Swearing. Second nature for some, highly distasteful for others, but for the broad majority of us, no big deal. None of us being chaste angels, I’m sure we all toss out a few choice words every now and then, depending on the situation.
Frankly, I’m no great fan of the 4-letter vocabulary. Wait, I didn’t say I abhor them like some puritan, or cringe every time I hear them being thrown about flippantly. Far from it. I myself have used a number of ‘ineffable expletives’ (as my English teacher would say), some very much a part of my everyday jargon. The argument against swearing, I know, is that it betrays sound culture, and nice manners. But what is the point of sounding as hoity-toity as that if it doesn’t express how you feel? I’m no drunken sailor when it comes to swearing, but if you are, I wouldn’t hold it against you.
That said, I must admit it’s a tad annoying when an entire conversation revolves around a few words; when every second word you hear is the same swear-word. Far from being offensive, one just comes across as being inarticulate.
As for swearing in writing, it strongly smacks of poor vocabulary more than anything else. Agreed, sometimes, it’s more fitting to use a single ‘unparliamentary’ word than a whole para of ranting. And it’s perfectly justified to vent occasionally by peppering your writing with some colorful words. But mostly, a passage full of the same few words inserted every-which way makes for pretty dull reading. Unimaginative at best, and offensive at worst. Guess it all boils down to context, and being able to express yourself.
And what is it with ‘swear words’ anyway?? They’re just as normal as any other words; they’re only as popular as they are cos of the taboo. Forbidden-fruit-tastes-sweetest all over again. Half the reason why cussing feels as good as it does when you’re in a rage is cos u know its taboo. Most people don’t even think about their meanings when they use them(forget the priceless gems who curse at the drop of a hat without knowing what they just said). In fact, if we were to simply make up some words, and taught them to kids and told them never to use them, why, we’d have a whole new swear dictionary! As far as I’m concerned, they are simply expressions of dissent, and nothing more. Their meanings only serve to give them the blessed tag of curse words. It is precisely for this reason that I can’t stand how some people find ‘thu’ particularly objectionable. I don’t see how it’s any worse than any other swear-word.
Perhaps the reason we no longer find so many of these swear words offensive is their overusage – they’ve become so commonplace that we treat them the same as any other word. Like they say, fuck aint a word, it’s a punctuation. And how normal it is to hear people(ok, I guess here, and everywhere else in this post, people = young people, say high school – college crowd, mostly) greet one another with these so-called curses. We simply respond without batting an eyelid, it’s that normal. So what does that say of us? Just that we think no more of the words than any other greeting, as simple as that.
Personally, I think ‘why the devil’ sounds a lot more creative than the so much more common ‘ytf’, but knowing that both intend to convey the same meaning, why object to either? And doesn’t ‘ a barmy old codger’ or ‘a worthless pile of bat droppings’ sound infinitely more innovative than, oh let’s say, ‘fucking sonavabitch’ ? (jkr \m/) And Captain Haddock, the drunkest sailor I know of, did have a large abuse-vocab, even if he was partial to a few choice expressions.
Ah well, to each their own, I guess. All said and done, filth-mouthed sailors will remain as they are, and really, why the f*** not?