I find our desire to swear kind of odd. I mean, all words have a greater meaning. The point of language is to condense complicated concepts into easy-to-process sounds so we can exchange complicated ideas. But swearing seems to be something a lot less complicated. It’s a way of adding emphasis. Or saying, ‘that hurt’. Or even just adding a pause into a sentence so you can get the rest of it sorted before saying it.
At some point, swear words had some meaning. Taking the Lord’s name in vain guaranteed a lifetime boiling in Satan’s personal barbecue pit. If you were willing to risk that, then what you were saying must be important.
But swear words these days? They don’t mean anything. Sure, they have literal meanings. ‘Fuck’ is to have sex, ‘shit’, ‘cunt’, ‘piss’ etc. I mean, we all know what they mean. But in the context they’re used, the literal meaning have almost no place. Every time you swear, you could take whatever word you were going to use and just say ‘swear’. Sure, there are a few occasions when you want the literal meaning but far more often you’ll have just hit your thumb with a hammer or just really fucking love ice cream.
(On a side-note, isn’t it interesting how all our swear words are to do with our bodies? Especially the icky, slimy bits of our bodies that are, none-the-less, biological necessities.)
We are taught by society, and we teach children, that these words are BAD. We don’t really go into the why’s. They’re just bad words and we shouldn’t say them. Even though they don’t really mean anything.
Then there are… other words. Words that do mean something. Words that are bad, because they hurt people. Like ‘bitch’, or ‘Oriental’, or ‘whore’, or using ‘gay’ as an insult. Yet if we try to tell people they shouldn’t use them, they get all precious about their freedom of speech and stick the ‘political correct Nazi’ badge on you.
Seriously, it’s not okay to refer to the fact that we defecate but it’s fine to reduce an entire race or gender or sexuality to sub-humanity. That doesn’t paint a very flattering portrait of us, folks.
And one of them is bleeped more than R2-D2, and the other has their right to speak supported by the highest court in their country. What a world, eh?