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In Praise of the Four-Letter Word


It's apparently No Cussing Week. Personally, as soon as I look at that simpering child's coy pose, I want to say several very rude words of a very graphic nature. 

(Cick the link; it hurts.)(also, click this one for the actual site, if you think you can handle the dreadful, dreadful site graphics.)(ugh)

Double-plus Ungood wordthink...Collapse )

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( 69 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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nobarking
Mar. 3rd, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
My folks used to tell me that swearing was a sign of a limited vocabulary. Obviously, they'd never heard people swear in French -- you have to take a breath before you've gotten even halfway through your explanation of questionable physical acts and unlikely parentage of the person, place or thing involved.

I LOVE to swear in French, it is so much more cathartic (for me) because it's so much more INVOLVED. In English I can get three or four words before it doesn't make sense and it's just releasing pressure -- in French you can get going and take several minutes to finish up without ever repeating yourself, and when you're done you feel BETTER. Somewhat.

My folks raised us with "hell" and "damn" and "fart" being bad words -- I don't know, these days it just feels awfully repressed. No wonder they're ready to explode at the slightest provocation.

I'm not a fan of swearing around kids (although gods know I was asking my parents what s-h-i-t spelled when I was in kindergarten, reading graffiti off the bathroom walls) but that doesn't mean they're not going to learn it as they grow up. I'm a HUGE advocate of not swearing around parrots, though, oh my gosh -- the only thing they pick up more easily and use more frequently are fart noises.

feralcheryl
Mar. 3rd, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
In Australia the dropping eff word hardly raises an eyebrow unless you're attending the Holy Trinity Mothers Union meeting.
But dropping the C word (even in Ramsay style kitchen) will pretty much bring any conversation to a screaming halt.
Do you guys use the C word?
Just wondering if it's a provincial varient that only has value here, or if it's so offensive it's not even discussed on a list that's discussing swearing?
dream_wind
Mar. 4th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
At a recent Baronial cooking group meeting, I said "f*ck" while I was describing how someone annoyed me. One of the other members stared at me and said, "you must be really annoyed about that - I have never heard you use that word before."

Indeed, I rarely say f*ck. Only when I am really, really angry about something, so people realise it. You are correct - there are times when swearing is simply the only way to express yourself (Terry Pratchett suggested in one of the Discworld books that people invented gods because screaming "Oh random fluctuations in the space-time continuum" just doesn't cut it when you drop a hammer on your toe).

(comment censored because I'm at work and our net filter has rejected comments where I've typed swearwords before now)
noxcat
Mar. 4th, 2009 01:46 am (UTC)
Who the f*ck decided to make my Birthday week 'no cussing' week? I obF'INject!

(and telling someone what words they can and can't use is dangerously close to censorship.)
donal_mac_r
Mar. 4th, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
I agree on the judicious use of such expressions. When I was in the Navy, an environment in which four-letter words were sprinkled generously into most speech; the troops know something was really wrong when Mr. Raitt started using them.
brickhousewench
Mar. 4th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
I have a love/hate relationship with swearing.
I learned words like “shit” and “damn” from my parents, although I don’t think I ever heard either one of them drop the F-bomb. And I still remember the first time I said it in front of my mother. I was mortified.

When I was in college I worked second shift at a factory, where the language got rather salty. One of my immigrant coworkers was particularly fond of the word “fuck.” I’ve never seen anyone use the word so many times in a single sentence as he did. I swear, it must have been the first English word that he ever learned.

When I first graduated college I was a High School teacher, and had to clean up my mouth in a hurry. I didn’t let my students use any variation of the F-word. No fudge, frack, etc. I did, however, make sure that I included an Elizabethan cursing lesson as part of our Shakespeare unit. *winks*

Now that I have changed careers and not longer deal with impressionable young minds every day I am free to indulge in cursing again. Although, I will admit, these days I much prefer to use words like “bugger” and “bloody Hell” to our crass American curses.

And one of my cherished memories was getting to see Eve Ensler perform The Vagina Monologues in Boston, where she had the entire audience chanting “cunt” together. So. Very. Powerful. And one of the few times I’ve heard anyone actually pronounce “see you next Tuesday” rather than spell it out.
standgale
Mar. 4th, 2009 04:02 am (UTC)
I have to admit, other than "damn it" "bugger" and "crap" (the last one a recent addition), I've only used any swear words out loud a handful of times in my 26 years (and only used them in my head in the last 1-2, (where it's more of an obsessive repetitive thought rather than in response to anything)).
I guess this is another aspect of what everyone else does that I just find weird and unnecessary, lol.
albreda
Mar. 8th, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
I've been saying 'bugger' around my kids, thinking that if they said it on this side of the pond, it wouldn't be a huge deal, but now we are going to England this summer, I'm starting to watch it more. :/

My dear father is INCAPABLE of saying either the words 'door' or 'day' without prefacing them with 'damn'. Seriously. I've never heard him use ANY other swear words, but 'damn' he uses like a rapper uses the f word.

Personally, I think that ANY word that we use as an expletive can become a swear if enough folks use it with enough vehemence, so replacing one set of syllables with another but using them in the same context seems both rediculous and impoverished. Swears have a place in our language, and prohibitting one will not keep another from coming up in its place.

Great post!!
(Anonymous)
Mar. 12th, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
I love this post!

When Gwenneth and I stepped up as B&B, a friend took me aside to remind me that my potty mouth would probably not be wholly acceptable during courts. I admit freely, I can be VERY salty in language, but there is a time and a place. Middle of court probably not the best time to start making comments involving various four letter explicatives.

But some little "children of the corn" 14 year old is in no position to tell me, a 38 year old adult, what I can and cannot say. Sorry, there are times when "sassafras" just does not cover it. Deal with it, kid, grow the fuck up.

Now...the only problem I have with this post is that the next time we cross blades, I would be tempted to use my best Krusty voice....~innocent look~

Avery
Ansteorra
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