An English In Kentucky


















Sunday June 23rd 2019Tim Candler9


    In the 18th and early 19th Century the word yob meant a male child or young man. Male children and young men, which includes older men who are desperately trying to remain young men, can be a bit of a handful, and if it wasn't for something that can only be a sort of knee jerk maternal instinct there's no way a yob deserves the adjective cute. Cute means attractive in an endearing way. There's debate of course, but I'd argue that in the 18th and early 9th Century yob applied to a boy or man who hadn't been able to secure useful or regular employment, and kind of hung around, maybe took the King or Queen's shilling ended up dying in the corner of some desolate foreign field. Then into the 20th Century the word yob took on the adjectives uncouth, useless, noisy, boisterous, illiterate, ill-disciplined, generally unpleasant and about as far from being gentlemanly as you can possible imagine. Weekend or poser yobs, and I have known a few, for some unknown reason see this term for them as a badge of honor. And I guess it might have been in this 'proud to be a lout' sense that a possibly geriatric opinion writer in a very reputable British newspaper recently suggested that the right of the political spectrum had all become yobs. And it's odd, because the UK Tory part, some few years ago, couldn't mention the UK Labour party without the word yob, or yobbish, or yobby coming up several times.



    I dispute the writer's use of the word yob. It's poor term for the disgustingly ignorant behavior that so characterizes the more rightward adherents in the 21st Century.  First of all in my experience yobs are the more classic lefty of the street corner boys, they don't take well to discipline and the idea of yobs being capable of effectively organizing themselves into paramilitary unit is absurd. For that you have to go to the Skinhead or the Punk, both products of the 50's and 60's, a reaction by working class to the more rightward looking middleclass, who had all the stuff and houses, plenty to eat, warm and dry in the winter, and generally being smart-asses who did well at school. The idea of preserving the past for the Skinhead quickly turned angry and that's when they basically became ethnic cleansers and carried Saint George's Cross. The Punks always remained kind of gentle lefties, and they were mostly perfectly capable of giving you a good discussion about this and that without the whole conversation ending in physical altercation.  My own preference for the current right of the political spectrum would be chav or for the girls chavette. The Oxford English Dictionary in the year 2000, accepted this definition of a chav:  ".....person who displays brash and loutish behaviour and wears real or imitation designer clothes." Behaviour is the Oxford Dictionary's way of spelling behavior. Mind you, safe to say, that I rather enjoyed the yob lifestyle, didn't have much of nothing, didn't care, so not the sort of person who'd get remotely excited about free shipping and certainly wouldn't be seen dead mincing around in a designer anything, far too classy for that sort loutish behavior.



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