"Hey, what did Tourette's Syndrome sufferers say before the introduction of swear words?" - Hocked Box
Zoe Williams appears in The Age with a column about the 'reclamation of the C-word'. Yeah, 'cunt'. Ironically, in the same column, every mention of the C-word has been censored. Now that's a c-word I'd like to hear less of ...
The mistake feminists make, when they object to the c-word but never approach it and never use it, is to think that it will slip discreetly out of the language. Of course it won't! It's the rudest word we've got, in the entire language. It's like thinking the secret of nuclear fission is just going to disappear. (This was a point not lost on Inga Muscio, who made a splash with her book Cunt: A Declaration of Independence.)
But the Vagina Warriors' claim to be up to a certain job, claim to be iconoclasts, then go home at 4.30. They're the plumbers of the warrior world. Bring on the Cunt Warriors.
An Opinion Fucking Column of My Own
People have been fucking arguing about swearing for fucking ages, and I've got to tell you, the whole thing is pretty fucking tedious. The debate pretty much relies on pedantic fucking arguments about meaning and shitful whining about context.
I'll start off by giving you one fucking example of this: if I call someone a cunt, does that make me a cunt? Is it a cunting thing to do to call a cunt a cunt? Should I use a different word, even if that person is a cunt?
Now, there are a lot of people who get the shits when you use the swear word 'cunt', since they say it degrades a completely fucking beautiful part of the female body. They're right about the last part, but I don't see why that means why anyone should stop using the word 'cunt'.
Well, what about dickheads? If I call a dickhead a dickhead, does that make me a cunt? After all, it's an insult based on what a lot of people would consider to be a completely fucking beautiful part of the male body.
Things get fucking complicated at this point, because feminists sometimes argue that the swear word 'cunt' is stronger than the swear word 'dickhead', and that because of this, while the swear word 'dickhead' is offensive, the swear word 'cunt' is truly fucking offensive. And, I've got to admit, this argument has me completely fucking stumped. Sure, the word 'cunt' is stronger the word 'dickhead', but I've no fucking idea how you could measure this offensiveness. It's a pretty fucked-up notion - some word being 'more' offensive than some other word. And is it a bad thing? Some friends of mine once said they liked the swear word 'cunt' because it was more powerful than 'dickhead'. They had cunts themselves, which I guess made them kind of an authority on the matter. So does it even fucking matter in the long run if 'cunt' is more offensive than 'dick'?
There are shitloads of other examples. Calling someone an arsehole is an insult to the arsehole. There's a lot that could be said for the arsehole. Not only does the arsehole take a lot of shit from us, but it gets fucked up occasionally, too. So why should we call an arsehole an 'arsehole', further degrading the reputation of the arsehole? And of course, who could fucking forget 'fucking'? Fucking is a beautiful thing. We should all fuck more often. So why should we fucking use the swear word 'fucking' every second sentence? It's a complete fucking travesty, I tell you!
The only trouble is, if we followed this fucking argument very far, then I think we'd be in worse fucking trouble than before. (I'll get back to that argument in a fucking second, if you don't fucking mind.)
One acquaintance of mine once told me that she didn't mind the use of swear words, but that she didn't want them to be fucking gratuitous. Now she's got a pretty frigging good point, I thought. But then I thought about it a bit more, and I realised that pretty much any swear word in any situation at all could be seen as gratuitous. How crappy was that? I mean, here's is just one fucking example:
The Haiku Of The Happy Man In The Truck.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck:
I like riding in my truck!
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!
In this poem, the speaker uses the expletive 'fuck' repeatedly and gratuitously to express his happiness. Can you fucking imagine what would happen if we had to fucking change that?
The Haiku Of The Happy Man In The Truck #2
Oh, it's just my luck:
I like riding in my truck!
Oh, it's just my luck!
The fucking meaning is changed completely. Of course, we could try to write a third version -
The Haiku Of The Happy Man In The Truck #3
Joy, joy, joy, joy, joy:
I like riding in my truck!
Joy, joy, joy, joy, joy!
- but this time, though the meaning is there, the rhyme has disappeared. And what's the fucking point of a poem without rhymes? Rhymes are sometimes the most fucking pleasant thing about them.
The point is, sometimes even when swear words are gratuitous, they're the most fucking natural expression possible. Sometimes, as shitty as it seems, we just have to rely upon the author to make their own choices over whether to use swear words.
And in case you're not convinced by that, let's try a different example. Let's imagine what a shitful place the world would turn out to be if some arsehole banned expletives. Here's just a few examples of common phrases that would change - and the list is pretty fucking long, let me tell you:
[Banned expletive] hell!
[Banned expletive/adjective] you!
Shit for brains!
[Banned noun] for brains!
Fuck off and die. [Banned adjective] and die.
And here is just one paragraph which could be banned:
[Banned expletive] hell, [Banned expletive/adjective] you, [Banned expletive]face [Banned noun] for brains! [Banned adjective] and die!
This practice would leave the robust Australian vernacular language completely rooted, sucking all the life out of it. Whole sentences would lose meaning and potency. Heck, some people probably wouldn't be able to speak at all! Is that what we fucking well want?
But Tim, I hear you cry, enough of these fucking examples! Fucking get on with it!
Al-fucking-right already! Besides, I was just coming to my main point. My main point is this: behind a lot of these arguments is a simpler, more persistent, argument: If you are able to control the language, you are able to control the people who talk. In other words, if we can stop people 'fuck'ing and 'shit'ing and 'cunt'ing and 'arsehole'ing - if we could alter the meaning of the English language in this basic way - then we would be able to control people. Just to give you one example: according to some feminists, if we stopped using the word 'cunt' in a derogatory fashion, then an item of discrimination would be wiped from the English language, and society would be the better for it.
Now this idea, I think, is a lot more fucking offensive than swear words are. If you start wanking about the 'meaning' and 'use' of words in the English language, then you're up shit creek without a paddle. Pretty soon, everybody will be wanking on about the 'meaning' and 'use' of words. And if everybody kept on fucking redefening the language, we would have no fucking way of understanding one another.
Despite all this wanking about the 'context' and 'power' that certain words have, language is first and foremost for communication. The attempts by groups to change the English language by changing the meaning of this word, and throwing that word out, are absolutely fucked up.
And that's fucking all I've got to say. Now why don't you all go and get fucked? And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
- John Bangsund's Threepenny Planet
- Broken Biro
- Poetry 24
- Superlative scribbles
- Kirstyn McD!
- Rorrim a tsomla almost a mirror
- More Sterne
- Cam the man from the Dan.
- Too hot to Raaaaaaandallllllll!
- Erin's Excellently Everlasting Effervescements!
- Slammy Infamy
- Hail Paco!
- Baron Blandwagon, purveyor of cyberbunnies, hawker of Roger Corman, and Misruler of the Multiverse
- The Bolta. Aiyeeeeee!!!!!
- Bad Apple Audrey
- The cartoon church
- Sir Martinkus
- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
- A hodge podge of hotzeplotz
- THE SLAMMA!
- Jottlesby's nottings, or should that be Nottlesby's jottings?
- The Snarking of the Hunt
- Jazzy Hands
- David of Metal City
- David the Barista
- The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
- Be an Opinion Dominion Minion!
- ... and Fel
- His brilliant career - from whale sushi to crumbed prawn
- Jo Blogs
- Yet another Tim
- Was two peas, now three peas
- ... Still Life - now with extra rotating cats!
- An Amazingly Awesome Australian Ampersand!
- Blink and you'll miss 'er
- Red in the land of the tigers!
- Wire of Vibe
- Chase him, ladies, he's in the cavalry!
- The Non-palindromical Editrix in Germanium
- Old Sterne
- The briefs...
- ... and the brieflets
- The Purple Blog
- Blairville, lair of all that is wicked and perfidious
- The enticingly acronymical CSH
- EXTREEEEEEEME WYNTER!
- Mark of California
- Silent Speaking
- Lexicon the Mexican
- ► 2015 (81)
- ► 2014 (135)
- ► 2013 (173)
- ► 2012 (275)
- ► 2011 (261)
- ► 2010 (288)
- ► 2009 (290)
- ► 2008 (316)
- ► 2007 (392)
- Spring Cleaning in Winter
- Here, Swear, and Everyswear
- Obligatory Self-Congratulatory Post: Tick!
- Would You Like To Be A Modernist?
- Review: Sarah Silverman
- Hair Today, More Tomorrow
- Why It's Usually Not A Good Idea To Write About In...
- Latin Lesson
- Important Thought About Foreign Policy
- Exhibitionism of a Cheap and Demeaning Nature
- An Eight Person Monologue
- Thinking About Thinking Some More
- The Writer to Bear Arms
- A Thoughtful Post
- Copywhiting Right
- What The Hell
- Jolly Follies with the Ruling Class
- More Peotry
- A Guide To The Guide to the Melbourne Internationa...
- An Explanation of Romance
- A Thought About Food
- Radio Notional
- Curious Ideas For Interviews
- The Pope's in Rome
- Sitting To Attention
- Black Hole Boobage
- A Review of the Previews: The Films You Don't Pay ...
- The Sounds of Nature #3
- The Wisdom of Tim
- Absolutely Degusting!
- Unspirational Mail
- Unquote of Note
- Misunderestimated Malapropositions
- The Adventures of Snidy - with Colourful Pictures!...
- ▼ July (35)
- ► 2005 (287)