Posts Tagged ‘profane’

There are times when my characters will be cussing. They may be cussing a lot. I’ve been known to cuss like a drunken sailor who stubbed his ingrown toe nail after a week long bender. Words are just groups of phonemes that have been assigned meaning by us over time. Outside of Dune I don’t think the utterance of a specific sound, or group of sounds, has ever directly brought irreparable harm to anyone.

If we think about it ‘cuss‘ is just a modification of the word curse. A curse is ‘a prayer or invocation for harm or injury to come upon one’ (Merriam-Webster). The word profanity derives from profane; the act of treating something sacred with abuse. Both of these words describe an act. My thought then is that one arbitrary grouping of sounds should mean no more than any other arbitrary grouping. There should be no difference between /f/ /u/ /k/ and /f/ /u/ /ng/ /k/, after all three of the phonemes are the same. So why should we prefer the word funk to fuck? Both have their places. What we should have a problem with is intent. Remember that definition of curse?

When I, or my characters, curse we don’t intend harm to anyone (unless I’m voicing a bad guy). For me ‘bad words’ are just another tool in my descriptive language tool box. What I find offensive is that someone would wish harm or injury on another person. Somehow the phrase “fuck this fucking shit” has been seen as more taboo than telling young children that they will burn in a lake of fire for all eternity for simply uttering that phrase. Or, Cthulhu forbid, they dare to have the audacity to love someone that bothers you. If that isn’t wishing harm on someone, I don’t know what is.  Often the same people who have a problem with the word ‘fuck’ see absolutely nothing wrong ‘God hates X’. Personally I find the word ‘hate’ to be way worse than any curse word I’ve ever heard.

If you still can’t deal with it blame my mother. I could cuss in four different languages before I could do subtraction.