Thursday Thoughts: Curse Words


As far back as we modern society can recall, the languages used have always had a certain set of words that are considered offensive, vulgar, or downright despicable to use in public. They’re swords that slice the ears of the sensitive, and they are calls that silence a speaking group of people, either to laugh, or stare in offense. Until, of course, that word is accepted; acceptance that seems to be inevitable for all words deemed curses. Sometimes it takes a few decades, other times, an entire century, but it usually always happens. The hype that first labeled the words eventually starts to drivel the more they are used. People become desensitized to them, and their edges dull.

Words evolve and integrate themselves into our society, whether we like them or not, and the ones who don’t will often be the ones who continue to be offended by them, until eventually they die off, and the new generation gains acceptance for the word as it moves through social attitude, though sometimes they pass the trait on to their offspring, who then stare in offense everything the f-bomb is dropped in conversation.

There is a problem with this. When people focus on the dirty words, and not the body language or tone in which the word is being delivered, they are not focusing on the conversation at hand. All they are focusing on is the trivial. They focus on a word that is only meant to enhance, or emphasize a statement. How often it is used in society, has a great influence on the effect a word will have, but it still raises an issue in communication.

Is this a problem with the person delivering, or the person receiving the information?

Well, it’s both, I think. Some people just swear a lot. Shit, I know I swear, at least when I’m not typing (and sometimes even then, depending on the piece I’m working on) and it’s not because I’m angry, or want to offend people, but because I’ve come to the realization that they are just words, and like it or not, people use them, and some I prefer over their substitutes.

I could say darn, but the ‘arr’  sound inside of it makes me feel like a pirate, so I’d rather say damn. The word poo makes me feel childish; poop sounds unattractive to me, and bowel movement makes me feel like a prude. So I’d rather say shit. Plus, shit works with so many other places as well, especially as the years pass on. Fuck is a word I try not to use too often, though some may argue on that. I’ll admit, one of my characters in “Hello Stranger” use the f-bomb frequently, however, that’s more a part of his character than my own style. Some people swear a lot, and I wouldn’t be doing my job as a writer if I didn’t portray his true character. There’s also a big violent beating involved in the book, and the f-bomb is dropped by the victim a few times. I think that is quite appropriate, considering what’s taking place. When someone is being beaten to death, they don’t say “Awe, shucks mister, can you please stop?”

To the point I was making. Yes, there are words you should use sparingly, but don’t be afraid to use them. Society has a mental grasp on them that is difficult to get around, and so we must conform to some level or another if we want to communicate successfully. But I do feel it’s important to be open-minded to these words – these curses – as they will one day be the norm in our society, just as easy as saying ‘shucks’ or ‘crap’ without a person batting an eye.  People grow, society evolves, and the language evolves with it.

Let it.

-Adam Gainer



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