Day 98: No swearing day.Posted: April 7, 2011
The Stranger: Just one thing, Dude. Do you have to use so many cuss words?
The Dude: What the fuck are you talking about?
Yeah. What the fuck are you talking about, Book?
If you haven’t noticed, I tend to use “bad” words with some frequency on this blog, and I use them even more in my actual speech. And today, rather than curtail my usage of them, I’m going to defy the Book’s latent Victorian prudishness and curse like an Elizabethan.
Surely you’ve noticed that most of the “bad” words have to do with the bodily-ness of our bodies? Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cock, ass, bugger, &c — they have to do with excrement or sex. The “religious” curse words — damn and hell — are comparatively mild (so mild, in fact, that my three-year-old saying “dammit” when I ask him to help me pick up his trucks is funny, rather than shocking).
I think a big part of the reason that certain words are “offensive” or taboo is precisely that those words are so connected to our bodies, and we in the West have been embarrassed by and deeply distrustful of our bodies since Plato, at least, and the Church has done a lot to exacerbate that hatred of the body.
Well, fuck that shit.
Look: we all eat, and shitting necessarily follows eating; and a fair number of us have to fuck, if we want the species to continue. Shitting and fucking are the foundations of human society – why can’t we talk about them? Because some people are so fucking uptight that they want to pretend that they don’t shit or fuck. Well, some people might not fuck – and they’re missing out – but everybody shits. Everybody.
Alright, so jellyfish and corals and whatnots defecate by vomiting, but it still counts as shitting in my book. It’s just grosser to think about, that’s all. And they can reproduce asexually, sure, so they aren’t fucking, but my guess is that asexual reproduction is less fun than the alternative. The fact remains that lots of shitting and fucking happens every day, and we shouldn’t have a problem talking about it.
There are, I admit, contexts in which the words “shit” and “fuck” and “cunt” and the rest are inappropriate – but I would also argue that those contexts are far less numerous than most people want to think. Honestly, I find “like” and “y’know” much more offensive; if the undergrads I’m surrounded with on a daily basis replaced all their “likes” with “fuckin’s” I’d be a happy man.
Thus ends my rant, but I’d be remiss not to point out a few things in passing. Geoffrey Chaucer – the father of English letters – used the word “cunt” in the Canterbury Tales, back when it was spelled more like “quaint” – so, whenever you use the word “quaint,” think about cunts. Also, he wasn’t the first to use it in print, though he was close: there were “Gropecunt Lanes” in England as far back as 1230.
Lastly: your mother is a blast-ended skank: