“There are 400,000 words in the English language and there are seven of them you can’t say on television. What a ratio that is! Three hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety three to seven. They must really be bad.”
— George Carlin
Have you ever thought about swearing? I mean really thought about it? The idea is that some words are so bad you shouldn’t say them — or even write them down unless you replace one of the letters with a blank or a punctuation mark. Like maybe if you write “f-ck,” nobody will know you meant “fuck,” and it’s really important not to be caught saying “fuck,” because it’s a bad thing to say.
Why is it bad? It just is. Bad.
If you’re trying to hurt a person with words, to express anger or contempt, to get laughs, or to shock or offend, you don’t need bad words to do it. Sometimes all you need is a well-placed “no” or “goodbye.”
But swearing is fun. If a certain kind of person didn’t gasp and sputter every time they overheard us telling a deserving party to suck a bag of dicks, we wouldn’t enjoy the words half as much. Part of the joy of swearing comes from letting uptight people know you don’t give a fuck what they think.
And notice: There is no way to convey precisely what not giving a fuck feels like without swearing. It’s not the same thing to say so what, you don’t care, you couldn’t care less.
Bad words can be just as nuanced as other words. Use them well.