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In Praise of Profanity

August 25, 2009

W.F.F. Jurgen posted a link to The No Cussing Club on my Facebook wall yesterday. A Facebook wall is like a real wall except not real. When I saw the post, I was like, “What the fuck is this?”

My friends have heard this speech before, and god knows I don’t think anyone else is reading this blog, which is probably for the best, but here I am saying it again anyway. Because if my message can reach just one person who finds my blog accidentally or clicks on it in the “Recent Posts” portion of the dashboard (it’s like a real dashboard except not real), I’ll feel like I’ve made a goddamn difference.

This is going to have to be quick, because I’m temporarily back at my old workplace these days, plus I have to go to Safeway when it opens in an hour, plus my hair needs blowdrying, but I will do my best to work within the constraints imposed upon me. We can’t control what happens in our lives; we can only control how we react to it. So okay. “Here is the thing,” said the wet-haired, work-unappreciating, grocery-requiring chronically irritable lady who didn’t care for the fact that when she woke up this morning at the usual time the sun was just starting to rise and that can only mean the days are getting shorter, “every fucking curse word in this world is a precious linguistic gift from God. Profanity is like the butter on the bread of human expression. Who wants a goddamn dry piece of toast? I ain’t eating that son of a bitch and you shouldn’t either.”

Words are here for us to screw around with them. That is why language exists. It’s here to be in a mutually beneficial relationship with human beings. It wants us to do everything to it. Everything. Words are so desperately happy to participate in every weird activity you can think of doing with them. If words could talk, they’d tell you that they want to be used and kicked around and maltreated and manhandled into every available awkward position there is. If words were members of human society, they would spend as much time with dominatrices as they could afford. And consequently, I would have a lot more disposable income. But that’s a whole nother show, Montel.

There’s the old parental standby that swearing is a sign of a poor vocabulary. But that’s just cock and balls, parents. Cock and balls. I can’t speak for everyone’s vocabulary, and I know that some people’s do in fact suck, but then those people quite often have parents whose vocabularies also suck. There’s never been a goddamn thing wrong with mine. I have always really fucking loved the fuck out of words. Probably the only thing I love more is cats. I guess that’s why I learned two dead languages and one point five more living ones. The assholes who want to criticize my vocabulary should come over and check out my ridiculous collection of dictionaries. And do you know what the awesomest one of the whole lot is? The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, compiled by – you guessed it, friend – my boyfriend Calvert Watkins. That little fucker is probably the coolest book I’ve ever read, and you can easily get your own copy on Amazon for the dirty cheap price of $25. Etymology is the fucking shit, you guys. Go buy that book. Look up any IE-based word in the index in the back and you’re guaranteed to learn something interesting. You’re like, “Prove it, you bitch.” Okay. (And I like your enthusiasm, by the way!) Squirrel means “shiny ass”. “Christ” and “grizzly” share a root, as do “breast” and “browse,” “book” and “beech,” “socket” and “swine.” Who would have guessed? No one! That’s why we all need this fucking book! I’m like a fucking crack addict with that thing. Every fucking day. And linguistics is better than a kick in the ass too; it’s like math but with words and therefore interesting. Sound laws admit of no exceptions, it turns out. Just like math! Just like conservative governments!

I mean sure, shitty vocabularies are everywhere. Most people have no interest in getting to know their own language, even though it’s maybe the one relationship out there that’s guaranteed to end in profuse jovial fucking. People don’t even seem to realize that words have meaning and language has motherfucking history. That makes me want to bust a goddamn cap in society. These prim assholes who go around criticizing profuse use of kickass words like “piss” and “cocksucker” and “douchebag” don’t know jack shit about anything. One of the roots in “douchebag,” by the way, means “to draw” and also appears in such perfectly acceptable words as “duchess” and “aqueduct.” Can all three of those words be used in a sentence? You bet your sweet ass they can! How about “The duchess found a used douchebag in the aqueduct”? That one creates a pretty fucking sweet mental image, and there are probably others!

Another thing about profanity is its amazing versatility. Most cursewords can be used in a creatively wide variety of ways. “Fuck” or one of its cognates can be used as pretty much every part of speech. Noun (fuck, fucker, etc.), verb (“Go fuck yourself”), participle (“Where’s Tom?” “Fucking his wife”), adjective (“What a fucking loser”, “I went running and now my knee is fucked“), interjection (“Fuck! I forgot to put on pants!”), locatival component of a prepositional phrase (“What in the fuck?”). It can even be an element of a compound word (“Oedipus is a motherfucker“). You could almost teach the basics of English grammar using primarily the word “fuck.” That doesn’t sound like a poor vocabulary choice to me, asshole.

I guess I have to go to the goddamned Safeway now. And then to work. Fucking awesome. I hope all you bitches and bastards out there have a wonderful Tuesday.


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