Should swearing be more fashionable?

Do you consider it a hanging offence when someone turns the air blue? Or are you, like so many of us now, getting used to hearing expletives and becoming less uncomfortable when someone yells out a four-letter word?

Should we accept swearing more into our daily life?

To swear or not to swear … that is the ****ing question…

Whether we like it or not, rude (but not personally based) language** is becoming more widely accepted in the media.

No longer does the air turn blue when someone says “shit.”

Ruder words are glossed over even if they are uttered before the watershed at 9:00 p.m. when most parents are going to bed, leaving their innocent babies playing murderous war games on their IPads until 2:00 a.m. Oh, wait a minute – the watershed was created to save the young from being contaminated by potty-mouthing. Sorry.

Innocence protected by an asterisk or three

Even the grey-haired, knitting-friendly UK Daily Mail reports all kinds of naughty words, asterisked in a way that fools no-one (least of all the innocent young readers whose own language would make their parents blanch) but kow-tows to hypocritical prudishness.

I asterisk, too, out of respect for readers who don’t want rude words shoved right up their noses – but they often think them, if they don’t say them.

And of course I asterisk for the odd teenage reader who has lived on another planet for all of their 14 years and has never set foot in an urban school playground.

Let’s face it: rude words are used very widely in normal, casual conversation everywhere from the cocktail lounges of Manhattan to the spit-and-sawdust pubs of rural England.

So how come it’s so wrong to write them, speak them, and laugh at them?

Yes, there IS an agenda here

I won’t pretend that I have’t got a vested interest in swearing, as you’ll see if you take a look at my next book. My publisher and I agreed that we would asterisk the two most “shocking” four-letter words but the rest would be asterisk-free.

Although the book isn’t out yet (will be from September 18th) a couple of hundred people have read it and not one so far has complained about the language even though I make sure everyone knows that it’s potty-mouthed.

Conclusion? Most people are, or would be, potty-mouthed. So why are we being so coy about it?

Do we need to preserve the mystique of rude language?

Many experts in street psychology tell you that the quickest way to make people lose interest in an illegal drug is to legalise it.

Could this sentiment mean that we should continue to be artificially bashful about swearing?

That if everyone writes “shit” without a coyly-placed asterisk or worse, uses a pseudonym for it (see below), the word will cease to be naughty and just become another term meaning faeces?

And continuing along that train of thought, would we then need to think up some even ruder words and phrases to use when we want to shock, alarm, offend, let off steam etc.?

No, we need to keep that slightly naughty cachet of swearing

Much as it pains me to write this, I’d say let’s keep swearing and rude terms not necessarily as the “elephant in the room” of courteous behaviour, but at least, well, maybe a naughty goat in the room.

Because let’s face it: it’s a lot easier to keep going with the swearwords and offensive slang we already use, than it would be to come up with a whole bunch of new ones for our various unpleasant bodily functions, genitourinary parts, orifices, etc.

If you want a scientific view of swearing/bad language in the media, check out this article by Roy Peter Clark on the US-based Poynter website. Given that even Mr tRump and his friends use colourful language these days, it’s giving responsible journalists a lot to think about…

Let’s be creative for a moment…

It might be fun to invent or adopt some entirely new swearwords that sound awful but mean nothing, or very little. For example:

  • Trollocks (similar to the pair, only this time there are three of them)
  • Baldock (a town in southern England)
  • Bangor (a town in Wales)
  • Upavon (a town in south-west England which use to make me chuckle when I was writing a lot of copy for Avon cosmetics…)
  • Peover (a town in northern England that should be pronounced as “peever…”

What role do the pseudonyms play?

You may disagree here (please do so if you want to, in the comments sections below!) but I think using pseudo slang and swearwords is the height of verbal hypocrisy.

If I rant about those “freaking raccoons” getting into the garbage, you know exactly what word I actually mean … but I’m just too precious and bourgeoise  to say it.

Here are some of the others that make my skin crawl:

  • Fricking
  • Flaming
  • Flipping
  • Feck
  • Bog off
  • Naff off
  • Bleeding
  • Ruddy
  • Doo-doo
  • Poo

**NB: you’ll notice that I don’t discuss religious, ethnic, gender-based or other personal insults and swearing in this article, because to me they are a different ballgame entirely.

To offend someone at such a personal, hurtful level, IMHO is a crime. Offending their distaste for naughty euphemisms for bodily functions and other things that everyone does/has, is harmless and so fair game. 

Anyway, enough of my thoughts. How do you feel about (relatively harmless) swearing?

Do you feel it should come out of the closet, or stay firmly in there? Please share!
Mischieverse is Suzan St Maur's first book of naughty, humorous poetry ... coming soon from Corona Books UK.Thinking of buying some gifts for folks with a good sense of humour? Check out my latest book of hilarious and somewhat rude poems about the things that get up our noses every day … perfect to chuckle over. In print or Kindle.
Some samples here.
Buy it here.
“An amusing sideways look at anything and everything … the perfect gift.” A E Rawson, novelist.
You’ll love it.