Much has been written lately about post-watershed swearing on television. It is mostly nonsense, because David Jones's preface to his sui generis masterpiece, In Parenthesis, has already made the unanswerable case:
I have been hampered by the convention of not using impious and impolite words, because the whole shape of our discourse was conditioned by the use of such words. The very repetition of them made them seem liturgical, certainly deprived them of malice, and occasionally, when skilfully disposed, and used according to established but flexible tradition, gave a kind of significance, and even at moments a dignity, to our speech. Sometimes their juxtaposition in a sentence, and when expressed under poignant circumstances, reached real poetry. Because of publication, it has been necessary to consider conventional susceptibilities.
That reference to 'conventional susceptibilities' finishes off the opposition: who would willingly sign up to such a convention? Thanks to scholars like Brophy and Partridge, we know how soldiers spoke. It is a shameful irony, though, that a nation which obliged its young men to fight and die amidst the most horrific conditions should have felt the need to protect itself from their language.