Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Sociological Deconstructing of Swearing

A wise man once said, and I paraphrase, "Why blog when you can write a book?" Whoever that wise man was, I heard him...and I listened. Hence the overwhelming neglect to this blog over recent weeks. I'm happy to report, however, that I'm now almost 44,000 words (which translates into roughly 100 pages) into a book I'm writing. You're welcome to read it when it's finished, though I'm sure it isn't any good...just a bunch of nonsense about a really short person who discovers a magic ring, but then gets captured by a bad guy who lives on a huge space station that resembles a small moon, but then gets rescued by a loving Lion, only to discover that the Bad Guy (mentioned earlier) is his father. I'm calling it The Chronicles of the Warlord in the Stars, vol. 1 (due this Christmas).

With that behind us, allow me to delve into what many will consider my most shocking expose of human behavior. The very topic alone would make any white-haired church lady weep for shame. It has to do with swearing. That's right, cursing, as some would call it. Let's just be honest, we've all done it. Sometimes we do it without even knowing it. We stub a toe, break a dish, or drop a baby, and out of our mouths come words of four letters, steeped with stigma and vulgarity.

Let me ask you this: what makes a curse word profane? Who decided the "D" word was a cuss word? Or the "A" word?

What if I came up to you and said the word beshnookah? Would that mean anything to you? Probably not. What if I told you that beshnookah is a foreign word that, when literally translated, means flopper? Would that mean anything to you now? Of course not. Now, what if I told you that the term flopper in that country was synonymous with a certain phrase that involves the "A" word? Now would it mean something? What it would probably mean for a lot of us, unfortunately, is that we'd start calling each other floppers, thinking we'd just gotten away with something.

Here's where I'm going with this. Swearing isn't so much about what I say, it's what you hear. The sin of swearing isn't about the words I say, it's about the offense I cause those who hear me. I can say bloody all I want, and have no concern of offending those around me. As soon as I go to England, however, and use that word, I'm cursing.

So what if we all just decided that the "S" word was an acceptable word? On the other hand, what if we all decided that brownies was a very offensive word? I think we can all agree - no matter what country you may live in - that none of us want to live in that kind of world.

I've said too much.

For the record, let it be known that I choose not to swear on a regular basis, as I've discovered more intelligent words to use.

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