Good words and bad words

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What do you call a person that swears a lot? A potty mouth. And what do you call a person that never swears? A tedious wanker.

This article is going to be about blue language, but not just blue language. We’ll also have a look at a few words that are NNSFW (Not Not Safe For Work. I guess SFW would have done the trick).

I love words. Callipygian, higgledy-piggledy, galumph, … Whenever I hear people use words like these my pelvic area jolts with intellectual arousal. I’m just sitting there listening to a podcast and suddenly, out of the blue, someone bangs out the word ‘ambulatory’. And just I find myself smiling and thinking „You could have said something like ‘able to walk’ but you didn’t. You said ‘ambulatory’ and that’s exactly why my cock is so hard right now“ (perhaps I derive more pleasure from wide vocabularies than most people do). Interestingly though, if people overuse fancy words and technical jargon for no good reason, it just makes them seem vain speakers, in the sense that they are more interested in the appearance of words than their capacity to convey meaning. The overuse of exotic and technical terms in a context where their use is not justified or in any way beneficial to the conversation is unbelievably annoying. The exact same true holds true for dirty words for that matter. I think it’s fascinating how swearing can evidence both a very deep and a very poor understanding of language and communication. Those who swear all the time may mean to prove the force of their convictions and feelings, but what results is the exact opposite. In fact, the only thing you demonstrate by re-using the same swear words over and over again is that you’re not very creative with language and don’t really expose yourself to new words. To paraphrase, read a fucking book, you twat!

Take the adjective ‘fucking’ for instance. It’s undoubtedly one of the most common dirty words in the English language. It’s a word that could have so much punch. Unfortunately, as an adjective, it’s overused to the extent that it trivialises almost every noun it is meant to describe. I don’t know about you, but the sort of people who preface every other word with ‘fucking’ really make me wish their parents hadn’t done just that, or at least used some ‘fucking’ contraception. It’s also rather telling that the only word these people seem to be masterfully acquainted with describes the most primitive activity known to humankind.

Apart from lamenting the overuse of words with great emotive potential, I also like to reflect on the origin of words and contrast their initial meanings with contemporary usage. Take the word pussy for instance. Initially the word was used to refer to cats. Then the word was used to refer to women. In our day the word is mostly used to refer to women’s genitals. No one really calls cats pussies anymore. While you’ll still find ‘cat’ as the first definition in most dictionaries, this does not at all do justice to the way we use ‘pussy’ in the real world. To anyone who is tempted to disagree with me on this point, I dare you to announce to your entire family how much you love looking at pussies on the Internet.

There is a further meaning of the word pussy that is, unfortunately, closely related to women and their vulvas. ‘Pussy’ can also mean ‘coward’, which is fascinating to me. I think it’s amazing how, particularly in the life of men, the same word can have two violently different implications depending on context. What I mean is this: For men, pussy is the highest order of achievement if you get some, and one the most emasculating verbal assault if you’re called one. Now before you get all offended, I would like to specify that the men I have in mind here are mostly heterosexual men who pride themselves on their masculinity to the extent of assuming it as an overwhelming part of their identity; the sort of men who whose self-worth is determined mostly by penis size (which in turn is compensated for by the deafening roars of their pickup trucks).

So far I’ve only really addressed people who swear too frequently and do so poorly. I feel I should also address these people’s polar opposites; people who refuse to acknowledge that in some situations swearing is appropriate. Truth be told, I don’t have that much to say about those people. My opinion on the matter is more or less that of Stephen Fry, who once said: „The sort of twee person who thinks swearing is in any way a sign of a lack of education or a lack of verbal interest is just a fucking lunatic.“

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