The Proper Use of Profanity

Picture: Jeremy Foo (CC)

Noah Brand writes at the Good Men Project:

I’m going to warn everyone right now: the language in this post is going to be pretty fucking strong. There are going to be nasty, derogatory references to male and female genitalia, bodily functions, sexual acts, and some hygiene products. Some of these will be offensive to almost any set of sensibilities. That is, I must admit, kinda the point. You may want to stop reading now, in fact.

It’s about time someone wrote a proper article on how to use English profanity effectively. I look at the young people today hoping that TYPING IN ALL CAPS will make their weak, unstructured swearing more impressive, and all I feel is pity. English is perhaps the most exquisitely expressive language on Earth, with a working vocabulary twice the size of most languages, and a history of pure invective that can stand up against any living tongue. Any truly fluent English speaker should be able to use all the words, even the rude ones. No, especially the rude ones.

Ask yourself: how often in your daily life do you need to describe someone as ebullient, and how often do you need to describe someone as a bottom-feeding prick? How often is your personal situation temeritous, and how often is it utterly fucked? To embrace profanity is to embrace the stuff of everyday life, and be far more able to discuss it realistically.

Some might question my qualifications to lecture others on how to swear. To this I can only offer a brief biographical sketch. My late mother had a godawful habit of ordering flat-packed furniture by mail and not wanting to assemble or arrange it. These tasks she quite sensibly delegated to her son. My understanding with mom was this: I would assemble whatever damn thing she ordered and arrange it however the fuck she wanted, but she forfeited any right to complain about any fucking language I employed in the dick-wrenchingly unpleasant process of putting those ungodly cocksuckers together.

Point is, I got an awful lot of practice swearing. Fucking Ikea.

The fact is, English profanity is a form of poetry. The rules and guidelines of English poetry provide structures and forms with which we can understand how best to cuss in this glorious, filthy language of ours.

No, I’m not kidding.

Read more here.

8 Comments on "The Proper Use of Profanity"

  1. DeepCough | Aug 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm |

    Fuck this useless cunt of an article.

  2. Absofuckinglutely!

  3. Jimpliciter | Aug 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm |

    Agreed. Ribaldry is but a form of rhetoric.

  4. I have a spoken tendency to over-use fuck as a verb, adjective and predicate.
    For which I receive flack from time to fucking time.
    My snappy rejoinder to the complainer is:
    I have found that using words like: pusillanimous, obsequious, extirpation and sardonic
    leaves many people fucking perplexed
    but every one understands fuck everywhere in the world.

  5. Schmiedersmith | Aug 23, 2012 at 5:34 am |

    what does it main use for the Profanity ?

  6. lucifer69 | Aug 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm |

    Profanity is a man made thing. It’s all just words who some give meaning.

  7. Noah, your profanity cred is admirable, but i think I have you beaten: Son of a Navy man. Played lots of sports. Joined the Marines. Served a tour on the drill field at MCRD San Diego. Became a magazine editor dealing with freelancers, staffers, publishers, advertisers, PR flacks and photographers. I could melt the skin off your skull if I so chose to do so. Carry on. LOL.

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