I recently mentioned to someone on twitter that I want to do a blog post on “bad words” but I was too lazy to do research. I’m still too lazy to do research, but here is a post anyway. Had I done research, I would begin this post with a history of the words and maybe discussed how they were man made and that society has decided that they are “bad” so technically, society could at any time decide they are no longer “bad”. The only non-negotiables would be the ones taking the Lord’s name in vain. That is not a man made rule and can’t be changed by man. The rest? All societal based. Maybe some day I won’t be too lazy to flesh out that part. Today is not that day.
What I will talk about is intent. Society has decided that the above words are bad and that we shouldn’t say them. As you can see from the title(adapted from the TV edit of Snakes on a Plane) we get by this by replacing the “bad words” with words that society has decided are ok. We use words like darn, dang it, fudge, oh my gosh, etc. when we really mean the other ones. My question is, if you really want to say f&@$ and instead you say fudge in the same exact tone of voice isn’t the intent the same and in essence, making fudge a bad word in that instance? If I’m driving and I get angry( a common occurrence) and I yell fudge instead of the other word is that really better? Wouldn’t it be better to deal with my anger instead? In non- anger situations, wouldn’t it be better to just expand your vocabulary than using “better bad words”? If I decide a random word offends me, can I justifiably ask others to stop saying it? Finally, are we too caught up on the “bad words”? Does it really matter that much, especially in written work if the author uses these words?