Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gosh Darn It

Why can't we swear?

No, seriously. Swearing increases pain tolerance. It also seems to convey more passion and honesty, which is why anyone trying to sell you a TV will eventually resort to "this is a damn fine TV." It also just feels really fu--

Excuse me. It feels really freaking good.

But why is it okay to say freaking? Frigging? Even fudging? At best it makes it safe, sanitary, publishable. At worst, in the case of dithery little workarounds like "the f-word" or "the b-word" it sounds childish, like something coming out of a nervous 10 year old who really needs you to know he's talking about a swear but really can't say such an awful thing.

Of course, freaking, fudging, shoot, darn, ticked off, and all the other sanitary swear words are all...okay. They're functional. I use them all the time, because you can't just toss off fucks and shits and damns all day. I try to throw in the less-embraced criminy from time to time, too, just to keep people on their toes. Maybe I'll start using zounds.

You know what really grates my cheese? Honks me off? Drowns my puppies?

When people publish part of a swear word, but not all of it. As if that makes it okay. At least sanitary swear words aren't meant to completely imply real swear words. But when I see a newspaper or magazine say something like:

"'F--k you, you stupid sons of b----s!' the Kansas fan shouted, displaying both middle fingers at the Mizzou fan's face. 'Suck my d--k, a-----e!'"

I mean...why? You're swearing. Our brains fill in those gaps near-instantaneously. You're making us read the bad words. And yet this happens in every paper and many magazines. I guess it's on the off chance an eight year old will pick up the Times and learn something new? In my view, you either publish what was said by the person you're quoting or you don't publish it at all.

For f---'s sake.

Okay, no. You didn't go there. That place doesn't exist. If the photographer had snapped a photo thirty seconds later Chow-Yun Fat would've come flying by. 

Holy crap is right. Where's the next postcard going to come from, Middle-Earth?
A while back, my family and I went to Ireland. Everyone scrambled around near cliff edges taking photos. We went to the Cliffs of Moher, where a guide told us people went over the edge at the rate of about 2 a year.

"Shouldn't they put in bigger fences?" I asked, pointing to the rickety old wooden thing a hundred tourists were climbing through or over.

"Oh, that's not for people," the tour guide scoffed. "That's for sheep. It works just fine on the sheep."

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