Exploring Expletives – Plan B
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

Exploring Expletives – Plan B

There is a child in my house. If I drop the pickle jar on the marble tile when we have three minutes to get out of the house, or I ram my toes square into the coffee table legs while sprinting to answer the door, it is just a reflex to blurt out a foul expletive. There are consequences if a child lives in your home, but admit it; we have all slipped at some point. The average person‘s curse quota consists of between zero to three percent of their total word output every day. Do the math.

The fallout can include such punishments as feeding the swear jar, your child calling you a hypocrite or public shaming where you child broadcasts the one time you may have taken a spill off the “swear wagon” in front of someone who will likely judge you as an unfit and vulgar parent.

I am not one to make a list of New Year’s resolutions and besides, it is only mid December and I have a whole lot of sinning left to do before I commit to making any improvements. What I am prepared to do is suggest some of the alternative things you can blurt out when you experience acute pain in an extremity, or some messy, smelly, dangerous kitchen clean up is staring you in the pickle. But first let us take a brief look at how profanity has evolved and how it fairs from culture to culture.

History

The Elizabethan era was eloquent and exasperating. The Bard really set the bar high and it has been downhill ever since. How could you possibly retort to such barbs as, “Thou pribbling milk-livered haggard!”, “Thou puking ill-breeding malcontent!”, or my favourite “Thou gorbellied brazen-faced gudgeon!” Other than the incessant use of “thou”, pretty heady stuff.

In the Old West, it was a pretty PG. If the little varmints were lurking and caught you threatening the local outlaw, they might hear expressions such as, “Go to Jericho, Geeswas, Dodgasted, By Jing, Dagnabbit”. Just think Yosemite Sam cussing out Bugs Bunny after he has been pushed off of a cliff for the fifth time in one episode. “Get outta there, you rassa-frassin’ fur-bearin’ critter!”, or “Ya no-account, bush-whackin’ barracuda!” Harmless but hilarious, especially coming from a flame-haired, gun-totin’, rabbit-hatin’ dwarf with the voice of a chain-smoking anger management drop out.

In Victorian England “Drat” was borderline acceptable but when George Bernard Shaw included “Not bloody likely!” in Eliza Doolittle’s lines the audience was appalled despite the theatrical context. And you certainly did not hear Jane Austen’s heroines dropping F bombs or the likes of Mr. Darcy referring to any love interests as his” ho”, though he might have reconsidered had he known that the Merriam-Webster dictionary recognizes it as part of our modern lexicon. Thanks for that, ganstas.

But we are in the 21st century and we have considerably more offensive and socially “gaspable” expressions with which to grapple. Body parts, human functions and the relations between one’s mother and various farm animals have come a long way.

Cultural

The first words we learn in another language outside of a formal classroom are usually profanities, and usually the crassest. The words we are more accustomed to today, a Group of Seven (not to be confused with the iconic Canadian artists), more commonly remembered as the “7 Dirty Words” according to the late, great George Carlin, are so ubiquitous that most of us are desensitized to them. But there still remains some that are a jolt to the system.

Take the Glaswegians, the faction of Scots that even the rest of the Scots will not admit having any remote relation with. Their version of English sounds more like someone trying to speak whilst repeatedly being punched in the diaphragm, than some civilized version of the Queen’s English. They have assigned duality to the “c” word as both a noun and an adjective. “I’ve had a c*** of a day”, or “That bloke is a c***”. It can even be used as a compliment: “He’s a great c*** that c***”. Charming.

The Italians know a thing or two about insulting especially if you happen to be a family man, protective of female honour. In extra-time at the end of the 2006 World Cup Final, France v Italy, French soccer genius Zinedine Zidane, headbutted Marco Materazzi in the chest after alleged insults were hurled pertaining to Zidane’s mother and sister. The former France captain, said he "would rather die" than apologise to Marco for the cranial assault. What exactly was said was not confirmed, but it was Zidane’s swan song in an international game - a tragic end to a magnificent career as he was kicked out of the game. What could be so offensive to his ears that he would risk the last minutes of a tied World Cup game? If the alleged insult referred to either relative as a “Stuppaghiara”, maybe Materazzi had it coming. That’s what corkscrews are for! Nonetheless, Glaswegians could have taught him a thing or two about headbutting, the municipal past time, as well as augmenting with their own brand of sports commentary: “In the f***ing chest? Like that’s goin’ tae f***ing hurt! Daft c***!”

Although some Asian cultures can dish it out as well as the Italians, geographically, tolerance thresholds vary. In Singapore, the threshold for profanity is excessively low, and despite being a modern and cosmopolitan city, punishment for swearing is downright medieval. An Australian man faced punishment in the form of a fine and caning for swearing on a Singaporean airline. Ultimately, he was spared the punishment because of a media frenzy but he was the exception, not the rule. Why even allow an Australian to board your plane if you do not expect some world class cussing?

Culturally, the French are less fussed when kids swear so to put it in perspective, profanity, like smoking, is part of the culture. And even if they mean to convey the worst, the language is so mellifluous that it just does not sound insulting. Casse-toi, Merde, Foutre, C’est des connerie, Salope, all sound more like kittens farting than expletives.

On the other end of the spectrum, German, arguably considered one of the harshest sounding languages on the planet, something as innocuous as saying you are going out in the garden to pick some lavender can sound like you are doling out a tongue lashing at someone for gambling away the family fortune. In this cacophonous tongue, profanity is particularly barbed, and like our Italian friends, picking on one’s mother is a hit below the belt they do not hesitate to take. "Deine Mutter schwitzt beim Kacken", for example, is a rather cruel and unusual accusation that your mother perspires excessively during elimination. It is fair to say that insulting one’s mother or insisting that you procreate with yourself sound equally abrasive.

As is evidenced, swearing is a globally divisive and provocative bad habit. So in the spirit of attempting to set a respectable example for our son, here are a few phonetically fabulous alternatives to bleep out the nasty stuff, some, courtesy of Modern Family’s master of English language butchery, Phil Dunphy. The next time you stub your toe on a steel caster, lock your keys in your running car or discover that you do not have your wallet after the grocery cashier has rung through the last of your three hundred dollar grocery trip, try one of these: Morgan Freeman! Martha Stewart! Katy Perry! Shut the front door! Chicken in a biscuit! Bartels and James! Sweet potato fries! Son-of-a-biscuit-eater! Bullspit! Cheese and crackers! Good gravy! H-E-double hockey sticks! Holy Shibblets!

And of course, in extreme situations, you can always use the name of the walking expletive herself: Miley Cyrus!


Street Talk

No comments present
You May Also Like
Driving Retests
Compulsory Driving Retests Currently, the UK legal age for driving a car is 17. In theory, a 17 year old could obtain a license, take an intensive course, pass a test and be on the road within a month. 1.6 million people take attest every year with a 43% pass…
By: Dave Page in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   May 07, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Next Steps
ive been walking down the aisle way wondering when things would go my way what to do and how to get it done? sometimes all i want to do is run than i see the setting sun and for a moment i thought i won then i wake up and…
By: Yvonne van Leeuwen in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   Mar 31, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

E Cigarettes In the Workplace?
Should e cigarettes be allowed in the workplace? I remember a time when we used to smoke in our workplace. A long time ago I was sent to the Netherlands on a business trip. When I arrived in our Amsterdam offices I was happy to see that people could still…
By: isabelle3 in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   Jul 26, 2013  
0
  Likes: 0

Is Nicotine Good for You?
By trying to demonize tobacco to inform smokers of the potential health risks, governments and anti-smoking agencies have given a bad reputation to nicotine without any real research having been done on this chemical. After all, nicotine was used as an insecticide in the past. So nobody wondered how it…
By: isabelle3 in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   Jul 22, 2013  
0
  Likes: 0

What Is the World Coming To?
Don't worry I'm not going to rant and rave about religion in this article. I am, however, going to vent about something that is truly upsetting and dear to my heart: The Wendy's Frosty. A couple of days ago I went to Wendy's. It was pretty late at night, and…
By: Thomas H in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   Sep 05, 2011  
1
  Likes: 1

Wisconsin High Court Upholds Collective Bargaining Law Limits - Were Does That Leave the Common Man?
What does it mean that the Wisconsin high court upholds the collective bargaining law limits? It means that the average civil servant in Wisconsin now works for a tyrant who will choose how much he or she makes, the working conditions, length of contract, pensions and so on. It appears…
By: Octavien in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   Jun 14, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Participate In the Sport Using the Top Wow Gold Sites Suitable Mindset
For anyone who is one of several PVP #@*acb$123@#$##D#leiyan participants with Whoa,Since most of us expend a lot more time frame amongst people, most of us place to ignore the unique seek to buying wow gold participate in that video game. Of course, were actively playing that video game simply…
By: appgamenews in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   Aug 11, 2015  
0
  Likes: 0

Why Singapore And Other Countries Beat US In Math A Nd Reading
There is a stereotype in place that, compared to Americans, Asian children are extremely smart. particularly in the areas of math, science and reading, kids grow up to best other American students in these areas. In fact, Singapore primary four students rank as the best in the world in math…
By: Kimberly Shen in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   Nov 24, 2014  
0
  Likes: 0

Play Football, Save A Teacher: Poughkeepsie High School Football Player Does it All
I happened to come across a news story which simply defies all imagination and you may have heard or seen of it too... a student at New York's Poughkeepsie High school innocently went to school one day only to find that he had to break up a potentially lethal fight…
By: Elyse in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   Dec 24, 2011  
0
  Likes: 1

AMERICA NEEDS TO STAY HOME
I say America Needs To Stay Home because with the new offensive in Libya we are now actively involved in 3 war fronts all in Arab countries. We should have never been involved in Iraq which cost countless American lives and used revenues we could scant afford to spend. All…
By: Peter Ruth in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   Mar 25, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

The Library Of the Future: Does the Trend In Electronic Reading Devices Mean the Inevitable Extinction Of Tangible Books?
When you enter a library, any library, you the first thing you notice is the subdued atmosphere. The same usually holds for bookstores. Employees and volunteers at either usually speak in semi-hushed tones and seem sedate in their manner. Another thing you notice in a library is the faint smell…
By: AnnMarie in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   Mar 17, 2012  
14
  Likes: 6

The End Of The World Is When?
The answer? I don't know but I'm hoping it won't be until the sun goes super nova in several million years. With all of these people predicting the end of the world, the most recent as we all know being May 21st, oops October 21st or was that sometime in…
By: Ian Worrall in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   May 27, 2011  
1
  Likes: 1

Miss Average And 11 Pairs Of Brand New Shoes
That’s it. I am officially Miss Average! According to a new survey the average British woman has 11 pair of brand new shoes in their wardrobe that they have never worn. When I read this headline, I thought ‘ how ridiculous’. I love shoes, but there’s no way that I…
By: BIS in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   May 02, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Donald Trump Demands to See Osama Bin Laden Death Certificate
Donald Trump Demands to See Osama Bin Laden Death Certificate or There is Nothing Like a Good Conspiracy Theory Conspiracy theorists the world over will never ever be satisfied or that was the gist of President Obama's speech when he made his own announcement about the death of Osama Bin…
By: Roger Brian Shann in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   May 05, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Modern Day Wedding Photographers
Weddings in India is a 300 crore industry, growing at 15 to 20 percent annually. Rising costs and slow moving economy has not brought down the spirits of india’s ‘to be married’ couples to spend thousands of rupees on professional wedding photographers to capture their moments in the best ways…
By: starclinch in  News and Society  >  Pure Opinion   Sep 30, 2015  
0
  Likes: 0

Article Views: 2179    Report this Article