Undeterred, Vaughan dismissed More as an “Elf” and a “scurvie, slabbie, snotty-snowted thing,” whose “Excrements run the wrong way, for his mouth stooles.”

— Jonathan Rée, Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English

Neil Postman marveled at the fact that audiences for the Lincoln-Douglas debates willingly, cheerfully, sat still to listen to seven hours of oratory. He went on to paint a grim picture of shrinking vocabularies and attention spans in the age of digital media. He was a gentleman and a scholar, though, so he didn’t include an analysis of how shallow and unimaginative our oaths and invective have become. I am neither a gentleman nor a scholar, so it falls to me to lament the fact. We say that someone is “full of shit”, or “talking shit.” With just that little bit of extra effort, we could have said that someone’s excrements ran the wrong way and called him a stool-mouth. And look at that alliteration! Do you think that was an accident? No. That’s skill, and dedication to the craft. Why can’t we revive the old ways?