I hate the word fuck. It also happens to be one of my favorite words. Whether I love it or hate it, depends on how it’s used. It is my humble opinion that it is used far too often.
A Touch of History
It’s been interesting watching the progression of swear words on TV over the years. As a kid growing up on shows like The Brady Bunch and Bewitched, you’d be hard pressed to find a hell or a damn anywhere on television. That is until 1971 when All In The Family hit the airwaves. Not only did Archie Bunker say goddamn, but he said it a lot. I can’t say he was the first, but certainly no other character said it as often or with as much gusto. Beyond that, things didn’t change much for a while. Oh sure, you’d hear a shit or a fuck now and then, but they were slip-ups on live television and sometimes resulted in a hefty fine.
Today we have cable to muddy the waters. For the most part, basic cable channels, such as MTV, Lifetime, and TNT have been held to the same standards as the broadcast networks. The heavy-duty curse words have been reserved for premium channels like HBO, Showtime and STARZ. That has changed. Fuck is still pretty much off-limits, but watch The Walking Dead, on basic channel AMC, and you’ll hear them say shit like it’s going out of style. I don’t expect it to be long before we hear it on the broadcast networks. Sorry to say, I don’t think that’s a good thing. We need dirty words. They serve an important function. If you accidentally hit your thumb with a hammer, nothing feels better than yelling, “Oh fuck!” But if we continue this path of saying fuck on a regular basis, it’ll become as innocuous as saying “Golly jeepers.”
I was excited when I stumbled upon a study that backs up what I’ve been saying for years. Yes, I love to gloat when I’m right.
In 2011 Keele University, in Staffordshire England, posted a study on swearing and its effects on pain. What they learned was that swearing “can produce effective short-term pain relief, the effect is much greater for people who do not swear regularly in day-to-day life.” In other words, if you accidently hit your thumb with a hammer, yelling “Oh fuck!” does help to ease the pain, but only if you don’t use a high level of swear words. Unfortunately, they don’t define, for us, what a high level is.
I hate to be one of those “back in my day” fellas, but back in my day a teenager only swore out loud when around other teens. Today it’s out of hand. Every other word is a shit, goddamn or fuck. I think it’s probably too late to save them. Those words have too much common usage which negates any positive effects it had before. I don’t know what they’ll do in the future. Maybe come up with their own taboo words? Maybe it’s time to go back to “Golly jeepers.”
What are your thoughts?
18 comments on What the F*ck is Wrong With Saying Sh*t?
And have you noticed that shows, especially sitcoms, on ABC/NBC/CBS have been bleeping/blurring out the mouths of characters that curse? That’s different too. Almost like they’re slowly trying to introduce cursing to mainstream TV. June Cleaver would pass out…
Yes. I have noticed that. It’s just a matter of time…
When I was a kid, if I ever heard my mom say damn, I knew it was something really horrible that happened. or someone was in BIG trouble. I don’t swear a lot, but when I do, you know I’m mad–and it feels so good! I don’t understand swearing so that it sounds like it’s flowing out of a person’s mouth like running water (vomit?) I think it’ll become commonplace on TV.
I don’t know why it posted my reply as anonymous-guess who? 🙂
Now that’s just mean. lol. I have no idea.
It’s me, Mandy, haha. I don’t know why sometimes WP gives me the Anonymous avatar. Like I don’t have enough of a complex, Lol! 😀
My mom was the same, she rarely ever swore. It does feel good to get it out when you need to
We also use the word “love” too much, but that doesn’t mean we should restrict its usage. 🙂
I agree we use the word love too much, but in English we currently don’t have a choice. I think the Greeks got it right. They have four different words for love. One for the love of God or children, one for passion, one for the love of a parent or child (again,) and one for the love of a friend.
Thank you for the link. Interesting.
My dad was a sailor, so I grew up learning all sorts of colorful words, and my vocabulary became quite enriched! Thinking about it, I used colorful language with my friends as a teen. I was allowed to use a few in front of my parents once I turned 16, but it was awkward, so I didn’t do it much. Some people are offended by colorful language. So I never use curse words around new people, or people that don’t use colorful language. I’m respectful like that. My kids have always been allowed to use the word “crap”. I don’t know why, but my husband and I don’t curse around the kids. He is much better at doing that then I am, because when I’m mad, I don’t really think about the words that come out of my mouth. There are some words that make me cringe, like the “see you next tuesday” word.
There was very little swearing in my household. I don’t recall ever being told not to swear, I think it’s just the way it was.
I do not notice swearing unless it’s excessive, or attached to some other behavior I don’t like.
The excessiveness bothers me too, which is what kids do nowadays. On the bus they cuss so much it’d make a sailor blush,
I rarely swore until I was in my mid 20’s, and now…. well, even when I’m in a situation where I shouldn’t be cussing, a bad word will come out. Frequent usage certainly dilutes their effectiveness, though, since I’m often trying to find words that are stronger than fuck for the occasion, and they just don’t exist….
I dislike excessive swearing, but not because I’m a prude. It’s mostly because these words, when used sparingly, add punch and emphasize a particular emotion, like frustration or anger. When overused they lose that punch and just make you sound like a crass, uneducated goon. I use swear words more than I want to, but saying them is cathartic sometimes. I inject them in my posts as needed but try not to overdo it.
I use them more than I’d like too. In my posts I don’t use them much at all. It’s up to the individual blogger.
A well placed swear word adds impact and is lovely to behold.
I wholeheartedly agree