Friday, April 13, 2007

F***in' Profanity

In visiting various people's sites 'n blogs, the usage of profanity always sticks out at me.

Not in that I am offended by it, but I'm always interested in how people use it, particularly when they mask the word in some way.

I do this masking thing, too. Why do I do this? Maybe for the protection of the random 2nd grader that is browsing my latest love letter to Captain Beefheart, who'll stumble upon an especially excited sentence of mine where I expound on the f***ing polyrhythm drum part.

Or, is it that the word itself looks too vulgar sitting right there staring at you?

How much mask is required? How much is too little, too much? If people know what you're typing, even when you mask it, how is it any different?

I dunno, maybe it's somehow the equivalent of Jon Stewart swearing on The Daily Show. You know what he's saying, and he knows you know what he is saying, but somehow the "bleeped" presentation of the profanity is less blatant, and subdued, and maybe undercut a bit. He's operating within some boundaries -- it's swearing with a wink and a nudge.

So, I present some mask examples, followed by some alternatives to masking.

Standard Meat 'N Potatoes Masking
f*cking - No one is kidding anyone here.
f***ing - Hey, he could be saying "funning".


Substitution
frigging
fecking

This isn't very satisfying. Makes you sound like a chickensh*t.


Abbreviation
f'ing

Comes in handy sometimes. Occasionally works used in polite conversation.


Phonetic
phucking

I don't know, something about it doesn't work. It makes me think of ducks, and still seems like a vulgar word. If you can use this and make it work, I give respect to you.


Complete symbolic nonsense
@?#!?%!&*$%

I think of this as too reminiscent of comic books or Mad Magazine. It's too confusing. You don't know for sure what dirty word the person is trying to use.

7 comments:

MostHorrible said...

Insightful and accurate. Without checking too deeply, I'm fairly certain that I swear on my blog with no masking. Thinking back, the word I self-edit the most is c*nt. Because I want continued access to them, and the bearers of said item seem to take the most offense at that one.

Bubs said...

Now I am paralyzed by the realization that I have no consistent policy on profanity. Usually I use the traditional "*" in the middle of the f-word, and other times I use the whole d*mn word. Who the f*ck knows what I'm going to do next? I know I don't.

lulu said...

I either use the word, or call it the "F-bomb". The only word I don't use on my blog is the "C word" although I use it in real life far too often. I am

Dale said...

I often say effing but that's because I'm a fucking idiot.

Mob said...

I tend to let the expletives fly, but I figure people who check into a blog titled Dear Bastards have at least some idea what they're in for...

Kate said...

I've taken to using Eff. Eff it. Turns out, if you type it enough you start using it in regular speech. My profanity usage goes way down.

I try anyway.

Splotchy said...

Man, even when you think of all the possible ways of swearing, there's still more out there.

It's effing beautiful!