I am a freelancer in the publishing industry, so words are very important to me. I'm a leftist living in a world gone mad, so politics are very important to me. I'm an environmentalist living in a degrading world, so pick up your damn trash, get rid of your gas guzzlers, and don't touch ANWR, you self-absorbed capitalists!

Do leave comments: let's make this a conversation. If you prefer, you can contact me at friuduric at yahoo dot com.

08 March 2006

Word Wednesday: Why Shit but not F***

Five years ago:

Impera (singing): Chuck, chuck, bo-buck, banana fana fo-f-(oooooh!)
(pregnant pause)
Consort: Why did you stop singing?
Impera: Because that next word was a BAD word.
Consort: How did you know that was a bad word?
Impera: Because Mommy uses it, and I don’t know what it means. If Mommy uses a word that I don’t know, usually that means that it’s a BAD word.

Now, I know enough about the Internet that I understand that much of the volume of Web searches is of a sexual nature. I would prefer that teenage boys, lonely men, unimaginative men, etc., stay off my site. Considering that the post in which I used both these words also had the word “rape” in it, I may already get some weird searches. If someone reading this was directed here by a Google search of this kind, Get off my site now, you deranged ^ sicko ^ male ^ pervert! (Note: ^ = spit).

But beyond that particular post, because honestly I didn’t think twice (twees?) when I wrote out the one and euphemized the second, I consider bad language to be on a sliding scale from the slightly vulgar to the incredibly obscene. In this day and age, shit is slightly vulgar, but nothing more. I know how to control myself (despite what my spouse and children think) (and most of my lapses have to do with the idiocy of our current political leaders), and I don’t think I’ve used f*** (uneuphemized) with friends. Family, yes (but isn’t that the joy of sisters getting together?).

And audience counts for a lot. Consider for a moment this incident about two years ago. Impera was upset with me because that morning, on the drive to school, she said I used a bad word in describing an inept driver, IN FRONT OF OUR CARPOOL PARTNER. I became worried. I remembered the driver in question, but I couldn’t remember what I had said. “Shit!” I thought, “what did I say??!” It turned out I had called the driver (now, get ready, and promise me you won’t think any less of me) “stupid”. Phew! It took incredible strength of will on my part to not start laughing. That’s not at all what I expected.

Another example: The word “bloody”. It is my understanding that in the UK one wouldn’t accept polite children or business underlings saying that word to their betters (is that still true?). Here in the States, when one says “bloody”, it is said with no freight whatsoever, in fact, it’s pretty much a joke. (But any Brits reading this, don’t worry, when you come over here and pat our cat and say “what a sweet pussy”, some of us have to put our fingers to our eyelids to keep the eyeballs from popping out.)

I won’t provide you with a list of words from vulgar to obscene. On this site I think I’ve used shit, hell, and the euphemisms frack, frick, f***, and mother. Oh, I may also have use the word “ass”. But I will tell you that I will refuse to talk to anyone who uses the T word or the C word. Abso-frickin-lutely.

This post isn’t as tight as I’d like, but it’s all you’re going to get (Hah. Just imagine what the word “tight” is going to do to the weird Google searches [Scram you obsessed loserly losers!]). I’d be interested to hear what others think of the gradation, or lack thereof, of strong language. Thoughts anyone?