Swearing (courtesy of WP and DP)

Dear dear me.

I so don’t like to do this but……..

It’s not only the WordPress weekly photochallenge, it’s becoming the Daily Post challenge.

For those of you who don’t read the Daily Post the latest topic is swearing.

Sensitive readers of whom I have loads, may not wish to read further as I will use a few swear words.

Truth is, I don’t give a shit whether someone says ‘fuck’ or not. Just, who cares in life?

Apparently some people do. And make judgements about the people who do. Their social class for example. Their intelligence.

I’d expect a group of mechanics in a garage to be somewhat more rounded in their language than a group of college professors and any story should take this into account.

There are times when you are writing a story and the setting in the story might call for swearing. I mean, let’s say you have your character surrounded by a gang of really mean and tough guys. Are those guys going to be saying things like shoot, heck, or dang it?

Thus, it is OK for the garbage to swear in one’s books or stories, but if all the good guys do as well or instead, it is spreading the message that this is a cool way to behave.

I have found that people, in general, usually outgrow the need to feel big by using words that make them feel more powerful.

It is my experience that those who swear the most are often the least able to reason through a logical argument. There is something about swearing that shuts down the reasoning center of our mind.

I’ve never found it a need~ it usually incites contention.

I wrote about this in my blog and my point is that “cursing kills creativity”.

Profanity? The feeble attempt of a weak mind to express itself forcefully.

Swearing is not necessary at all unless its in front of the judge .

You can check it out at The Daily Post.

Where, needless to state, I have been taken to task. I have been judgemental and insulted people (nothing new there is there?) because I have suggested that such attitudes are archaic, and that the use of the term cursing is out of date.

Cursing is the sort of word my grandmothers would have used, and even they switched to swearing. If loads of Americans still use it, that’s up to them, but where I come from it’s no longer used. Ergo, it is quaint.

More to the point, the attitudes about what sort of person swears.

Mechanics not college professors?

Bad guys not good guys?

People who can’t think straight?

Whoa! Whoa!

That was what got up my snotty cloudy roughseas nose bigtime.

Those are extremely pejorative and biased assumptions. They are totally classist and bigoted.

With which, I have to relate an anecdote. One of my faves. On one of the newspapers I worked for, one colleague came from down south. She had a superb Queen’s English accent and had embarked on a career as an actress. Realising that wasn’t going too far, she turned to journalism instead.

One day, an extremely bad hair day (she had wild curly hair), she reversed into a parking space which was claimed by another woman. She tried to be reasonable with the owner of said car, but started getting bored with the conversation, and said ‘Oh just fuck off.’ There is nothing, but nothing, like someone with a perfect English accent saying ‘fuck off”.

‘Ooooh, I knew you would speak like that. You posh bitches always do.’

Anyway, while religious America gets its knickers in a twist accusing everyone who swears of being ill-educated, moronic, and unthinking, I would just like to remind you all that my colleague had a degree in English and History from a prestigious UK university, a qualification in journalism, and a posh accent.

Please, those bad words are not reserved for building sites. Us educated types use them too. We can occasionally also string together a reasonable discussion/argument/POV.

My parents used two swear words. Bugger and bloody. Neither of which I tend to use these days. My father was rather racy and used shit, which my mother did not like.

But it was my subversive university days that caused the damage. I came home using the F word. Much to their annoyance. But so what?

That, along with cunt and twat were total no-nos in our household. I was horrified when my schoolfriend (dentist’s daughter – another myth, apparently dentists love to swear) told me the TWA tea joke. Shocking.

But there is a different attitude to swearing in different parts of the UK, and truthfully, in different classes. This is why the American comments were relevant.

Swearing is rough and lower class. Swearing is blasphemous. Swearing should not be done in front of delicate women. Women should not swear. Southerners (UK) swear more than northerners. (They do, it’s true, they say twat as though it is twit – both are offensive). Etc etc etc.

When I say there is a different attitude about different social classes, I mean don’t judge people by what they say. My parents’ generation and class, considered and judged people by how they swore. This is now, not then. If someone swears, it does not mean they are an uneducated piece of rubbish. You may not like it, but it is their choice. They may or may not be, a mechanic or a bad guy. They may also be a college professor. They may know how to argue and discuss.

What else?

Well, don’t use insulting words. Don’t call someone a spastic, stupid or lame. That is abusing people by suggesting that anyone with those characteristics is worthy of insult.

Don’t call them a cunt or a twat or a bitch. I don’t like the fact that my anatomy is used as an abusive swear word. That is abusing women verbally and continuing to perpetuate boring old macho stereotypes because you are using our body parts in a negative sense.

Swear and abuse. Just use and choose. Carefully.

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About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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24 Responses to Swearing (courtesy of WP and DP)

  1. Perpetua says:

    I’m one of those brought up not to swear. I come from a working-class background in Lancashire and I never heard my mother or her parents use anything approaching an expletive. The strongest words I ever heard my father use were damn and blast and my mother wasn’t happy when he did. 🙂 I’m the second of 5 girls and only the youngest of us (by a considerable margin) uses four-letter words even now, so it may be a generational thing. Though capable of swearing myself (not very strongly) under stress, I will admit to not liking to hear conversation full of swearwords, whether in the same room or on TV/film or stage. Old habits die very hard….

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    • Totty says:

      I am also from a Lancashire working-class/tradesman background, and I never heard my step-father swear, but rather to his dismay, my mother made liberal use of bugger and bloody. Her favourite rebuttal if there was any remonstrance was “You’re enough to make bloody Jesus Christ swear!”. Having said that, she would be disapproving if anyone used stronger language.

      I grew up not swearing, and only grew into the habit when my children were teenagers; I now use bugger and bloody fairly regularly when stressed, with the odd “shit” used as an extreme expletive. I have never got into the habit of using ‘fuck’ or ‘fucking’ except purposely when having a cruel dig at my husband, a non-native-English-speaker who at times uses it as his adjective of choice when his vocabulary fails him. I asked him once, where he first learnt the word, as I know he wouldn’t have heard it, or used it, at work, and he told me that it was in general use in the locker room at the Golf Club, and it had taken a quiet word from the Club’s Hon. Sec. to make the ignorant foreigner aware that it was frowned upon in mixed company.

      I think my daughters’ generation (the eldest is 46) accept ‘sentence enhancing expletives’ as part of modern parlance. I don’t object to anyone swearing if they feel the need, but I do object to the female anatomy being used indiscriminately when there are plenty of much more amusing male equivalents available.

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      • @ Totty

        I’m now wondering if this is a Lancashire thing! I never use bloody and bugger these days. Oh, maybe the odd bloody hell, but extremely rare. Maybe I view it as a trace of the past. I certainly don’t like to use bugger. I find it totally unacceptable and on the same lines as using female parts to swear.

        The problem is with anatomically-derived expletives, they are derogatory, and I do not wish to perpetuate those misogynist or homophobic attitudes.

        Still wondering if this northern reluctance to use very bad words back years ago though is yet another north v south divide (let alone the Pennines one).

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        • Totty says:

          The Rumanian who runs the Bar we use for our Craft Club meetings prides himself on his language skills and loves to use colloquialisms; his current English favourite is “Bloodinorah”. He also likes “Flippin’ ‘eck”, and we have interesting discussions about what is considered acceptable in his daily dealings with the public of various nationalities.

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          • Interesting how words move in and out of fashion though. I hadn’t used flippin (which always seems to lose the g) for years, but noticed other people using it. I don’t think I have ever used bloody Norah!

            What happened to 365+1? 😦 too many other things going on I guess?

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          • Totty says:

            Yes, must get back to 365+1; it fell by the wayside when I had a period of what seemed to be daily hospital visits, and then word topics that were completely uninspiring and would probably have meant more boring photos of my immediate surroundings as I wasn’t leaving the house except for shopping in the local supermarket. Maybe I’ll try to catch up by double posting, so if you get some back-dated posts, you will know why!

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          • I wondered about the hospital stuff 😦 I couldn’t have stuck the 365 for a week! so good on you for getting so far.

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    • @ Perpetua

      Just the Pennines between us. Apart from that, I was brought up not to swear and my parents were pretty working class. An engineer, a nursery nurse, he came from one down two up and she came from a posh council house. But I’m not sure it’s generational, as you aren’t much older than me!

      But you have a church perspective, so tell me, is that one of the reasons people don’t like it?

      I find it not something to get worked up about when there are so many other problems in the world, which is why I find it odd that people do.

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      • Perpetua says:

        The church background may have something to do with it, roughseas, though I wasn’t a churchgoer in my teens or my 20s when the children were small and extremely hard work, but I think the habit of not swearing was too deeply ingrained by then. My husband also never swears, nor did his parents, and our children have grown up the same way, at least in front of us. 🙂 I can put a lot of feeling into euphemisms for swearing though, but can’t bring myself to use any but the mildest of real swearwords. I don’t stress about it, but you did ask…..

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        • I think it’s an interesting topic as to why people do, and don’t, or why they make judgements about it. Just reading your comment and Totty’s, validates my perspective about it being totally crass to assume working class tradesepeople swear. And educated middle-classes don’t. Just, how ridiculous.

          The three of us grew up in the north of England with not that many years between us (OK I’m slightly younger but my parents were old!) and the few swear words we heard were similar. It took me a journey to university and mixing with those strange southerners before I realised different words were used all the time.

          And after that, I met my partner who had worked down south, in Australia, in construction, we don’t have children, so it was never an issue to think about after that. Have to say I think children is something to consider too. No reason to churn out swearing in front of them all the time, and I’ve always thought before I’ve opened my mouth in front of my friends’ children. It’s inappropriate and inconsiderate.

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  2. fringewalk says:

    I think it’s all about the intent behind the word. If its spiteful, amlicious or to cause harm, then i do kinda find it offensive.

    Other than that, swearing doesn’t bother me at all. I love words. I love the fact that a few, words, a few sound-pattern-symbols, can cause such an emotive reaction in people. I find it quite amusing, if i’m honest.

    I think the only real danger of swearing, is that it makes you lazy. It’s made me lazy, so lately i’m making a concious effort not to swear as much. Language is inadequate at the best of time and overusing words exasperates this problem, because vocabulary gets smaller and words become less potent.

    Stephen Fry is one of the smartest people i can think of, and i remember seeing an interview where he described people who find swearing offensive as ‘twee’!

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    • Great perspective, but probably because it echoes my view.

      I do dislike the intent to cause harm as well. That says it all for me. But it is also the unintentional intent, where, using abusive words continues to portray bad images eg spastic, ie you are stupid and so are spastics. Or cunt, you are obnoxious and so is a woman’s vagina.

      Yes, it makes us lazy to some extent. I try to not swear outside the home, use it endlessly with my partner, and to some extent on my blogs to convey emotion. Oh dear, isn’t quite the same as For Fuck’s Sake.

      Stephen is incredibly bright and funny. Twee is not far from quaint is it? 😀

      My very serious point behind it all though, is that in a world full of starvation, poverty, wars etc – really – what difference does the odd fuck make to anyone?

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  3. free penny press says:

    Growing up I heard my Dad swear with one word, “dammit all” and my Mom, two words, “Hell” and “Crap on it”..:-)
    I personally do not use alot of swear words in conversation or even when upset… Not because I get offended or am afraid of offending, I just don’t. I do like the word fuck.. only because it has that hard “F” and “K’ sound but rarely say it..

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    • There are real cultural differences in swearing which I interesting. Odd that so many Americans are not used to it/have not grown up with it, and the hollywood blockbusters are full of it. Bizarre. But then cine isn’t life.

      You’re right about the word. It does have a certain resonance and is definitely the one I overuse. At home.

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  4. EllaDee says:

    Great post. Yes, the times they are a changing (thnx Bob) and judging someone by their vocabulary is a bigger sin than whatever abberations may be encountered. Dad swore regularly, but I never have heard him say the “c-word” and only heard him say the “f-word” when I was 16, and then again last year – 30 years later but normal swear words were always up for grabs within my earshot. However, my prim step mother wouldn’t even say “shut up” – it was rude (as was calling someone by a shortened version of their christian name or a nickname, but that’s another story), and she must have heard my loud multiple four letter word reaction to a horse stomping on my foot as a teenager & reported me to Dad, who resignedly advised me “it’s ok, just not around her”. Even she though in 30 years & 3 of her own kids has mellowed, and drops the occasional mild swear word. I swear (& the small lady like part of me thinks more than I should really – hey, I work in a law firm & live with a potty mouth construction worker) but am considerate of my audience, have my standards & avoid the “c-word”, also for similar reasons to you… I particularly love the exchange of comments & sum up between you & fringewalk 🙂

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  5. Thank you. It was the judgements and assumptions based on no evidence or logic, and succumbing to stereotypical views that annoyed me. Figured I might as well write it on here.

    As for the construction worker I am living with, I despair. He’s swearing in Spanish at the moment as his colleagues are Spanish. They are using some expensive paint at the moment called monolastic. He couldn’t resist rhyming it with spastic to describe some of his colleagues, and even worse, they all thought it was funny 😦 Probably because Spanish swearing is limited compared to English. We did pick up a few words in Aus that we wouldn’t otherwise have used.

    Fringewalk added a great contribution 🙂 Always good to have a new perspective.

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  6. reb says:

    There are people who are so ‘holy’ so they can’t even say ‘curse’, they say ‘cuss’. Now, I’m a little out on thin ice here … it might not be only due to their holiness ..it could be dialectal.
    My husband is a college professor. He taught me how to swear in English.

    This was a great post, that deserves a lot of attention. I was upset to read all the biased, bigot comments in there [WP].

    Frankly, my duck, I don’t give a ….quack 😀

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    • Thank you for that. Never mind thin ice, I don’t think people could see the word for the trees. And were not willing to discuss it with any logic at all.

      Don’t be silly. Your husband can’t possibly swear. He is a college professor. I read it on WordPress. So it must be true 🙂

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  7. Sooner or later everyone swears! No harm no foul, but in life just be true to yourself and be yourself and laugh out loud…enjoying life along the way…if that makes any sense…it’s just too short! Sit back and try to do all that you can, you only go around once in this life!

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  8. Letty says:

    Interesting read on a hot afternoon. I had never used the f word until I went back into full time work in the Nineties. The whole office swore frequently and mostly the f word. I use it occasionally, because it kind of expresses exactly how I feel sometimes. For example, a few years ago, the guy next door was being the usual pain the arse, and suddenly I had enough of his ranting and shaking of fists at me, just because our dog had gone into his jungle of a back garden. The satisfying feeling of standing there, looking at the idiotic neighbour getting his Y-fronts in a twist, and telling him to Fuck Off. And flouncing away from him was the most theraputic feeling. Also I said it to a Jobsworth in a car park once who was harrassing me about the use of a parking place. Leave them aghast I say!! J

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