Thursday, September 15, 2011

Swearing 2

OK, Heath Lowrance has inadvertently provoked me into writing that post about swearing, the one I couldn't be bothered to yesterday. There is so much to say on the subject that I didn't know where to start, but now I do.

To be fair on the guy who complained in the Amazon review, Royston Blake is a heavy swearer. But he's based on the kind of heavy swearer that we all know exists. There are tons of them out there in every corner of the western world, punctuating their short phrases with expletives and not even aware of it. The fact that people complain so much about coming across this in books (my ones anyway) just shows me how powerful language is. These are simply words, most of them only four letters, but they cause so much upset. They spark violence and high blood pressure and heart attacks. They put up huge barriers between people.

Confession: I also get pissed off by swearing. A few years ago I was watching Jonathan Ross, and I noticed that he was ramping up the "fuck" count big time. Every show of his I watched thereafter (God help me), the cuss count stayed high. It was so obvious that a backstage conversation had taken place where it was decided (probably by committee) that more swearing was the way to go. So old Wossy obliged, finding opportunities to shoe-horn in those babies no matter what. Wossy, it don't work. Swearing to shock is a dead end. Authentic swearing slips out against the swearer's will. It's natural. It's wholesome.

It's funny.

That's what I get from hanging around heavy swearers. I just love the power of these words, the explosive effect of one being dropped at the perfect moment. But what if everyone loved them? Worse still, what if people just weren't bothered by them, not even batting an eyelid at an avalanche of class A obscenities? They would lose their power, and they would just be sad little words.

Which would be no fun at all.

4 comments:

Paul D. Brazill said...

You do swearing dead well, you do.

Charlie Williams said...

Aw, that's the nicest thing any fucker's ever said to me

Al Leverone said...

Be no fucking fun at all, that's what it'd be.

Heath said...

I had this very violent story at Pulp Metal, and a commentator objected to the word "fuck"-- never mind the "killing people and skinning them" part. And also, it was Pulp fucking Metal, man, what did the guy expect, a Dr. Seuss story??