January 7th, 2005
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‘fuck’ or (making friends with four letter words)


My english teacher in art school John Grube taught me an important lesson about cursing. Well, not cursing really, more about the power that language holds. He said that when you use a word frequently you dilute it’s meaning. This is most noticable in the case of swearing. If you never swear, find a moment in conversation to inject the word ‘fuck’ and you will see what I mean. It holds a lot more weight than with someone who uses it as an adjective. People will know you mean business. But it must also be said with some force and confidence, (as Mike readily pointed out to me). You cannot tiptoe around it delicately (no mousy squeaks of “shit” or “damn”). It must not slide out unawares. The word must be thrown off the tongue like a shotput, kicking up dirt. O.k. maybe this is taking it a bit too far but I think you know what I’m getting at. Expletives are meant to be taken seriously. I should know, I have tried to avoid them particularly with my writing but also in my daily conversation for fear of offending or sounding crass. (All worries about what others think). But I do like the idea of having them sitting on the sidelines waiting for that perfect opportune moment, when one wants to inject some drama or sense of urgency to a topic. There is a sense of power in that, a way of invoking a reaction in your audience. And I for one would not like to shy away from a bit of drama.
I have talked to several friends who have also shyied away from swearing on their blogs for fear of upsetting people. So I am writing this for all of us. I might rather have avoided it too except I do believe in investigating the things we want to shy away from. I grew up fearing swear words because it often meant someone was angry (i feel slight knots in my stomach just writing that). I am just getting to know them again as an adult, seeing their power, understanding that they are not to be feared. But maybe even celebrated?
Let out your expletives. It feels good. Sit with them. They can teach you a lot about yourself.

 
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