Sunday, 4 January 2015

SWEARING: Fun For All The Family

and not very grown-up
Emergency Exit: HERE

I've probably covered this before. Fuck it.
If you hadn't guessed, I really like swearing. I love to swear. Unlike many, many people who do it a lot, I'm very good at it. Just the other evening, in fact, a young man complimented me on my ability to deliver the word 'C**t'1 with the necessary verve to do it well2. I thank you, young man. And, speaking of small boys, my pre-teen son pointed out to me yesterday that I had taught him all the swearwords he knows3. This is true. He also pointed out that I had done so at bedtime, usually after we’d finished reading the daily portion of Narnia.

Fun and Educational
Well? What better way to learn them? We sit together giggling like fools and rolling lovely short vowels around in our mouths. Short vowels; chopped consonants. There is poetry in swearing, and therein lies its pleasure. Ok, he has heard me say them in anger, and I regret that; he chastises me for it. But he fully understands the difference between a well-placed profanity for humorous effect, and a diatribe of obscenities spouting from pure ignorance. Fuck me, the lad’s a sharp one4.
Here comes the point: there is poetry in swearing, and that is why it is pleasing to the ear. Here are some examples of my reasoning (I should point out at this stage, I feel, that I have conducted no research into my theories; I have consulted no Learned Linguists, nor have I pored over peer-reviewed papers; I haven’t even typed ‘nob’ into Wiki or Google. ’Sjust wot I fink. So there. I’m the fucking Pope):
SOMETIMES ONLY A SHORT VOWEL WILL DO. We know that Fuck, Piss, and Shit have their origins in Anglo-Saxon times. I don’t know if Anglo-Saxons shouted those words when they hit their thumbs with hammers, but the native tongue seems to require a short, punchy sound when such a thing happens. So knock yourself out. Latin and French aren’t going to do the job. And besides, ‘C**t’ was good enough for Chaucer.
Fun and Educational
POETRY PLEASE “Assonance means getting the rhyme wrong.”5 No, but ‘swan’ and ‘stone’ is a bad example. Assonance (the rhyming of the vowels but not the consonants) is immensely pleasing to the ear. I’d give you some other examples, but I can’t be arsed to come up with any – it’s late. But so often the rhyming vowels, the echoed syllable, form part of the pleasure in saying words like ‘motherfucker’; ‘bellend’; and ‘bollocks’ – which is particularly lovely as one’s tongue has to roll round that delightfully onomatopoeic -ollo- combination in the middle. It even resembles the male genitalia when written down. It’s an absolute gift.
Furthermore, the proof of this theory lies in the propensity for creative compound swearing. Admittedly we have moved on from the tame and tabloidesque ‘studmuffin’, but who hasn’t laughed immoderately when a much-esteemed social media acquaintance accuses one of ‘cockwombling fuckmuffery’? The little scamps.
Poop-chute. Bunglec**t. Jizz-Wizard. Fucktrumpet. Not very grown-up; don’t care
SEXIST? MOI? There are numerous objections to the use of references to the female genitalia in pejorative terms. Again, that’s not an argument I wish to go into. However, whilst no-one is in doubt of one’s meaning when one refers to another as a ‘twat’, one may be equally sure that, had one said ‘prick’, ‘dickhead’, ‘cock’ or ‘nobstick’, no compliment was intended either. 
Nobstick. See, that’s funny.

Fun and Educational

1 There is no hypocrisy in the asterisks. 'C**t' tops the official Ofcom list of words found offensive by the British public6, and though I use it, I don't do so on stage or social media. I don't intend to cause offence, believe it or not. I know where to draw the line. Sort of
2 ‘Pussy’ is another one. Very few can say that word at all. They’re so afraid of it that it comes out as ‘Pissy’. For fuck’s sake, People. If you’re that afraid of it, don’t even try
3 Within reason. I’m a Lady. He’s got plenty more to learn yet
4 He has never, ever sworn in anger, in my hearing. What he says with his peers is his business. He keeps it out of the house
5 Frank, in ‘Educating Rita’, by Willy Russell
6 Now, that is actual research. I downloaded the .pdf and everything

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