This item may contain profanities, or not. It will however contain criticisms of the use of profanities, those who use them successfully in contextual scarcity may wish to skip this one. It will also contain rather skewed humour as well…..
Anyhow, to task
I mean to say, what is it about as some of us say in the UK ‘ Effin’ & Blindin’’ or to use another rough-edged term ‘Effin’ & Jeffin’’? If you go back to the 1960s such language was found in places where honest labour took place, in Lenny Bruce shows, in the military, a clutch of rock bands and everyone was happy (shocked but happy, ‘cause that’s where you were expected to find it). I don’t know about other countries but a few of our more precious dramatists used to ostentatiously flitter words about as a means to draw attention to themselves with all the aplomb of a drowning person calling out for help…..Annndddd then everyone hauls on the bandwagon and starts using ‘explicit lyrics’, ‘realistic language’ and such forth, until what do we get?
We get it in day to day use, that’s what we, fffffffiddlin’well get! And what does that mean! I tell you what that means dear reader, a man can’t have a decent swearing session anymore ‘cause there everywhere you go someone is peppering their sentences. And Heavens T’ Betsy in my neck of the woods it does make them sound like knuckle-draggers.
“Yeh, wull, I f****in’ well told ‘im. I did!..Uh! f****in’ door won’t f****in’ open. F**** it!” (that would be because you’re pushing a door marked ‘Pull’..yes we all do it, but with that speech prefacing it, it makes you sound all kinds of stupid).
Now, y’see, in my reading of Victorian humour one reads of ‘such violence’ of language and in accounts of the American Civil War of high ranking officers having a fund of profane language- and that leaves everything up to the imagination. In our time we just ‘F’ or have permutations on the theme of genitalia and excretion and it’s all pretty dull. I see a cd with ‘Warning This Contain Explicit Lyrics’ and I say yeh-yeh- big yawn and imagine some agent berating the performer for leaving the required content out (How we gonna sell da F****ing album!!”).
Nah sorry folks but it’s all growing old, tired and weary. The old adage ‘People who swear only do so because they can’t think of the right words’ is starting to take form. So what are we do to to give vent unto our stronger feelings?
My dear wife, grandmother to 5 and reader of biblical texts at Mass, when forcing Word to type poetry in a poetical format and not a business presentation puts such true vehemence and feelings into traditional swearing that members of the Armed Forces would be proud to have her in their presence. This feat is strengthened by her application of phrases such a ‘Look! When Word I *** say I want you to….’ Or ‘Don’t you **** about with me Word!’ in short she uses swearing with contextual intention to reinforce.
Sadly I cannot be so focussed. So I am required to make other accommodations
When I was in my last employment being the sole male on the team and actually having a team leader who did take a dim view of profanities, these were applied by me:
‘Oh fudge!!’ (which I see has graced Marvel comics on more than one occasion), and has the gift of conveying just what you mean with a certain whimsicality.
‘Oh bother! Said Pooh’ I could say this all day and being 60+ and close to retirement it was seen as a sign of my succumbing to the eccentricities of age earlier than most .’
‘Curiouser and curiouser. Said Alice,’ normally used when confronted by a new and incomprehensible office dictate, or other such gubbinz. My darling wife tells me that in was in Alice in Wonderland that the word was first used, and even to this day Word underlines it and suggests ‘Carouser’, which for me speaks volumes about the Word programmers.
And finally ‘Oh fornacazoni!’ (this was invented by the late Michael Green, UK readers might remember him as the author of the ‘Art of Coarse’ books. In this case it was a word he claimed to use of public golf courses and telling folk it was an old Italian oath translating as ‘May my grandmother turn into a three-legged pig’)
Since then I have been on the constant look out for new expressions of annoyance, and must thank Rachael Ritchley for introducing me to ‘Oh Shooty Durns!’, which has become a household favourite.
Then being a fantasy writer I can invent a whole dictionary, Such words as ‘scraith’ ‘bull-blasts’ ‘wobbler!’ and ‘frib’ abound (although the latter seems to also be in use as a urban slang). Even better I have one character who makes up her own as she goes along.
In short dear reader we have to be inventive and imaginative, if swearing is to return to its satisfying release of anger and venom upon such sly objects as the hammer which slips at the last moment from the nail to your thumb, or the cowardly furniture which lurches at your toe in the dark. And that most vile of creatures The Computer whose crimes are manifold From there we can move to more shocking outbursts made by our characters, who when they say whatever they say the reader knows they really mean it.
And in conclusion, let us forget the good old…….. ‘raspberry’ in its many permutations, and still controversial in how it should be spelt when written.
Thus I conclude, because I must attend to a passage of dialogue in which one character leaves the other one in no doubt as to vehemence of their feelings on being under fire from a pirate ship (they are seriously p—-eeved about the whole thing)