Creative Destruction

June 11, 2007

About the Word “Fuck”

Filed under: Content-lite,Free Speech — Brutus @ 11:18 pm

Slate has a brief article about the word “fuck,” among other expletives. The launching point is a longer article in the NY Times about a court ruling that the bars the FCC from fining radio and television stations that broadcast obscene language.

It’s clear to anyone who goes out in public that we Americans have become a bunch of rude fuckers. In office suites, classrooms, sports arenas, public transportation, restaurants, and the floor of Congress, the use of profanity is so matter of fact one wonders why we even bother to pretend that such language is off limits to children. Indeed, as both articles indicate, expletives have lost their power to offend over time, enough that relaxed standards of decorum allow anyone to use foul language in most any situation with impunity. (Don’t try that at your next job interview, though.)

Personally, I’m a product of the same cultural environment as the rest of America, so there is nary a word that raises my hackles anymore, even when clearly spoken with intent to offend. The same is probably true (of me, at least) of so-called fighting words, such as insultingone’s mother or family. But on the street, it’s not at all uncommon to see people up in each other’s faces over the slightest provocation.

The funny thing to me about the court’s ruling in favor 0f free speech (obscene speech that has lost its sting — especially when blurted out the way “darn” or “shoot” use to be) is that it runs so contrary to the motives of the current governing class. (Ban it, and pretend it doesn’t exist.) It’s clearly an idea (relax, man) whose time has come in practice if not quite yet in manners. And how proud must the author of the Slate article to put her research, writing, and journalistic skills to work on such an engaging subject. The whole business is in fact so banal, why even bother?

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5 Comments »

  1. brutus sez:

    And how proud must the author of the Slate article to put her research, writing, and journalistic skills to work on such an engaging subject.

    greywhitie sez:

    yeah, i have bigger fish to fry, too. some people literally “taste” words in their mouths. i am not one of those folks, but the word in question just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Comment by greywhitie — June 12, 2007 @ 10:18 am | Reply

  2. …the word in question just leaves a bad taste in my mouth

    Does it taste like shit?

    Comment by Daran — June 14, 2007 @ 4:24 am | Reply

  3. i’ve never tasted shit, so i can’t say.

    Comment by greywhitie — June 14, 2007 @ 7:50 am | Reply

  4. I remember a time when RAW from Eddy Murphy was put on TV without any problem on one of the three networks. But the FCC is right, many young babies who enjoyed the comedy of Eddy have now turned into a bunch of degenerate 30 year olds. The damage done is incredible. We must stop the spread of this evil word. I think Osama is behind this…

    I agree, why bother!

    Comment by Vilon — June 28, 2007 @ 4:49 pm | Reply

  5. “Fuck” is no longer particularly offensive.

    You know what word is offensive?

    Nigger.

    That word is offensive. It wasn’t always unspeakable, but it is today.

    Comment by Doug S. — July 12, 2007 @ 11:32 am | Reply


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