Defending the Indefensible: Swearing
IN DEFENCE OF SWEARING
‘Stick and Stones may break my bones……”
This article isn’t about whether swearing constitutes as a lack of intelligence. To even get involved in that debate shows more about your intelligence than your language ever could. What this is about is the superiority complex anti-swearers have over swearers and a defence of swearers all over the world. .
“Can you please watch your language” is one of the most egotistical sentences a person can say. It basically translates to “I do not find this worthy to hear”. It’s censorship. It’s the words of someone who believes their ideals are more worthy than yours. If you ever hear this phrase I demand you to carry on speaking as you normally would. Don’t over do in an act of anarchy and provocation. Just speak the language you see fit to speak. If someone is offended by your language then that’s their right but they don’t have the right to adjust your actions to suit their values. Take a step back and think about how nonsensical the comment of ’Can you please watch your language’ actually is. They are simply saying that they want you to change your character because they don’t feel your actions are as righteous as theirs.
I don’t like it when people say they like Pink Floyd. I think they are vastly overrated but when I hear their fans eulogising over them, I don’t go up and say ‘I don’t appreciated that band, can you stop mentioning them’. I hate Mushrooms. They taste like paper to me but I don’t go up to people eating them in a restaurant and say ‘can you remove those vulgar things from your plate please, I do not find them worthy to eat or see’.
People will say that you can’t class swearing alongside hobbies and tastes but I disagree. The language that we use is the essence of the outer us. The language we use says as much about us as our hobbies, tastes and passions. If people dislike the language you use then it’s the same as them disliking your favourite art.
It’s true to say that nobody likes the boorish oaf in a pub who shouts and swears to the point where it puts you off your own shouting and swearing. When you take a step back though, is it really the language that offends you? Or is it the context in which the words used. The language used in conversation is often of little importance in the end. It’s the message behind the words. All spoken and written word is about communication. That’s the only point to it. To get across a feeling inside of you. The words you use don’t make you what you are, it’s the message behind your words. As stated before the words themselves are as much a footnote to your overall being as a hobby or a passion. It’s the philosophy of your views that mean something not the words you use to explain them. The shouting and aggressiveness of the clown who’s had one too many Jagerbombs is the real nuisance not the words he uses to express his repulsiveness.
‘I only swear when I’m angry’ is another classic line from the swear-haters. This quote is used as some sort of pass into the world of acceptable swearing for the charlatans in question. It’s like saying ‘I only murder people when I’m upset’. The natural reaction of an injury is often to swear. Researches at Keele University actually discovered that swearing relieves the effects of physical pain. This in turn means that swearing, maybe above all other words in our language, actually transcends simple communication and heeds our physical distress. In this circumstance the swear word proves itself to be of vast importance to our very health.
”I hit myself in the face twice a day and it doesn’t hurt cos I shout TWAT”
It’s also worth noting that swear words are as emotional and evocative as the word love. Maybe even more so. The word love is soon ceasing to mean anything. “I love my new car”, “I love my new job”. Love is the most overused word in our society. It is used so carelessly that it can’t possibly be taken seriously anymore. On the other hand the strongest way to connect with a person is when you swear with them or at them. A choice swear word acts a safety blanket when new people meet. It’s a way of saying ‘I’m the same as you’. It immediately puts both parties at ease. When you are angry with someone there can be little doubt that the adding of a swear word in your rant makes the other person know that you are being totally serious.
Of course the greatest thing about the power of swear words and their effectiveness is that it’s their detractors that have made them so powerful and effective. The continued outrage at swearing gives the words themselves such an emphatic strength that no other words can compete. Other than the performances themselves, what do people most recall about the first Live Aid? Bob Geldof swearing on live TV in the afternoon. Many people have commented since that his ‘outburst’ (he actually just said “Fuck The Address” not the often quoted “Give us your fucking money”) made people sit up and really take notice of what they were watching. We must thank the anti-swearers for this as it’s them who made Geldof’s simple quote make such an impression on the viewers.
”Give me all yer fecking money”
So should you be able to swear in front of anyone? In the case of children, that’s a matter for the parent to decide. A parent has every right to criticize you for the language you use in front of their kid for one simple reason – It’s they who have to explain your language to their child afterwards. The child you are swearing in front of is unlikely to know how much hostility they will receive in everyday life by using certain words. Some parents explain what swear words are to their children whilst others feel it’s better to keep them away from the language for as long as possible. That’s a parents decision and one they will do in the best interests of their child. A child exposed to swear words who doesn’t understand the powerful nature of them in our society may use them and be left to pay the consequences through no fault of their own.
Pogo on that
So, I agree that swearing in front of children is not a good idea. They haven’t evolved intellectually, emotionally or socially to be able to cope with sheer clout of these words. This brings me on to my next point. People who say ‘I swear but not in front of women’. By saying this these people are classing women in the same bracket as a child. That they don’t have the intellectual or emotional capacity to deal with such words. It’s sexism at it’s most blinkered. I was of the impression that in this day and age Men and Women should be seen as equals. I simply can’t fathom why someone would swear in front of men but not women unless they have just come from the year 1914. Of all the anti-swearing arguments not swearing in front of women is by far the most nonsensical. These people aren’t even saying you shouldn’t swear just that you shouldn’t swear in front of a woman who has not been exposed to such language from her kitchen.
So swear words are just words. Incredibly powerful words. Not powerful because they have the historical significance of a word like ‘Nigger’, powerful because the people who fight against them have made them that way. Whilst ever people condemn swearing it will remain the most powerful form of communication.
One Other Thing
One thing I haven’t concentrated on in this article is the Bible’s view on swearing. The Bible does state that it is a sin to swear. It’s worth noting though that The Bible also states ’God Is No Respecter Of Persons‘ which is quite clearly the first ever Gangsta Rap lyric. It’s reasonable to suggest that God was in fact the first person to cuss in his songs. Obviously due to the language they didn’t receive radio play at the time but there is NO evidence in The Bible that proves God wasn’t making tracks about his beef with Satan back in the day. In fact it’s clear that the real reason God is held in such great esteem isn’t because he created the world, it’s because he never went into acting and had the decency to retire when he said he would. Something the current crop of rappers could learn a lot from
Written By Jim Haginson