comedy. This is heightened when that comedy is, in part, reliant on Littlewood and Pickering’s ‘transgression of decorum, propriety and gravity in human affairs’. So, if we are to assume that, in all the shows mentioned above, the writers possessed a flair for their profession and the performers were able to match that flair respectively, could we then attempt to find a formula for comedy, or the essence of what makes the comic use of swearing funny? Alas, no such formula exists. If it did, every comedy ever made would be a success, and every comic utterance funny. There is simply no way of knowing what will be accepted by television audiences. Returning to Littlewood and Pickering (1998 p.293), who suggest that

the problem with most theories of humour and comedy is that they claim an excessive applicability for themselves. They strive to embrace far too much. Humour is a multiform and dynamic human phenomenon, and has no universally essential feature. Attempts to establish an all-embracing abstract body of explication for every manifestation, every form and function of humour are likely to fall short of the target.

It has been the thesis of this essay to investigate one aspect of humour within television performances. To apply an ‘all-embracing’ formula to the findings of that investigation would be to do the examples looked at a disservice. To capture the comic essence of the scenes analysed here, and the part that swearing has played in that, they have been deconstructed and looked at in some detail, but a more detailed analysis of the conventions of humour itself would require more detailed research and analysis than is proffered by the thesis of this essay. Indeed, the question of what makes something funny has puzzled philosophers since the dawn the time.

In conclusion this essay has attempted to look at recent trends in the comedic use of swearing within television performance. Some will find this trend funny, others will be offended, more still may be unmoved by it. As with any element of art, its reception is subjective. The history of swearing, and attitudes toward it, are also ever changing and largely dictated by the social situation in which it is used. However, good writers, and good performers, will continue to utilise this sometimes provocative area of language for comic affect. It has been argued here that this is because audiences seek escapism from the shackles of everyday societal restrictions governing their own use of language. Swearing, used correctly, offers a comedic punctuation in a sentence, the breaking of a taboo, or simply the juxtaposition of a poeticism of words which are usually consigned to that of the offensive. Peter Jackson (1991 p.60) makes the point that:

It is of course true to say that the careful and unexpected placing of any word, whether rude or polite, within the right context can very successfully generate laughter. The trouble is swear words in and of themselves are just no longer unexpected enough.

If swearing is ‘no longer unexpected enough’, its use in creating humour will have to become ever more inventive for it to have any impact at all. The boundaries of comedic swearing have been broken down by shows such as The Thick Of It and Curb Your Enthusiasm which both revel in a self reflexivity while attempting to illuminate the absurdity of being offended by words themselves. Larry David’s ‘Beloved Cunt’ episode pushed arguably the single most offensive swear word into a comedic corner using the comic convention of a typo. And The Thick Of It features a conversation in the second episode of its opening series that foreshadowed its potential to swear with comedic abandon and laid down the gauntlet for anyone in doubt as to the maker’s intentions to play with lewd discourse: discussing a disparaging article about Hugh Abbot, the minister who is the focus of series one, his team leap to his defence.

Terri: Right. We don’t exchange insults with bloody Simon arse-pipes titty-twat.

Olly: Is that honestly the best swearing that you can come up with?

Glen: This is a bucket of shit. If someone throws shit at us we throw shit back at them. We start a shit fight. We throw so much shit back at them that they can’t pick up shit, they can’t throw shit, they can’t do shit.

Hugh: That’s top swearing, Glen. Well done.

Olly: (to Terri) Watch and learn.

Swearing, to a certain degree, tickles the inner child within all of us. When written well, and delivered correctly, it is undeniably funny. With the output of television growing exponentially, and schedules becoming ever more irrelevant, audiences will soon be able to organise their viewing habits to suit their own levels of acceptability. This will undoubtedly lead to programme makers being given more linguistic freedom than has previously been the case. And with political correctness successfully eradicating the most offensive attacks on marginalised groups, we can, hopefully, look forward to many more television writers embracing the comic potential of complete linguistic freedom.
1 day ago - Via Google+ - View - PeterHolland765 : DoD Holds Trilateral Discussion on North Korean Missile Launch U.S., Japanese and South Korean defense...
DoD Holds Trilateral Discussion on North Korean Missile Launch U.S., Japanese and South Korean defense officials held a videoconference to discuss the recent North Korean missile launches, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a readout of the call.

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Hacker One is tops. So proud of the Feds to spearhead dealing with issues rather than sticking the head in the sand. Fabulous!
Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on DoD
The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today that interested participants may now register to compete in the "Hack the Pentagon" pilot. The pilot, designed to identify and resolve security
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Peter Cook explained that for the Libyan GNA to establish stability & security in Libya they need to be supported
US Pentagon Prepared to Launch Attack on ISIS in Libya - The Libyan Gazette
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Watch Live at 2 p.m. EDT: Pentagon Press Secretary to Brief Reporters Press Secretary Peter Cook is scheduled to conduct a news conference at the Pentagon. Check back to watch it live here.
Watch Live at 2 p.m. EDT: Pentagon Press Secretary to Brief Reporters
Press Secretary Peter Cook is scheduled to conduct a news conference at the Pentagon. Check back to watch it live here.
3 days ago - Via - View - AKT II : After recently being named RIBA Regional Award winners, three of those projects have now won RIBA National...
After recently being named RIBA Regional Award winners, three of those projects have now won RIBA National Awards. These exceptional buildings are highly deserving of recognition.

The winners are:
• Middle East Centre (Investcorp Building), a Zaha Hadid-designed link building providing modern academic space at St. Antony’s College, Oxford.

• Drawing Studio, Arts University Bournemouth, a steel monocoque shell structure, brightly illuminated by five window openings, designed by Sir Peter Cook of Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau (CRAB).

• The Turnmill, a London office building featuring a single-skin, cut-brick façade, designed with Piercy & Company.

These projects are now entered into the shortlist for the prestigious Stirling Prize to be announced next month.
4 days ago - Via Google+ - View - Military Benefit Association : +Department of Defense spokesman Peter Cook has repeatedly balked at questions about reports that four...
+Department of Defense spokesman Peter Cook has repeatedly balked at questions about reports that four American troops were injured AGAINST ISIS in #Syria on June 9....

#Pentagon Reverses Decision, Refuses to Say Whether #US #Troops Have Been Hurt Fighting #ISIS : (VIA +Military Times)

"The Pentagon is refusing to disclose when U.S. troops are wounded by #IslamicState forces in Syria, suggesting that doing so could “provide information to the enemy that might be helpful. It’s an apparent reversal from only three weeks prior, when military officials publicized that two Americans had be injured as a result of by #IS activity — one in Syria, the other in #Iraq ." #news   #militarynews   #middleeast   #waronterror   #terrorism   #America  
Now the Pentagon refuses to say whether U.S. troops have been hurt fighting ISIS
Apparent policy reversal may reflect the prominent role special operations troops are playing in the ISIS fight.
5 days ago - Via Google+ - View - eNebriated : That's awesome @comicbookmovieneews follo him and watch him grow ! From the man who based the Cinematic...
That's awesome @comicbookmovieneews follo him and watch him grow ! From the man who based the Cinematic Tony Stark was based on... Follow @eNebriated for more awesome #geektent all day everyday. ・・・ [OFF TOPIC NEWS] Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, met with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter Wednesday as the Pentagon looks to raise its technology game. Neither Carter nor Musk spoke to reporters after their meeting, but Defense Department spokesman Peter Cook said Monday that Carter "has been reaching out to a number of members of the technology community to get their ideas, their feedback, find out what's going on in the world of innovation." Musk tweeted Thursday about the visit and included a reference to the Marvel Comics' Iron Man character. He is thought to have partly inspired that character in the 2008 "Iron Man" film. - #Comic#heroes#vilian#comicnews#comicbook#comicseries#marvel#dc#batman#spiderman#superman#xmen#joker#theflash#deadpool#hulk#captainamerica#blackpanther#ironman#greenlantern#arrow#daredevil#movies#aquaman#shield#Blackpanther#Thanos#infinitywar#civilwar
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Quick Take: What Did Teachers Gain In Morris Jeff’s Contract? Not much. #NOLAed #LaEd #edreform

On Tuesday, teachers at Morris Jeff Community School approved a contract between the board and the United Teachers of New Orleans (UTNO). Union members and representatives of the school’s board of directors had been negotiating a contract for over a year.…
Quick Take: What Did Teachers Gain In Morris Jeff’s Contract?
On Tuesday, teachers at Morris Jeff Community School approved a contract between the board and the United Teachers of New Orleans (UTNO). Union members and representatives of the school’s board of directors had been negotiating a contract for over a year. On Monday, board members had unanimously b…
5 days ago - Via - View - The Academy of Rock - where business meets music : Books that inspire and educate
Books that inspire and educate
: Peter Cook: Books, Biogs, Audiobooks, Discussions
Online shopping from a great selection at Books Store.

U.S. Sets "DEFCON 3" -- US to move forward with plans to attack Syrian President Assad and his forces; Russia Says it will "engage and destroy" anyone who tries!

At 9:43 PM Eastern US last night (Sunday, June 19) the Armed Forces of the United States were reportedly ordered to set condition "DEFCON 3." This is an extraordinary development and signals serious trouble, LIKELY requiring an expedited military response.

The defense readiness condition (DEFCON) is an alert state used by the United States Armed Forces.

The DEFCON system was developed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and unified and specified combatant commands. It prescribes five graduated levels of readiness (or states of alert) for the U.S. military. It increases in severity from DEFCON 5 (least severe) to DEFCON 1 (most severe) to match varying military situations.

To understand the severity of DefCon 3, it would help to realize that on September 10, 2001, the US Military was at DefCon 5. When the attacks of September 11 took place, the US Military was upgraded only to DefCon 4.

For the US to have implemented DefCon 3 at 9:43 PM EDT on a Sunday night, means something very big is taking place.

At 10:14 PM EDT on June 19 "Unusual strategic activity" was observed in Russia.

At 10: 25 PM EDT on June 19, "We do not know what Russia is reacting to; nothing observable in any operations theater."

At 11:01 PM EDT on June 19 "Unusual United States strategic activity now being observed. Source reports to SuperStation95 "I have no context for any of this. I do not know why this is taking place."

At 11:32 PM EDT on June 19 "Multiple sources verifying information. Still looking for more - information is still sketchy."

At 12:38 AM EDT this morning, June 20, "Multiple, solidly reliable confirmations of DEFCON-3"

At 1:35 AM EDT this morning, June 20, "RC135V has just left from Mildenhall (UK) to do a flyover of large armored and infantry movements along the western border of RUSSIA! We are getting word of movement from ALL 4 MILTARY DISTRICTS! Also seeing a pattern of almost all Russian military Satellites changing position

At 1:42 AM EDT - Very long coded message over US "SkyKing" network 8992 KHz

At 1:50 AM EDT - OSINT and other sources indicate that the US military has gone into full nuclear readiness mode.

Military channels are transmitting unusual encrypted messages at 11175 Khz.
Sources indicate that multiple armed US bombers are in the air. Some bases no longer have any grounded aircraft.
Fighters are also in the air.
Local civilians are making report of increased activity at US military bases across the country.
US response appears to be a reflection of Russian activities, based on available information.
Buzzer at 4625 KHz is no longer active.

At 2:05 AM EDT June 20, "It's official, there is some type of Crisis. Numerous, extremely high level officials arriving at Pentagon."

At 2:23 AM EDT June 20, B52 activity overheard via ATC feed. Nothing further other than they are active from ANDERSEN AFB, Guam

At 2:45 AM EDT June 20, NATO Military activity taking place in the Baltics

At 3:00 AM EDT June 20, - "NATO Movements underway. Still no info about the actual nature of the "Crisis."

At 4:23 AM EDT June 20, - We are beginning to receive information from our European sources that several fighter launches have taken place in Europe. Unknown if related to the current situation or for a drill.

U.S. and Russian forces are in the air, likely moving to control points. We have no reports of any engagements. Domestic assets are moving into defensive positions.


American and Russian fighter jets had a tense showdown in the skies above Syria as the Russians dropped bombs on U.S.-backed rebels.

U.S. and Russian fighter jets bloodlessly tangled in the air over Syria on June 16 as the American pilots tried and failed to stop the Russians from bombing U.S.-backed rebels in southern Syria near the border with Jordan.

The aerial close encounter underscores just how chaotic Syria’s skies have become as Russia and the U.S.-led coalition work at cross-purposes, each dropping bombs in support of separate factions in the five-year-old civil war.

The near-clash also highlights the escalating risk of American and Russian forces actually coming to blows over Syria, potentially sparking a much wider conflict between the world’s leading nuclear powers.

The incident began when at least two twin-engine Su-34 bombers, some of Moscow’s most advanced warplanes, struck what the Pentagon described as a “border garrison” housing around 200 U.S.-supported rebels in At Tanf on the Syrian side of the Syria-Jordan border.

The rebels had been “conducting counter-ISIL operations in the area,” the Pentagon stated on June 18, using an alternative acronym for ISIS.

The United States and its allies in Syria clearly did not expect the air strike. The rebels in At Tanf are party to a shaky ceasefire agreement between rebel forces and the regime of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad—and, by extension, the Russian military contingent backing Al Assad. The Los Angeles Times reported that Russian planes had not previously been active over At Tanf.

The Su-34s’ initial strike wounded, and perhaps killed, some of the rebels in At Tanf.

The U.S. Navy scrambled F/A-18 fighters to intercept the Russians, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Navy has deployed two aircraft carriers to the region for strikes on ISIS. As the F/A-18s approached the Su-34s, officials with U.S. Central Command—which oversees America’s wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan—used a special hotline to contact their Russian counterparts directing Russia’s own intervention in Syria.

Arriving over At Tanf, the American pilots apparently spoke directly to the Russian aviators. “Pilots CAN communicate with one another on a communications channel set up to avoid air accidents,” Central Command confirmed in a statement to The Daily Beast.

Washington and Moscow had established the hotline as part of a so-called “Safety of Flight Memorandum of Understanding” that the two governments signed in October specifically in order to avoid the kind of aerial confrontation that occurred over Syria last week.

With the American jets flying close enough to visually identify the Su-34s, the Russians departed the air space over At Tanf. Some time shortly thereafter, the F/A-18s ran low on fuel and left the area in order to link up with an aerial tanker. That’s when the Su-34s reportedly returned to At Tanf —and bombed the rebels again.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the second strike killed first-responders assisting survivors of the first bombing run.

The next day, senior U.S. Defense Department officials organized an “extraordinary” video conference with Russian counterparts to discuss the incident. The meeting included Acting Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs Elissa Slotkin and U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, a strategic planner on the Pentagon’s joint staff, plus unspecified Russian Ministry of Defense officials.

“Department officials expressed strong concerns about the attack on the coalition-supported counter-ISIL forces at the At Tanf garrison, which included forces that are participants in the cessation of hostilities in Syria, and emphasized that those concerns would be addressed through ongoing diplomatic discussions on the cessation of hostilities,” Defense Department spokesman Peter Cook explained in a statement.

"Regarding safety, department officials conveyed that Russia’s continued strikes at At Tanf, even after U.S. attempts to inform Russian forces through proper channels of on-going coalition air support to the counter-ISIL forces, created safety concerns for U.S. and coalition forces,” Cook continued. “Department officials requested Russian responses to address those concerns.”

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov confirmed, via the country’s state-owned media, that the teleconference took place—but he did not specify the results of the “extraordinary” meeting.

Russian warplanes had previously shadowed planes belonging to the U.S.-led coalition over Syria, but the coalition always described the Russians’ behavior as “professional.” By contrast, in April Russian Su-24 bombers repeatedly buzzed the U.S. Navy warship USS Donald Cook while the vessel sailed in international waters in the Black Sea. A Pentagon spokesman called the Russians’ actions in that incident “provocative and unprofessional.”

The Kremlin should be keenly aware of the potential for unwanted—and potentially destabilizing—bloodshed that exists in the air over Syria. In November, a Russian Su-24 bomber flying a mission over Syria strayed over the Syria-Turkey border into Turkey—and a Turkish F-16 fighter promptly shot it down.

The two Russian crew members ejected. One flier died when Syrian rebels on the ground opened fire on his parachute. Russian, Syrian and Iranian forces launched a complex rescue mission that ultimately retrieved the surviving pilot. One Russian marine died and a helicopter was destroyed during that operation.

The fallout from the November incident continues, with Russia and Turkey exchanging threats—and Moscow imposing economic sanctions on Ankarra including limits on some food imports to Russia from Turkey.

It’s not clear how close the U.S. fighters came to attacking and potentially shooting down the Su-34s over At Tanf. Central Command declined to say what the rules of engagement are for American pilots flying over Syria. “ROE are actually specifics that we don’t get into,” Central Command said in a statement.

The last time a U.S. military warplane shot down a Russian—actually, Soviet—plane was in 1953, over Korea or China, depending on which historians you believe. The last time a Russian or Soviet warplane shot down an American aircraft was in 1970, when a U.S. Army plane strayed over Armenia.

Currently NATO has an abnormal amount of fighters and C-130s up over Europe.

As of 6:28 AM EDT June 20, Confirmation that there are heavy troop and equipment movements in Europe and in Russia. It seems to be a show of force. The military are not saying anything, but the rumor mill believes that there has been a strike by Russia on American Rebels in Syria overnight, which has led to a war of words.
6 days ago - Via Google+ - View - Stephen Derry : Washington DC Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook with the update's on the Theater of Action agents ...
Washington DC Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook with the update's on the Theater of Action agents ISIL.
Department of Defense Press Briefing by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter
PETER COOK: Good afternoon, everybody. Can I toss this to you? Thanks. I want to begin today with an operational update in the fight against ISIL before I give you an update on the
6 days ago - Via Google+ - View - Rick Clark : Top general's candor: No strategy against ISIS in Libya Obama's nominee to command forces in Africa...
Top general's candor: No strategy against ISIS in Libya

Obama's nominee to command forces in Africa testified

Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said more troops are needed to fight ISIS.

In remarkably blunt testimony, President Barack #Obama's nominee to command U.S. forces in Africa said Tuesday that more ground troops were needed in Libya to fight ISIS and agreed the current strategy of not bombing the terror group's affiliate there "makes no sense."

When asked by the committee's chairman, Sen. John McCain, an Arizona #Republican, whether the U.S. had a strategy for Libya, Marine Lt. Gen. #ThomasWaldhauser said he didn't know about one.

"I am not aware of any overall grand strategy at this point," Waldhauser said at his confirmation hearing to become commander of the Africa Command.

Sen. #LindseyGraham, a South Carolina Repubilcan, asked him if it would be "wise" for him to have the authority to order strikes against ISIS without having to first seek White House approval, as is currently the case.

"It would be wise, it would certainly contribute to what we're trying to do inside Libya," Waldhauser responded.

Waldhauser agreed with Graham that ISIS represented "an imminent threat to the United States" but he noted that the U.S. was not conducting air strikes against the terror group's Libyan branch.

"That makes no sense then, does it?" Graham asked.

"It does not," the general answered.

Waldhauser also told the committee that the U.S. did not have a large number of troops on the ground in Libya, and said more were needed.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Graham acknowledged Waldhauser's candor.

"I can't thank you -- I'm just, that's about as direct testimony as I've ever heard from this committee," Graham said.

#McCain also welcomed his frankness, "General Waldhauser, I want to thank you for your candor before the committee, we look forward to working with you. I think that Sen. Graham's questions clearly indicated that, at least as far as ISIS is concerned, that Africa is their next target of opportunity, and I think you are going to need a lot of help."

Concerning strikes on Libya, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told CNN's Barbara Starr at a news conference Tuesday, "We don't make a decision to carry out a military strike lightly."

"We've been willing to take strikes in the past in Libya targeting #ISIL leadership," Cook said, using another acronym for ISIS. "We are prepared to do so again in the future. But this is a situation where the government is still taking shape. It is showing progress. Military forces aligned with the government are showing progress as well, particularly in the fight against ISIL in Sirte."

Asked about Waldhauser's comment that there's no overall strategy, Cook said, "It's clear, as I think Gen. Waldhauser acknowledged, it's a complicated situation right now. And the most important thing in terms of our policy, and we believe for the region's policy, is for that government to take shape, take hold. And we'd like to, of course be in a position to strengthen it as needed, going forward, along with our partners in the region."

The #Pentagon has previously acknowledged small teams of Special Operations Forces on the ground in Libya to establish relationships with local forces battling ISIS.

The U.S. has conducted several #airstrikes against ISIS in Libya, including one in February that killed over 40 ISIS operatives, but the U.S. has held off on additional strikes for several months. At the end of March, the recently formed UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord took up residence in Libya's capital, #Tripoli.

Militias based out of Misrata and allied to the new government have had some recent success driving ISIS out of territory around its Libyan base in the coastal city of #Sirte.

The Director of the #CIA, John #Brennan, told Congress last week that #ISIS had about 5,000-8,000 fighters inside #Libya.
Top general's candor: No strategy against ISIS in Libya
In remarkably blunt testimony, President Barack Obama's nominee to command U.S. forces in Africa said Tuesday that more ground troops were needed in Libya to fight ISIS and agreed the current strategy of not bombing the terror group's affiliate there "makes no sense."
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