Flippin’ heck, exclamations before the BSA

Flippin heck, some people seem to get upset easily about language used. (I must admit that flippin’ heck wasn’t the first phrase that came to mind when reading about this but I decided to tone down the headline).

NZH: Mike Hosking’s outburst deemed not offensive by Broadcasting Standards Authority

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has ruled that two similar terms of using the Lord’s name in vain were neither blasphemous nor offensive.

‘Using the Lord’s name in vain’? I might come back to that.

The first complaint came after the 1 News Vote 17 Leaders Debate where moderator Mike Hosking questioned Bill English and Jacinda Ardern.

Hosking was quizzing National Party Leader Bill English about a damaged fuel pipeline in Auckland that affected flights out if its airport.

In frustration at English’s response, Hosking uttered the words “for God’s sake”. He used the phrase to express his own and voters’ frustration at the Government’s response to the ordeal.

The authority found the alleged harm did not outweigh the important right to freedom of expression, especially in the lead-up to a general election.

They said the variations of “God”, “Christ” and “Jesus Christ” are commonly used as exclamations.

Yes, they are. And it seems extraordinary to me that someone would make an official complaint about the use of “for God’s sake”, but they had a right to complain about what irked them.

And the BSA was correct to dismiss the complaint.

The second complaint came after a farmer used the expression “for Christ’s sake” when talking about a report on 1 News on the outbreak of a cattle disease in South Canterbury.

The authority found that there was a public interest and high value in hearing an authentic voice from a New Zealand farmer as part of the report.

It noted that the farmer used the expression to express his frustration and strong support of the affected farm owner.

The BSA rejected that complaint too. As they should have done.

Back to ‘Using the Lord’s name in vain’. This sounds like a strange sort of expression to me, but apparently it’s a big deal for some.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (KJV; also “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God” (NRSV) and variants) is one of the Ten Commandments.

It is a prohibition of blasphemy, specifically, the misuse or “taking in vain” of the name of the God of IsraelExodus20:7 reads:

“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (KJV).[1]

Based on this commandment, Second Temple Judaism by the Hellenistic period developed a taboo of pronouncing the name of God at all.


There doesn’t seem to have been many instances of people being struck down for saying ‘for God’s sake’ or ‘for Christ’s sake’, and I don’t think either sound as bad as ‘for fuck’s sake’.

Does ‘for god’s sake’ get around the blasphemous thing? You can’t tell the difference in speech, but God and god are different things. Even God is different things in different religions.

  1. (in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.
  2. (in certain other religions) a superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.
  3. A greatly admired or influential person.


So is it presumptuous to claim a particular use of god/God.

Leave a comment


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  14th January 2018

    Pretentious fools abound. Sanctimonious too. It’s all part of the moral superiority game that people use to shore up their fragile self image.

    • phantom snowflake

       /  14th January 2018

      For a moment I thought you were referring to ‘Perfect Mike’ Hosking!

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  14th January 2018

        I think he has a good sense of humour about his image. He is provocative but not arrogant in my judgement.

        • robertguyton

           /  14th January 2018

          Mike Hosking, “not arrogant”!!!
          Cheers, Alan – laugh of the week!

          • Corky

             /  14th January 2018

            Self assured, Robert. Successful Righties are like that. It comes from hard work, failing, winning and learning. You are your mates should try it some time.

          • Conspiratoor

             /  14th January 2018

            I can understand why you would think this robert since he enjoys the sweet music of mammon and appears to be a raging right winger.
            However he also displays a self deprecating humour and this is a quality that you won’t find in the arrogant

        • Ray

           /  14th January 2018

          Sorry Alan but I am with Robert on this one.
          That’s both Robert and Blazer I have agreed with (once) this year.
          Either they are drifting right or I am going over to the darkside, time to go down to the vault and count my wealth?

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  14th January 2018

            There is a difference between being arrogant and not giving a toss what people like Robert think, Ray. It’s good judgement.

            • robertguyton

               /  14th January 2018

              Was Aaron Gilmore was a successful Rightie?
              Are “successful Righties” immune from arrogance?
              No, really, Hosking’s as arrogant as they come.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  14th January 2018

              I don’t know enough about Gilmore and his warring staff to judge him. May have just been too inexperienced to cope.

              On the whole successful Righties have had to manage businesses and people of all kinds. Successful Lefties more often have only had to manage themselves and suck up to the right politicians and bureaucrats. The results are obvious.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  14th January 2018

              I am also in agreement with Robert. I don’t watch Mike H because he seems so full of himself and to have a much better opinion of himself than he has of anyone else. Self-confidence is good, conceit is bad.The few times that I have seen him, he has that annoying sneer on his face-what a turn-off that is. If he isn’t arrogant, he gives a good imitation of being it.

  2. Oh, for the love of Mike ….

  3. Alloytoo

     /  14th January 2018

    If God, god, Christ are offended, they should lay the complaint.

  4. Kitty Catkin

     /  14th January 2018

    I find the constant use of ‘Oh, my God !’ (especially from children) extremely distasteful. ‘For fuck’s sake’ is meaningless and annoying for that reason alone-but replacing some letters with *s is pointless when everyone will read a word as whatever it is.If you mean it, say it right out.

    I see little point in writing n——r when everyone will read it as nigger-better to either write it properly or don’t write it at all.

    An American girl had fits when she read PG Wodehouse’s Thank You, Jeeves-it had two or three references to ‘nigger minstrels’ and Bertie Wooster blacks his face to escape from something or other. The minstrels would have been black-face, not black people (not that I find black-face amusing but this was 90 years ago) and PGW and his characters would never have called real black people niggers and I would be astonished if PGW would use the word now. The silly girl felt ‘literally sick’ and ‘it was the most racist thing that she had ever read’. How about her own country’s Jim Crow laws, the advertisements for people being sold like animals…or the chapter in Little Town on the Prairie* where men dress up as ‘darkies’ with ‘big red lips’ , white circles around their eyes and sing songs about darkies (their word-the one we read has it in it) ? The audience are in convulsions of mirth,

    * yes, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

  5. Corky

     /  14th January 2018

    Certain black folk don’t like the word ‘Nigger’. They prefer the word ‘Niggaz.’ It’s so street cool.

    • robertguyton

       /  14th January 2018

      “Ed 8
      14 January 2018 at 4:15 pm
      Rachel Stewart on twitter.

      “So, we all know in our hearts that rodeo is wrong. But with Michael Laws speaking up for it, we now know it’s got to be even wronger-er than we originally thought.””
      “Funny” @ TS.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: