On 2002-04-19 19:09, T Campbell wrote:
And yet you didn't replace it with "darn," as the other moderator did. I believe by that inaction you were showing that there are degrees of "swearing," and that "damn" is a very mild swear word indeed. In fact, I'd say that "darn" is just plain silly, at this point, because "damn" is regarded so lightly that it doesn't need to be euphemized -- especially in a case where doing so destroys the wit in the original.
The phrase "Damn with faint praise" was written in a poem called "Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot" by Alexander Pope sometime in the 18th Century, and was printed in the 1919 edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations available online free at bartleby.com (that edition of Bartlett's does not give a publication date, but Pope was born in 1688 and died in 1744, so I think it's safe to say the poem was written in the 18th Century).
That the 1919 Bartlett's had it as a "familiar" quotation, is, I think, proof that, absent the word "God," the word "damn" by itself has not been considered inappropriate in polite society for quite some time.
The original phrase, searched in Google with quotes around it to ensure exact phrase searching only, returns over 500 hits, and "damning with faint praise" over 1800 more. I didn't visit all of them, but none of them seem to be sites dedicated to rude language or anything like that. It's just an everyday phrase people use.
Now, if you do take the Lord's name in vain, or if you tread on His perogative by damning someone to Hell, then you've pushed the word beyond polite limits and into swearing.
However, I do not see how using wit to turn the phrase around makes "praising with faint damns" inappropriate when the relatively bluenosed population of 1919 accepted Pope's original.
Grandlord of Palnu
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: lordjulius on 2002-04-20 00:22 ]</font>