I know I touched on this briefly thanks to a Dear Galen letter I got not long ago (from an idiot.... although that's where they all come from), but I'd really like to go more in depth on this subject.
What is it about swearing that seems to bother people so much? I mean, you have people who will get absolutely offended and shocked if you utter even a mild curse word when a skill saw takes your arm off! What is WRONG with these people?
Well, I'm going to tell you exactly what's wrong with them. It's really kinda funny to tell the truth. See, all these people who run around whining about how "low-brow" and "uncouth" swearing is are, in fact, being extremely primative and "low-brow" themselves. Let me explain:
You see, the whole concept of "bad words" comes from two main sources. The first is the ancient belief that words hold power to bless or curse others. It was once a commonly held belief that uttering certain words would bring you, your loved ones, those in your company, etc. good fortune and blessings from God (the gods, goddess, etc). Other words, however, had the opposite power. These words came from the devil (or whatever super-evil diety that was popular in the culture at the time) and held ill-fortune for all who spoke them or heard them. Thus, we have the phrase "curse words." Certain words were bad because they would curse you into oblivion.
The other source of "bad language" is from the mixing of various cultures over the ages. As two different cultures mixed, one would become dominant over the other. The subjugated culture had to adapt over time and one of the adaptations made was that the lesser culture took on the language of the dominant culture. As this happened, the words of the lower culture's language became seen as "lower class" and it became common knowledge that anyone who spoke that way was of low birth, poor breeding, and lesser intelligence. Thus, these words became, over the centuries, our current "swear words."
So, you think good ol' "cussing" is bad, do you? Well then, why is that? I mean, is it because I'm sending demons to eat your children when I use the f-word or because using such a word makes me so beneath you?
You see my point? If you can sit there and honestly say that you believe (for WHATEVER REASON) that any specific words are "bad" then you are admitting to me that you still cling to primative beliefs from the dark ages! Just who do you think you are, telling me that my language is "inappropriate" simply because YOU can't let go of your stupid little small-minded insignificant beliefs from 5,000 years ago?
YOU are the mouth-breathing, low-brow, pathetic caveman, not me! I swear so much because I'm about 5,000 years ahead of you on the evolutionary scale - GOT IT?! *I* am the one who's superior in this equation, NOT YOU, you arrogant little half-wit!
Look, swearing is simply another form of language and expression, that's all. It's not a "lesser" form of communication, just a different mode of speech! Why is it so bad that something is different?
Let's do a little experiment, shall we. I'm going to make up a new swear word. Let's make it, rhicog (because that's what I came up with when I hit random letters on my keyboard and then added vowels, lol). Oh, but wait, I think I need another one. Ok, let's also create guewf (just random letters that time).
Now, why don't you shut the rhicog up, you stupid guewf!
That sounded pretty silly, didn't it? Sure it did, but why? All I did was assign a negative connotation to words that would otherwise be perfectly benign. Rhicog and guewf became "bad words" because I made them bad in my own mind and you came along for the ride! That's EXACTLY how every profane word or phrase came to be "naughty." People just decided that they were "bad" and spread the word! Now what if I get really big and popular like Maddox one day (I shudder at the thought.... don't you people dare do that to me). People would read this rant and start using those words as cuss words just to be funny. But then, they'd catch on. They'd become part of everyday net-speak and eventually part of everyday speech. A few millenia from now, nobody will even remember where those words came from, but you can bet that the FCC will be fining TV and radio stations for saying rhicog and guewf on the air!
You don't think it could happen? Then I challenge you to start using those two words in real life in the same way you'd use real cuss words. Rhicog is pronounced ree-cog and guewf is pronounced guhf. They're pronounced like this because I made them up, so I say how they're pronounced. Deal with it. Now, start using these words at your school, at work, with friends, etc. and watch it catch on. People will laugh and think it's silly at first, but people WILL join in soon because they're mindless little sheep who latch onto absolutely anything new and original. It won't take long... All you have to do is tell a teacher "guewf you!" and you'll get sent to the office. I'd almost be willing to bet money that in less than a year or two, some kid will get punished for using these made-up words. They'll say "even if it's made up, it still carries the same thoughts and conotation as a real cuss word." Once this happens, it IS a real cuss word.
Try it, you'll see. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how a cuss word is born!
A really great example is the word "frack." On Sci-Fi's new rendition of Battlestar Gallactica, the characters use that made-up term in place of the f-word. You get phrases like "frack you" and "go frack yourself" and "frack off" etc. The word frack is now seeing a lot of popularity on the Internet thanks to BSG fans and it's been picked up by a lot of people who've never even seen BSG. I've seen a few message board who don't allow swearing that've already banned the word "frack" because it's "the same as that other F word." The term frack is already following the predictable pattern I outlined above. If the show increases in popularity (or at least holds its own), that word will just continue to grow until it becomes part of the real world.
I hope you've enjoyed today's lesson, "Surprise, You're a Cro-Magnon!" Just to address the one final myth about swearing, I'd like to point out to anyone who hasn't noticed that I have not used even one single "bad word" in this entire rant (unless you count "frack" or the 2 I made up). Oh, I'm sorry, did I just shoot down your stupid little idea that I swear so much because I can't express myself otherwise? What a shame.....
I swear so much because THAT'S JUST HOW I TALK!!! I express myself on a daily basis to classrooms full of young children without ever using a single naughty expletive. I don't NEED to cuss to express myself; I LIKE TO! It's fun, expressive, and it gives me a wider range of expressive vocabulary than you have (since I have a massive array of non-profane words at my disposal as well). You're the one missing out, so don't be hatin' on me, ya rhicog!