Thursday, February 20, 2014

ow, my freakin' ears!

Warning:  this post contains adult language, though out of respect for the sensitive eyes of my mother and grandmother and the employees of the LDS church who sometimes read my blog, I have bleeped the big one

Here's another reason I love living where I do:  the other day I went to get gas at the little convenience store up the road from my house.  It is a quirky place, and the proprietress of said establishment is the receptacle of all the town news, since she is centrally located and talks to everyone, often at great length.  There was another woman in there buying chips and pop, and they were discussing the religious politics of painting Jesus playing the fiddle--would people be offended, could they just pretend it was a violin instead, etc.  Lainie broke off in the midst of our talk and said, "Oh, Layne, I've got to run your card again, I charged you for Barbara's shit."  There is something so funny to me about the juxtaposition of Jesus talk and swears.

Speaking of swears, you may be aware that I have a fairly high tolerance for swearing in the written word.  I don't care for it in spoken communication, maybe because the people I hear who rely heavily on swear words in their speech typically do not come across as super articulate, but I find it fairly easy to look past when I'm reading--or to enjoy, because the talent displayed by Ralphie's father in A Christmas Story is a real thing.  Some people really do work in obscenity like another artist works in oils or clay.  (Although technically Ralphie's father's talent is the spoken word, not writing.  Even so.)  However, and maybe this is just my imagination, it seems like people are going back so frequently to the F-word well that it's losing all its impact as a forceful word.  As a lover of words in all their variety I mourn the monoculture of the F-word.  It used to be reserved for extreme emotion, and now it's just bandied around like no big deal, and it makes me sad that people are limiting themselves to that one crayon.  Especially when there are other words that would probably work better.  For example, everybody is saying lately that they give "zero f*cks" about something, and I prefer the "zero shits" phrasing.  It just sounds better and makes more sense to me.  I also enjoy the "ain't give a damn" phrasing from "Hark, a Vagrant" number 331.  On the other side of the scale, I was reading an article last week in which the author referred to the singer Lorde as having an attitude of "we reject your horse shit universe of bling, you shallow, worthless f*cks you."  That is a terrific sentence, and even though normally I would encourage "shallow, worthless shits," in this case you can't do that, because you've just used shit earlier in the sentence and of the two swears, the horse shit one is the one that needs and benefits from it the most.  All I'm saying, people, is just shake it up a little.  Use all of your swear crayons, and our world will be richer for it. 


tipsybaker said...

Wow, you are so good. This reminded me of Stephen King defending profanity in On Writing, except better.