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Muda69

The Banality of the F-Bomb

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https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/05/f-word-once-taboo-unfortunate-national-habit/

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One of my favorite 1960s anecdotes comes from legendary broadcaster Larry King, who tells of attending his first roast at New York City’s Friars Club. There, French actor Maurice Chevalier dared to utter the F-word live on stage. King was practically blown out of his seat. “I thought I’d die,” he recalls.

Today, as King himself has noted, the F-bomb — once known as the ultimate forbidden verbal lightning bolt, the Utterance That Must Not Be Named, or at least the word of last resort to use when you’re really hopelessly mad — might as well be growing out of random cracks in the sidewalk. In 2019, the F-word is a throwaway. It is a sneeze. It is as common as dandelion fluff.

Does anyone else find this awkward? Mock me if you will — no doubt my quest is a lonely one — but I certainly do.

....

What is wrong with everyone? Have we lost our national “edit” button? (I’ll answer my own question, because the answer is obvious: Yes.)

The F-bomb has long been with us, but the growing tendency to cheerfully, unhesitatingly use it in any old circumstance is something new and alarming. Forget venturing into R-rated movies or edgy art galleries: Take your kid into a random gift shop in the Texas hill country these days, and you might find cutesy hand towels embroidered with swear words that would have made young Larry King faint. Beto O’Rourke, always game to roll on the bad-idea bandwagon, gained notoriety during his Senate campaign for letting an impressive parade of F-bombs fly. Self-help books with the F-word fly off the shelves, even though — at least in the humble opinion of this writer, who grew up in the famously repressed rolling fields of the American Midwest — “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Rip” would make for just as compelling a title as “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a” — well, I’ll stop there. You know what word is coming next.

It gets worse: Just last week, Burger King, which is gross even without the help of swear words, launched a series of mood-themed “Real Meals,” questionable foodstuffs boxed with wonderfully poetic names like — you guessed it — the DGAF Meal. (DGAF, in case you’re still gloriously unaware, stands for “Don’t Give a [You Know What].”)

Weirdly, Burger King released these meal deals as part of “Mental-Health Awareness” month. That seems paradoxical at best, but since we’re speaking of mental health, let’s take this moment to get philosophical. My crusade against the public explosion of the F-bomb, you see, goes beyond simple manners. Much like, say, The Lego Batman Movie, it is far deeper than it appears.

In many ways, words can shape our very perception of reality. Edward Sapir, who helped develop the hypothesis of linguistic relativity in the 1930s, put it this way: “Human beings . . . are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. . . . The fact of the matter is that the ‘real world’ is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group.”

It’s a radical idea, but what if it contains a grain of truth? What does our society’s thunderstorm of public F-bombs do to our greater sensibility, cultural or otherwise? When the worst swear word becomes commonplace, what do we use to describe the truly horrific? What happened to mystery and subtlety? For that matter, what happened to the fashion sense of people who regularly sport shirts that evoke memories of the early routines of Andrew Dice Clay?

It is no surprise, I suppose, that the F-bomb has become ubiquitous as our culture’s exhibitionism has gotten out of control. But here we can draw at least one consolation: Back at the Friars Club in the Sixties, the F-word was shocking and rare, at least when uttered in public. Today, it’s emblazoned in insouciant acronyms on the packaging of mass-produced Burger King meals.

Behold, America: The F-bomb has officially entered the realm of the hopelessly banal. Who knows? Perhaps if we’re lucky, Americans will get bored with using it — and that might just save us all.

I surely hope so.  I frankly don't understand the casualness in which this word is used today,  and I will often tune to something else if a youtube video I happen to be watching or a podcast I may be listening to starts to use the word with frequency. 

 

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Posted (edited)

WTF man?

"I work in profanity the way others might work in oil or...clay"

 

Edited by Impartial_Observer
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1 hour ago, Impartial_Observer said:

Because sometimes the F-bomb is  what's needed!

Under exactly what kind of circumstances?   And this is a serious question.   I'll admit I am not a 100% prude when it comes to profanity, and I have let the occasional 4-letter word slip out on occasion.  It almost always has had to with being angry, and I regretted uttering the world the moment it came out.   

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35 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

Under exactly what kind of circumstances?   And this is a serious question.   I'll admit I am not a 100% prude when it comes to profanity, and I have let the occasional 4-letter word slip out on occasion.  It almost always has had to with being angry, and I regretted uttering the world the moment it came out.   

 

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2 hours ago, Impartial_Observer said:

Because sometimes the F-bomb is  what's needed!

I don't know IO....you're not on Mount Rushmore.....Teddy is the man!

Bobby Knight used the F word, and many others a ton....kind of wore thin on me.  But Patton on the other hand.......

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I think there is a conspiracy to limit my free speech....ducking technology 

 

EE432274-74F4-44BB-B6D5-D878F56008A0.jpeg

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Muda, I don't always agree with your posts, but I 100% support this post!  We have such an amazing language and have a large vocabulary, yet we dumb it all down to sentences and phrases like "that was ****ing amazing." "What the ****." When you use the word with such frequency and in so many different ways it loses the impact it once had.  By no means am I a writer or have the largest vocabulary, but I will still try to use better words. 

2 things I believe:

1. Dropping the F bomb casually in conversation makes you sound less intelligent.

2. The use of "swear words" makes you sound angry.

If you don't think this is a problem, go listen to a group of teenagers and count the number of F bombs.

 

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Just another point in my "degradation of society" rant I had a few years ago that I was informed how wrong I was for suggesting it.  (Again - IMHO)

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On 5/9/2019 at 9:04 AM, Impartial_Observer said:

WTF man?

"I work in profanity the way others might work in oil or...clay"

 

image.png.7819d7827a3e7ca7e8a75d92d844f33f.png

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Posted (edited)

There are times when I wish I could "laugh vote" my own posts!

profanity.jpg

Edited by gonzoron

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All kidding aside, I admit I use it when talking with friends. However, I would never think about using it in a formal setting, like at work. It is amazing how much that word, along with many others, comes out so easily while we are in the hallways between classes. I cover communication skills in my classes and really try to stress to my students that there is a way to talk in a formal setting and a way to talk just among friends. 

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2 hours ago, Irishman said:

All kidding aside, I admit I use it when talking with friends. However, I would never think about using it in a formal setting, like at work. It is amazing how much that word, along with many others, comes out so easily while we are in the hallways between classes. I cover communication skills in my classes and really try to stress to my students that there is a way to talk in a formal setting and a way to talk just among friends. 

I am this way, too -- use it in "personal" settings only around people I know won't be offended by it.  That's just my upbringing and age. 

But it is important to appreciate that there are plenty of words that folks of our generations use today in regular conversation that had a primary or strong secondary sexual meaning for prior generations, and were considered by them to be as vulgar as the F-word is to us. Frequent usage led them to become innocuous.

"Bloody" is the usual example from British English -- it was considered so filthy as recently as the 1920s that newspapers would not print it. "Scumbag" is another example: in the 19th century you'd have been slapped for calling someone that (i.e., a used condom). Even in my lifetime, the sexual connotations associated with "that sucks" or "you suck" have pretty much faded way, and it is treated as simply a synonym for "bad".

Our kids' kids will likely view the F-bomb the same way. I can tell you from first hand experience that in Ireland, the F-word has already become just another common  adjective used in almost all social settings. The good news is that our kids' kids will have invented some new obscene words (or converted other existing ones into filthy ones) that their kids will shock and annoy them by saying... 

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"Pimp" comes to mind......"That shirt is so Pimp" - "That car is pimping" - I remember explaining the original meaning of that word as the whore's boss to my daughters.....They thought it applied to the wild dressing styles of the 70's/80's.....

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1 hour ago, swordfish said:

"Pimp" comes to mind......"That shirt is so Pimp" - "That car is pimping" - I remember explaining the original meaning of that word as the whore's boss to my daughters.....They thought it applied to the wild dressing styles of the 70's/80's.....

It ain't easy.

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16 hours ago, swordfish said:

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Must be talking about women's suffrage or civil rights.

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5 minutes ago, BARRYOSAMA said:

Must be talking about women's suffrage or civil rights.

Or the evangelical shift on political candidates.

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36 minutes ago, BARRYOSAMA said:

Must be talking about women's suffrage or civil rights.

 

29 minutes ago, foxbat said:

Or the evangelical shift on political candidates.

This stuff is so played. 

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1 minute ago, Impartial_Observer said:

 

This stuff is so played. 

Yes it is.  So is the idea that somehow or another cursing's acceptance/use is somehow an indication of the slide of civilization.

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