Wednesday, October 3, 2007


This post is specifically for you, Great Great Grandrelative. I imagine some entries will bore you but this one is directly for your interests -which are of course, what my interest would be if I could read my Great Great Grandrelative's journal. Enjoy my assumptions.

This post is abut the word 'fuck'. I used it in my last entry. It was dramatic but I don't know if you picked up on its weight. The word fuck is a taboo; it is widely recognized in my culture as inappropriate. Even when it is used in the proper context (anger) or as a joke or for academic discussion it is still considered crass and improper. Sometimes you can discuss the word fuck by saying 'the f word' and people will accept this watering down. Simply by writing it in this entry I have ensured that responsible parents will not let their children read it.

When I was young, the word was wrapped in mystery as I'm sure it was for the majority of kids. I knew it was bad and only for use by older people and I was completely unaware of its secret, adult meeting. The word suggests sexual intercourse (as in "she fucked him") and that's what makes it such a mysterious word for children. But the word also has very strong connotations of violence and aggression. It's often used when someone is angry (as in "I fucking hate you"). In this context it does not mean sexual intercourse. However when people say "fuck you" or "go fuck yourself" it is clear to me that it makes sadly connects sexual intercourse with violence, control, and anger.

Some people write it on a shirt because they know their not supposed to. It's an easy way to offend people and it's an easy way to express anger. We all understand that the word fuck represents an extreme. Because of this it can also be used in humour because, although in appropriate, it can be used flippantly to exaggerate simple things (as in "I fucking love eating ice cream").

I have heard various theories about the etymology of the world. Some people say it is an archaic legal acronym other people say it came from medieval slang. We love our stories.

You can use the word fuck with your friends and the worst thing that would happen is that they would know you as the person who swears. But if you use it at work or with strangers you will be seen as unprofessional, impolite, and angry. Maybe you want to be seen that way.

I have met someone who used the word fuck with such habit that they became numbed to its effects. They used it to place emphasis on everything. In this context I never took offense to the word. But I felt sad that their vernacular was going to drive other people away and they wouldn't understand why. I have another friend who completely refuses to say fuck or shit, or asshole at any time. Those are other words for another time.

This fashion company prints these shirts with the word fuck misspelled. Have they violated a taboo? Some people think yes some people think no. That's what makes it popular with young people.


Lisa said...

ahhh Peter, I can't read this blog it hurts my eyes too much. I literally couldn't get past the first paragraph. If you like the look of white on black, can you do light blue on dark grey?

Lisa said...

problem solved! I'll read it in my rss reader, then when I come to comment, just blur my eyes a bit! Taa-daa!

bingo jackabee said...

Good call lfar. Under closer review I didn't like reading those colours either. This amateur thanks the pro.

Lisa said...

Thanks- it's absolutely perfect now!

Davey said...

Peter... I came across this today and thought you might like it.

Why We Curse: What the F***?

It's a relatively long article, but I find that most articles that are worth reading usually are. Especially with quotes like:

"There are figures of speech that put obscene words to other uses, such as the barnyard epithet for insincerity, the army acronym snafu, and the gynecological-flagellative term for uxorial dominance."

Dave Han.

bingo jackabee said...


This is definitely my favourite part of that article because I find it hilariously terrifying.

"Consider two consenting adults who have just had sex. Has everyone had fun? Not necessarily. One partner might see the act as the beginning of a lifelong relationship, the other as a one-night-stand. One may be infecting the other with a disease. A baby may have been conceived, whose welfare was not planned for in the heat of passion. If the couple is related, the baby may inherit two copies of a deleterious recessive gene and be susceptible to a genetic defect. There may be romantic rivals in the wings who would be enraged with jealousy if they found out, or a cuckolded husband in danger of raising another man's child, or a two-timed wife in danger of losing support for her own children. Parents may have marriage plans for one of the participants, involving large sums of money or an important alliance with another clan. And, on other occasions, the participants may not both be adults, or may not both be consenting."