Recently, Roland said, “You know, it’s always the right fucking thing to do the right fucking thing.”
And then the other night Jon Stewart, mad as hell, ranted about a guest on Glenn Beck’s program who said right out that it would be a good thing if Osama Bin Laden set off a WMD in America because it would make national security a priority again. In his rant, Stewart used the word “fuck” several times and it was bleeped each time. Then Stewart said something like “Those of you at home just heard several bleeps when I used the word, ‘[bleep]’ because the government wants to protect you from a word that crudely describes the sex act while they allow some stupid son of a bitch advocate the mass murder of Americans as a means to rearrange priorities to fit his agenda.”
I’m being too lazy to go back and get the exact quote, but you get the idea. The thing is, as Lenny Bruce pointed out long ago, some words carry a perjorative power that there is no other adequate word to replace them. “Gosh darnit” just doesn’t have the same connotative, expressive power that “shit” does.
When we write commercially, we don’t need these words (though they have an edge, and if your target needs a little edge to move them, it may be… Michael is teaching me not to be so absolute). However, what about all the other forms of writing?
When we write love notes, it’s one on one and “fuck” has a visceral touch that “have sweet sex” does not. When we write politically, there’s often occasion to express one’s anger, and you know, nothing quite says anger like taking the Lord’s name and calling to the Skies above and the Fire below for divine condemnation (see how many words it takes to say, “God Damn It?”). And while Roland’s aphorism could be said, “It’s always the right thing to do the right thing,” does it really mean the same thing as “It’s always the right fucking thing to do the right fucking thing?” I don’t think so.
Now, I’m not sure what WordPress’s rules are about profanities. I may have written 350+ words that won’t get to the screen. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I’ve said what I mean to say.