Masters of Sex : Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

The dialog (and sometimes action) is so glaringly anachronisticeven when more period accuracy would be simpler.

Period television often make anachronistic errorsbut Masters seems to really work hard to include anachronisms when dialog could just as easily be period. Has this choice ever been discussed? It just seems so odd.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

I thought that I was the only one bothered by this.

The anachronisms are even worse than the ones on Mad Men!

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

I think what disturbs me the most is the use of the F-word. There was some discussion in the past about it, and apparently the word existed and was in some use - however, I'm sure it wasn't as common as today.
Still, hearing it coming out of Bill Masters' mouth is just so out of place, that it yanks me out of the shows' (hard worked-on) ambiance, right into 2015.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?


I think what disturbs me the most is the use of the F-word. There was some discussion in the past about it, and apparently the word existed and was in some use - however, I'm sure it wasn't as common as today.


LOL!!!

Of course it existed. People talked like that back then. The only reason you think that people didn't talk like that is because back in the "old days" that word wasn't used quite as much in movies, if at all.

(apparently the word existed)..that's funny!!!

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

Good lord! What year do you think they invented cursing? The F-word is so old we don't even know for sure where it came from.

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Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?


I think what disturbs me the most is the use of the F-word. There was some discussion in the past about it, and apparently the word existed and was in some use - however, I'm sure it wasn't as common as today.
Still, hearing it coming out of Bill Masters' mouth is just so out of place, that it yanks me out of the shows' (hard worked-on) ambiance, right into 2015.


I am now sixty years old. In the 1960s, while I was rather shocked the first time I heard my dad say it, my next door neighbors and their kids hardly spoke a paragraph without using the f-word, including the mom!

Yes, it was quite common back then, especially in high school and I lived in the sticks, not a city. While there were plenty of 1960s other time-period words/phrases that have gone by the wayside (like "groovy", "balling" [meant screwing], "far out" etc], the f-word was common then and probably dating back to the 50s (which was before my time).

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

That's interesting. I guess my knowledge of the way people spoke in that time comes from period movies, and you don't usually hear that in such movies (from the 50s).

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

It was forbidden by the Hayes Code along with double beds.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

The "f" word has been in existence since at least the early 1800s in the form of the derivative "fecker". The "U" didn't come into it until it crossed the Pond into the Americas. So saying that word is anachronistic is plainly silly. And what other words weren't in existence back in the 50s/60s? This show is historically accurate, particularly in the mode of speech both Libby and Ginny use.

Sometimes my ruminations are too confusing for someone not inside my head. -Anon

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

Funny, my mother is 75 and is from Dublin. She ALWAYS said feck off, feckers, ah feck, etc. Still curses like that all the time, too. It's always been feckin' funny haha.
She also used to say *beep*

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

Where do you think the word FUBAR comes from? Soldiers in WWII started it - meaning F'ed up beyond all recognition. Granted, they were men in war, but they were men - cussed, slept around, etc. There were even problems with soldiers frequenting prostitutes and rape, etc in France & Germany (I believe Eisenhower or Patten had addressed this as a huge problem in a written letter to the US Govt). Anyway - I digress

Having said all that - I would assume that men curtailed their swearing amongst mixed company especially during the courting phase. Though I could be wrong on that. I think we tend to look back to the 30s/40s/50s as innocent and chaste because movies and books were censored.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

The F-word was definitely around. The idea that it was less common is simply because it was censored in the media of the time. Ever watch Boardwalk Empire? That was set in the 1920s and they use the F-word a lot more in that then on Masters of Sex and it's no less accurate because of it.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

People did say *beep* at that time. I guess people's view of the past on IMDB is informed more by film, which did have restrictions on language.

The word *beep* was used and is not really an anachronismespecially in a show about sex researchers.

But you really would think the creative staff of Masters of Sex never read a novel of the period, nor a play of that time. Or even just gave a thought to when phrases and ideas came into common parlance.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

People did say *beep* at that time. I guess people's view of the past on IMDB is informed more by film, which did have restrictions on language.

The word *beep* was used and is not really an anachronismespecially in a show about sex researchers.

But you really would think the creative staff of Masters of Sex never read a novel of the period, nor a play of that time. Or even just gave a thought to when phrases and ideas came into common parlance.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

The F-word has been used as an expletive since the 15th century. I'm pretty sure it was widely used in the 1950s / '60s too. It merely wasn't as common in the literature, film and other media of this period from which you're getting your impression.

The idea that language used to be more sophisticated and less profane reminds me of a famous line in Goethe's Gtz von Berlichingen. In English, it is usually rendered as "he can kiss my arse", but that is much too tame. Goethe actually wrote "he may lick inside my arse" (er kann mich im Arsche lecken). Even in German, this expression has weakened from "im Arsch(e)" to "am Arsch", which no longer suggests tongue penetration.

There are also two relatively unknown canons composed by none other than Mozart, which carry utterly outrageous titles that roughly translate to "Lick into my a**" and "Lick my a** really nice and clean". I'm not kidding:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leck_mich_im_Arsch
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leck_mir_den_Arsch_fein_recht_sch%C3%B6n_sauber

Schiller was no saint either. He occasionally used the insult "Hundsfott" (dog's C-word) in his plays. If Goethe, Schiller and Mozart used this kind of profanity, just imagine the language of the average 18th century working class German. And while English literature of this and later periods appears a lot cleaner, I'm sure that's owed to publisher's censorship rather than an unusual lack of profanity in the colloquial language of the time. Our forebears were just as potty-mouthed as we are, if not more so.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

I think a lot of the writers 1- aren't old enough to know people from this era or 2- haven't watched a lot of old movies.

"Far From Heaven" sounded pretty accurate to me There was a certain formality people spoke with in the "olden days." And the better educated ones had better grammar because it was important then. Not like nowadays. Everything wasn't amazing it was marvelous and splendid, etc.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?


think a lot of the writers 1- aren't old enough to know people from this era


You don't think they have parents and grandparents?
For goodness sake, some of the posters are acting like the 60s and 70s were the days of Shakespeare or something.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

Other posters have pointed out that the "f-word" has a history over a century old. True but irrelevant. Libby and Ginny would not be using them. Recall that at Woodstock in 1969, Country Joe and the Fish in their "Fish Cheer" called for the crowd to spell the word. Why? Because it was effen outrageous at the time. Still, there are a lot of words that can't be said today, but were more commonly used back then. Different times have different sensitivities and taboos.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

Woodstock was a performance. Libby and Ginny were talking in private.

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Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?


Other posters have pointed out that the "f-word" has a history over a century old. True but irrelevant. Libby and Ginny would not be using them.
Yes, times infinity. Educated middle-to-upper-middle-class women did not use that word with ease in the 1950s.

Women like Ginny (fictional Ginny, that is, bc the writers have taken enormous liberties with characters and facts) women with bohemian tendencies would have used it as society started loosening up, after 1959 or so. The actual Virginia Johnson born a Mormon probably would not have in 1956-57. Nor would the educated Dr. Masters. And ladylike Libby certainly would not have.

The word has lost all meaning today thru gross overuse, which is a pity. I support its judicious use but overuse has stripped it of its power.

And, the writers have been lazy and sloppy in permitting this and other anachronisms.

"All you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right kind of people."

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?


Educated middle-to-upper-middle-class women did not use that word with ease in the 1950s.



And you know this how?

Were you the monitor of all "educated middle-to-upper-middle-class" women in the 1950's?

Good Lord.what a ridiculous statement!!!

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?


The actual Virginia Johnson born a Mormon probably would not have in 1956-57.
So she was happy to watch people *beep* but she was a bit shy about saying the word. Really?

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?


Educated middle-to-upper-middle-class women did not use that word with ease in the 1950s.


I was about 7 in the mid fifties when I first heard the word. A mother in the upper-to-middle-class largely white semi-suburban NYC bedroom community neighborhood was keeping an eye on a group of us as we curious kids watched a group of men digging a ditch in the street in front of our houses. One of the men referred to his co-worker as a "bleeper", noticed the woman present, and apologized. With a dismissive wave of her hand she replied, "I've heard it before, but there are children here." She was obviously familiar with the term, and didn't get upset, or swoon, or have any kind of overreaction.

While there was a lot of censorship running around ("banned in Boston" was still a thing, and that distinction was used to sell a lot of books elsewhere), there was a lot of bleeping going on in literature (check out some of the language in Victorian porn, or Lady Chatterly (1920's), books which were still available and widely read back then), as well as IRL. It may not have been as widely used in public like it is today, but I'm sure that it rolled off more tongues in private than you think. That breakthrough had to wait until the Berkeley Free Speech Movement of the early 60's, since its public usage was still a misdemeanor in most places. I'm pretty sure it was made an offense as a reaction to its widespread use in the vernacular decades before the laws against profanity in public were enacted centuries ago.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

And lets not forget actions! We had women singing into a spatula like it was a microphone, long before singers used hand held mikes.

The first episode of this season has a judge ordering Masters into AA years before judges did this.

And so many more.

These are pretty easy to catch so it has to be intentional

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

It's not a documentary.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

Yes it may not be a documentary, but this is a drama about social change but turning the story into some ahistorical fantasy undercuts what they seem to be trying to do.

I keep expecting the characters to text each other.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

The f-word has literally been around for centuries and never once did it feel anachronistic to me in this show. Today the word is bandied about cavalierly but it's been used fairly sparingly and properly in "Masters of Sex" unlike in period shows "Game of Thrones" and "Penny Dreadful," in which the characters speak like we would now, using it in regular rotation as a noun, adjective, verb, adverb, determiner and interjection. As such, the dialogue seems WAY more anachronistic on those two shows than in this one.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?


unlike in period shows "Game of Thrones"

While I see your point about Penny Dreadful, I think Game of Thrones is purely a fantasy show where different rules apply. Therefore it doesn't qualify as a "period show."

Other period shows typically use anachronistic dialogue and not just for profanity. I remember watching Downton Abbey and was appalled when the Dowager Countess used "parent" as a verb. No one in the 1920's used gender neutral terms. One would use either "to father" or "to mother." But one one would use "to parent."
___________________________________
Never say never

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

Virginia saying "back in the day" in the season premiere made me cringe.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?


Q: When and why did back in the day come into popular use in reference to a cool time in the past? I dont remember hearing it at all in the 70s.

A: The phrase back in the day has been around since at least the 1940s, and the phrase back in the days has been around a lot longer, since the 18th century.

Heres an example of this earlier use of back in the day from The Blood Remembers, a 1941 novel by Helen Hedricks, wife of the publisher Alfred A. Knopf:

I was back in the day when his father was buried, and the bright sun was killing the purple asters in Sams bent hands.

And heres a much earlier example of back in the days from an 1816 biography of Eudoxia Lopukhina, the first consort of Peter the Great, by Carl Theodor von Unlanski:

The human race had learned to writeto make impressions with objects which are the equivalents of writers tools away back in the days when the cuneiform folk put their marks into stones, and the cave men of prehistoric France daubed colored hieroglyphics.

We found an even earlier example in an undated sermon among the collected writings of the Rev. Ebenezer Erskine, a Scottish minister who lived from 1680 to 1754.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

Yeahsaw this, too. However, Virginia's usage is much closer to the modern usage we are familiar with than the examples you quoted. This is from the same article you quoted: "But the modern usage youre asking about, plain back in the day, is a different sense of the phrase, one in which it stands alone and refers to an unspecified time in the past.

This clipped phrase has popped up all over the place in the last couple of decades. Its done so much popping, in fact, that the phrase has got the attention of lexicographers at standard dictionaries.

The Cambridge Dictionaries Online, for example, defines the expression this way: used for talking about a time in the past, usually when you are remembering nice things about that time.

The Oxford English Dictionary says back in the day (occasionally days), especially in African-American usage, means in the past or some time ago.

The OED has four citations for the published use of the expression. The earliest example is a lyric from a hip-hop song, Girls, recorded by the Beastie Boys in 1986: Back in the day / There was this girl around the way.

The phrase also cropped up in a 1994 issue of the magazine Vibe: Back in the day there were Josephine Baker, Billie Holliday, Sarah Vaughan, and Lena Horne.

And the novelist Richard Price used it in his mystery Freedomland (1998): Jesse had known one of them from back in the day.

The OEDs most recent example is from The Nannie Diaries (2003), by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus: One drunken night when your buddies from back in the day called me a ho.

You say you dont remember hearing back in the day in the 1970s. Weve done a bit of poking around in Google Books and found some examples from the 70s, including this one from Joseph Wambaughs 1972 crime novel The Blue Knight:

Around the LAPD it was said that mobbed-up former Soviets were more dangerous and cruel than the Sicilian gangsters ever were back in the day.

In fact, our spot check of Google Books even found a couple of examples from the 60s, including this one from Ruth Dicksons 1967 advice book Married Men Make the Best Lovers:

Yep, thats all the IRS thought a spouse was worth back in the day.

The earliest examples of the clipped usage that we could find are from white writers like Wambaugh and Dickson. And the first use of the phrase in hip-hop music seems to be from the song mentioned above by the Beastie Boys, a white band.

But some linguists and language writers have suggested that the phrase may have originated among African Americans.

The linguist Margaret G. Lee, for example, said in a 2001 comment on the Linguist List, the mailing list of the American Dialect Society, that Back in the day originated in the African-American community.

Geneva Smitherman, author of Black Talk and a distinguished professor of English at Michigan State University, told the language columnist William Safire in 2007 that the expression is used differently by different groups of African Americans.

When used by middle-aged and older members of the black speech community, she said, back in the day refers to the 1960s and often reflects a kind of nostalgic longing for a historical moment when there was a very strong black unity.

But when used by members of the Hip Hop Generation, Smitherman said, it generally refers to the beginning phase of Hip Hop Music and Culture, in the 70s in the South Bronx.

H. Samy Alim, an anthropologist and sociolinguist at UCLA, suggested to Safire that the expression may have been popularized by the rapper Ahmads 1994 album (and title song) Back in the Day.

A bit of googling, however, indicates that the expression in its new sense was well established by the late 1980s, years before Ahmads album was released.

Interestingly, Ahmad (Ahmad Ali Lewis) uses back in the day and back in the days in the three versions of the title song on the album. And he uses them in the old as well as the new sense. Heres an example of the plural phrase used both ways:

Back in the days when I was young Im not a kid anymore
But some days I sit and wish I was a kid again
Back in the days when I was young Im not a kid anymore
But some days I sit and wish I was a kid again
Back in the days"

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

Here is a link to the passage you quote:

http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2012/09/back-in-the-day-2.html

Reading the entire passage it is clear that people said "back in the day when" or "back in the day of" but the phrase "back in the day" came much later. White people would have been unlikely to have used the phrase back in the 1960s.

Re: Have writers ever discussed choice to use anachronistic dialog?

In episode 4 of season 4, Libby uses the phrase "all that"which was first used in 1989 (according to the OED).

I miss Mad Men! None of this crap that distracts one from the story.
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