Sunday Sacrilege: Magic words

Words are the great ju-ju — some apparently believe we have the power to call up Satan and summon the lightning with the choice use of language. One of the common quirks of many Christian and Jewish sites on the internet is the insistence on writing G_D, as if including an "o" turns the word into a Rune of Power, is an expression of disrespect, or perhaps instills some strange fear in the writer. It's God as Voldemort, and all I can say is F_CK THAT.

There ought to be a room in every house to swear in. It's dangerous to have to repress an emotion like that.

Mark Twain

God damn it.

I was brought up to think that phrase was a great sin — gentlemen simply don't say that, and there was an especially patronizing attitude that one particularly does not say anything like that in front of women. Apparently, strong words were too much for the weaker sex.

And that's what it was all about: strong words. Words that confront and challenge, words that are expressive and exuberant, words that defy gods and defy authority, lusty words that stir up primal urges, violent words that hit hard, even when no physical assault is likely or even possible. Fightin' words. Profane words. Words that you can't say in a church, but can shout in a saloon.

Isn't that amazing? Language is power, and some people want to shackle it down and tame it and tell you what you are allowed to say — and they especially want to limit what might be an affront to an unquestioned faith or to people in power. Swearing is low-class and vulgar. It's a strange world that takes the power of language, a power that they implicitly admit is there, and turn it into an object of shame. Language is free, after all, and the lower classes and women can use that power easily…and we can't have that. Chain them down with shame, and weaken one weapon that anyone can use.

My swearing doesn't mean any more to me than your sermons do to you.

Mark Twain

But ultimately, there is no magic. There are no gods who can damn anything for us, and merely cussin' someone out does them no physical harm. Profanity is expression, which is both trivial and all-important; it's a flavor of words, like poetry or song. They all have impact in their own way, but we should no more condemn an obscenity shouted in frustration than we would poetry whispered in love.

Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.

Mark Twain

What matters isn't the words, it's the meaning. The words are there to convey significance, and it's dishonest to ourselves to pretend, to mask our meaning by declaring the relevant portion of our vocabulary off-limits. Sometimes a heartfelt "fuck you" is exactly the sentiment we want to express; why should we stitch our lips shut and hide away our feelings? Because the other is incapable of coping with honest emotion?

The spirit of wrath and not the words—is the sin; and the spirit of wrath is cursing. We begin to swear before we can talk.

Mark Twain

Words do have power and can hit us hard, but it is ridiculous to pretend that it is the words alone that are hurtful, that somehow by screening out a few strong words we can shelter tender ears and delicate minds. The most hurtful words I can think of, the phrase that can cause a great amount of actual pain, are "I don't love you any more." There's not one obscenity in there. Shall we censor talk of love because it might make someone weep?

The idea that no gentleman ever swears is all wrong. He can swear and still be a gentleman if he does it in a nice and benevolent and affectionate way.

Mark Twain

It's all about how the words are used, not the words themselves. People who are hung up on tiny fragments of language, single words and phrases, and who are intimidated or angered by them while ignoring the whole of the conversation, are shallow thinkers, superficial censors with no interest in the ideas, only that a conversation is channeled along narrow avenues that will not burst out beyond the circumscribed boundaries of his sense of propriety.

The only sin in profanity, to my ears, is that it can reflect a lack of imagination. If you're saying "fuck" or "damn" as every other word, you're doing it wrong. But you aren't making Jesus angry, all you're doing is boring me.


I am going to try an experiment here. As some of you know, there are a few whiners out there on the internet who have put up a pretense of shock and horror that I do not try to censor free expression in the comments here — you can say what you want, as you want, and the primary sins are a) interfering with the discussion with repetitive, obnoxious spamming, and b) boring me (yes, you could get banned for swearing…if that was all you ever did.)

They seem terribly upset that people write here with the same language they would use at a bar, not the prim, bottled-up language they would use in a church. To which I say…too bad. Don't read the site, then.

But I'm still going to carry out an experiment in censorship, just to demonstrate its futility. I'm going to ban certain obscenities for just one week. These are some fairly common words that some people find offensive, and I'm simply going to temporarily add them to the comment filters so that if you use them, your comment will be held up in moderation. It'll probably stay there, too, since I'm in Australia and a bit busy.

Your mission: keep on chatting in exactly the same way, as abusively and profanely and loudly as ever, only use whatever euphemisms you want for the banned words. I predict that there will be no change at all in the tone here.

The obscenities that are currently banned are:

cock
cunt
damn
fuck
kirshenbaum
mooney
shit
vegemite

Just to remind you, and also to compound the irony, these words will be listed at the bottom of every post, just beneath the comment box. I may also change the list as the whim strikes me; any changes will be accompanied by changes in the very public listing with every post.

Have fun and get creative. Remember, this is only temporary, and when I get home from Australia next week I'll remove the filters so you can mooney the shit out of every damn comment again.

More like this

Dam fine idea.

By mattand08 (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Quite right too. Civilised people say Marmite ;)

kirshenbottom, moonie

Oh, sweet coprolation copulation, you made me spit my drink out.

By Josh, Official… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Having just pulled me John Thomas from that "journalist's" suitcase, in come ol' thunderpants bellowing about our union. I thought she'd soiled her dainties but she'd just sat in some darned sammie spread.

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

There are only three of those words that I use regularly but all of a sudden, I find my friggin' vocabulary restricted.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Sounds like PZ's been licking the Cane Toads...

Fortunately, God is a very poor Wheel of Fortune contestant, so he doesn't know who you're talking about when you write "G-d."

Just more wacky god-facts, not unlike those the IDiots tell of a super-intelligence that can't think to use better solutions across taxa, but has to stick with the inheritance of a certain lineage when "designing."

He's such a character, you know, always willing to be as stupid as those who speak for him.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

By Glen Davidson (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I guess using "Kwok" is OK then?

ETA: I guess that depends what I use it for.

-DU-

By david.utidjian (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Well, frak me on a downhill slope with pogo stilts. This ought to get interesting. Nothing breeds creative use of language like restrictions. This is going to be like a Mad Libs session on crack.

*grabs a bag of popcorn and bottle of whiskey*

Hahahahaha, love it! The C word is easy, berk. (Rhyming slang, Berkshire Hunt); two certain personages are easy too: Lady Pucker & Lord Turtlehead.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Poppycock. How shall I now describe the creature which crowed following Peter's thrice denial of Christ?

I suppose it matters not; PZ's filter will clearly be as effective as Jesus' method of 'pulling out' when he felt he was about to ejaculate into Muhammad's anal cavity, after the two jovially exchanged saliva left behind from orally stimulating a pig -- that is, it won't be effective at all. Jesus gave Muhammad the clap.

--
Stan

One of the common quirks of many Christian and Jewish sites on the internet is the insistence on writing G_D, as if including an "o" turns the word into a Rune of Power, is an expression of disrespect, or perhaps instills some strange fear in the writer.

Along that lines...

Has anyone ever noticed that when broadcast on US TV, some movies that feature the word "goddam" will have the "god" half bleeped out? Never understood that. You would think that editing out the word "god" while leaving the "bad" word intact would just piss off the Big Guy even more.

By mattand08 (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Oh, fuddle-duddle...now I have to THINK before I type...

I like how v-mite comes right after s-poopy.

PZ, I'm disappointed in you! You do this explicitly as a commentary on swearing, but you only put three of Carlin's 7 Words on the list? It seems like for something like this, proper tribute needs to be paid.

With that in mind:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_Nrp7cj_tM

@Rey Fox: Seems like it should be the other way around, though.

By Sgt. Obvious (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Oh sweet cockcuntdamnfuckkirshenbaummooneyshitvegemite. It appears the filter only recognizes whitespace-surrounded terms of offense...

I'll let that go, however, and assume my previous was offensively non-profane enough.

--
Stan

Go forth and procreate PZ. You puss filled censorious squid molestor.

By Brian English (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Well #4 that #7. How dare you put #8 in the same league as those dickheads (hey, that one slips through!) #5 and #6

By Stephen, Lord … (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Pardon...

what does mean "kirshenbottom"???

The only entry en goggle is this page!!!

By elnauhual (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Oh well, I've still got bloody buggery.

Wait, I don't want bloody buggery.

Oh, and it's Monday where you are, coitushead.

By Brian English (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I wonder if the colgate twins are suffering from the vapors yet?

By Brian English (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Okay, okay. On the right post now. Euphemism?! 肏 that PZ. I'll say 屌 all I want.

By Gyeong Hwa Pak… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Squids suck balls. (Love the site, by the way.)

By JustJoe 42 (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Vagimite! Vagimite! Vagimite!

Testing, testing.

Koch, kunt, dam, fuk, cirshenbaum, moony, shite, and vaginamite(breakfast of champions).

Mmm, that was strangely satisfying on a site devoted to rational thought and reason.

How about Finnish:
VITTU SAATANA PERKELE HELVETTI

And little bit of *nix:
unzip, strip, touch, finger, grep, mount, fsck, more, yes, fsck, fsck, fsck, umount, sleep

I've found my substitution for the F word: venery. I love my little 1913 Putnam's Word Book.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Coño PZ! Qué los Mooneybaum se jodan! Mierda! Mierda! Qué me chupen la polla!

By Brian English (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

It always amused me how people use the augmented Latin alphabet to write things like "yhwh" and how they carry the nonsense over to "gd". Hebrew, like all the semitic scripts, is a defective script - it is missing the vowels (though modern Hebrew can be pointed to help those unfamiliar with the language). We can drop the vowels and create a defective "English Script" which would be legible to most English speakers most of the time (though with some small amount of difficulty). That's just the way the writing systems developed, so writing in another script and carrying over the defects of one script is simply absurd.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Well, sci-fi has given me plenty of euphemisms. And that's the frakking truth.

By tigerhawkvok.m… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Thank you, PZ. I hate people who get all upset over words.

Heh, we could always say "Frak" instead of *bleep*.

By NixNoctua (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

tigerhawk:

Well, sci-fi has given me plenty of euphemisms. And that's the frakking truth.

I think I'll stick with frelling. And frell. :D

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Vagimite! Vagimite! Vagimite!

I'd try that....Not the other one.

;)

By Rorschach (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Fook moi! That Mark Twain had a tidy turn of phrase, eh?

(Still, there goes my idea to spend the week working...velvet clam... into all my posts)

By Charlie Foxtrot (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Stephen Fry *swoon* & Hugh Laurie pulled this off in style, with some very suggestive substitutions that almost sound worse than the words they were intended to replace, handily illustrating the futility of all of this:

"Why don't you ram it up your pimhole, you fusking cloff prunker!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVkckG6zw6I (jump to 2:00 if you wish to skip the intro)

To the fainting couch!

By infi.myopenid.com (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

The ban hardly affects me at all. Only the third one has any currency in my vocabulary. My language is gobsmackingly pure.

Much purer than my immortal soul, I'm sure.

Bloody hell, I said the "v" word in my post just to test this out and sure enough, my post was done for. Harsh.

If you put assclam on that list I'll be forced to take a leave of absence for the week.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Jesus Crap! Can't say I miss swearing. All too often it's just displays a lack of imagination.

By Bill McElree (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

BoSOM, seen the "Wild Bunch" thread ?

Good you made it home safely...:-) Kel should be home by nowish, too.

My place looks as if I'm about to move house.
Oh, wait...

By Rorschach (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I guess using "Kwok" is OK then?

ETA: I guess that depends what I use it for.

-DU-

Kwok you! (ewww, I feel so dirty...)

By articulett (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

#32 It always amused me how people use the augmented Latin alphabet to write things like "yhwh" and...

For a believer it's a way of reminding readers that the name is ineffable.

In any event the Hebrew writers DID use vowel points, but they intentionally used the wrong ones in some places to remind readers not to speak the name aloud. Tyndale et al misunderstood their purpose and translated it as "Jehova." Here are some other modern mistranslations:

Gunderscored, Ghyphend, Gdashd, Gasteriskd, Goddamn

The fainting couch is open to all the faint hearts, the spanking couch is open to those of you that just must sin, and say naughty words.

A free round of grog and swill to all, spank on!

By Patricia, Igno… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Hi Rorschach * waves*

I'm just betting you chucked a sickie today. Me, on the other hand, I probably should have- maybe then that last defendant wouldn't have copped 12 years for shoplifting.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

When I first read this verbing post, I was adjective-modifiered by all the nouns you were verbing into [prepositional phrase with colorful infix]. What the noun, I sez, with adjective cunning.

Also, I must protest. Some of these banned words, when named in sequence, seem like the very essence of redundancy, like 'French Dip'. What's the effing point?

Oh well, back to channeling my inner sailor. Is there anyone left I haven't offended?

By Scott Hatfield, OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

"there was an especially patronizing attitude that one particularly does not say anything like that in front of women. Apparently, strong words were too much for the weaker sex"

Just happened recently. Had a second interview for a potential job and was warned that, given the predominately male atmosphere, I may actually hear the occasional gasp! F-bomb! The horror! My feminine ears might just curl up and fall off of my head! I clutch my pearls in girlish distress at hearing a particular arrangement of letters uttered out loud!

I recalled that a day later as I was listening to Metallica's rendition of "So What" and I couldn't stop laughing. Given the logic, that song should have killed me where I stood.

Who said a chick couldn't swear like a trucker?

By Demonhype (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

This policy will probably make bugger-all difference to me, since I normally don't swear that much, or that harshly, as far as my writing is concerned. On the other hand, I'm verbally much freer with my tongue, ... which is no bad thing...

Part of the dumb argument elsewhere on a silly blogging site (I dare not cite #5 and #6) refuses to acknowledge that profanity isn't a common characteristic of every poster here at Pharyngula: no, according to those morons, everyone here is posting nothing but toxic vulgarity without restraint... and of course, they didn't quote any of the posters who slipped below the Google "frak you" radar. How surprising.

I'll be interested to see the results of this empirical study in due course!

By Pope Maledict DCLXVI (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I can't believe you banned VeGoMaT. It's pretty hard to get here but I always keep some on hand. Spread it very thin. Of course, you could probably eat axle grease on toast if you spread it thin enough, but I've liked the stuff ever since having spent some time on an Aussie naval ship.

When Gore Vidal wrote the book "Myron," he replaced swear words with the names of the Supreme court justices who had just ruled for a legal definition of obscenity.

I suggest we can replace them with names of creationists.

Suck my Comfort, you son of a Behe!

By nejishiki (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Um,... who's "GUD"?

By Sioux Laris (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Writing G-d instead of God by religious Jewish authors isn't because of fear - it's an extension of avoiding writing the various names of God in Hebrew on ephemeral documents, because doing so renders them holy and then they can't be easily disposed of, but need to be buried in a cemetery. They're referred to as "shemot" (literally, "names"). That's also how worn out prayer books and bibles are handled.

By hyman.rosen (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

This begs the remembrance of my little 5 year old daughter asking me "Daddy, what are bad words?"

Another child at her daycare was punished for using one of these terrible words. Sent to the gulag of preschool, the Corner.

She didn't hear the word, she just saw the repercussion of its use. What words could be so horrible to earn such punishment?

Then began the only serious disagreement of child rearing me and my wife have ever had.

Without her permission, I began the education of our child. I used the maestro of profanity, George Carlin.

To witness the innocence of youth learning the seven words that cannot be said was an education in humanity itself. She went from purity of soul, to disdain for humanity in one afternoon.

It's been 3 years since then. Sure, its just anecdotal evidence, but I have a child who is fully aware of all of the 'bad words', but fails to use them. Their power has been lost. If I curse after hitting my thumb with a hammer, she doesn't even blush. She now views profanity as an idiosyncrasy of our modern times. She abides by our culture, but fails to see the offence in any words we might in our hubris call Bad.

By bart.mitchell (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

BTW:
rod
box
curse
screw
screwball
sellout
poop
gross

Thought I'd give that a whirl. :)

By Demonhype (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Oh, drucking poon, another profanity filter! Does this mean the skunting fainting daisies have won? Come on, PZ, you should know better than to give into those pudbags. And you should also know that the cunning linguists among us only need to know the rules for generating as many offensive-sounding expletives as we want!

swear like a trucker

Dearheart, I take exception to that. My dear departed husband was a trucker for over 20 years and he could NEVER out swear a Missouri farmer.

Now get a grip on your rooster and behave.

By Patricia, Igno… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Writing G-d instead of God by religious Jewish authors isn't because of fear - it's an extension of avoiding writing the various names of God in Hebrew on ephemeral documents, because doing so renders them holy and then they can't be easily disposed of, but need to be buried in a cemetery. They're referred to as "shemot" (literally, "names"). That's also how worn out prayer books and bibles are handled.

And why are they afraid to just chuck out old documents?

BOOGER!
- Johnny Fever

By cousinavi (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Because they are weinies.

By Patricia, Igno… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

@bart.mitchell:

Great work! That's the best thing you could do! Just because someone doesn't personally regard profanity as some kind of vile crime doesn't mean they are going to run around swearing like a sailor.

I never could understand how a particular arrangement of letters was treated like the greatest of crimes by the adults--who used the words themselves constantly and who so often told me that "sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you" when the kids tore me down at school.

Only I didn't just get sent to the corner, so I have a lot more anger about the situation and at hypocrisy. It was disgusting and frightening--in the most personal way--to see exactly how far some people are willing to go to censor others.

By Demonhype (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Patricia, are you telling someone to choke a chicken?

'faints'

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

It just occurs to me that this whole thread is one big challenge by PZ to see how dirty we can get with one hand tied behind our backs.

one word, ...santorum.
*childish giggle*

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

F*ck me. Why all the hate on V*gemite? This sort of smarmy, ignorant reflexive cultural snobbishness just perpetuates the wider Anglosphere's fearful, atavistic loathing of the Australian "other". It's the kind of thinking that leads to pogroms, you American/Canadian/British/Kiwi c*nts.

Feel free to keep putting the boot into Steve Fielding, though - he really is as dumb as a f*cking earthworm.

By ambulocetacean (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Thanks Demonhype.

The other half of the lesson was much more serious. I told her that words could be used to hurt people. PZ's example of 'I don't love you anymore' was perfect. I tried to teach her that how you use words, not what the words are, is where the power comes from.

It is easier to hurt people with beautiful prose than profanity.

By bart.mitchell (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

ambulocetacean:

It's the kind of thinking that leads to pogroms, you American/Canadian/British/Kiwi c*nts.

Oh, don't be a scunthorpe. :p

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I'm reminded of the language warning used on Triple J, the Australian ABC's 'youth' radio network.
(Stars below represent bleeps)

The following song contains coarse language.
Tune out now if you're offended by words such as
F**k
S**t
C**k
Balls
Staffordshire Terrier

To all those who are offended by "swear words", you can all engage in coprophagy and expire, you benighted twuntwaffles. That's right, you can just suck my throbbing joystick and choke, you end-stage syphillic puss-mouthed pedophilic pisspots.

Have a nice day. :)

By Horse-Pheathers (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

oh, bloody motherriding hell. now i'm gonna have to think before posting!

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Well, it seems that broad stereotyping had bitten me in the butt. My apologies to the truckers and sailors of the world. Unfortunately, I have no rooster to get a grip on, but if you like I could put a lid on my box. :)

By Demonhype (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I learnt a new word the other day at work. On of my less than savoury clients said the word "scunner" about some guy he had assaulted.

I have absolutely no idea what the hell but he was in the dock at the time and the coppers shot him a withering look and the Magistrate shook her head ( she had pearls on but refrained elegantly from clutching them).

So if anyone knows what a "scunner" is and whether it's nastier than santorum I'm open for learning. I can't ask him- he's in the clink for a few weeks.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

You lousy cork-soakers. You have violated my farging rights. Dis somanumbatching country was founded so that the liberties of common patriotic citizens like me could not be taken away by a bunch of fargin iceholes... like yourselves.

Oooh,excellent a Viz fan - my favourite ever profanisaurus entry is the "Dutch Blindfold".

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

@Kagato:

You fargin sneaky bastage. I'm gonna take your dwork. I'm gonna nail it to the wall. I'm gonna crush your boils in a meat grinder. I'm gonna cut off your arms. I'm gonna shove 'em up your icehole. Dirty son-a-ma-batches. My own club!

@bart.mitchell:

You're welcome! And you are right that it's the meaning. The tearing down of my own self-esteem and self-respect was done without any nasty swearing, just deliberately demeaning language from people who wanted to tear down my self-worth or thoughtless words from people who render judgement without knowing anything about the situation.

Careless words and words uttered solely to hurt people are a lot worse than a simple swear word.

@ambulocetacean:

Sorry. I have never tasted it. But I have been around it and I know that nothing short of a worldwide famine could get me to try.

By Demonhype (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

BoS OM:

So if anyone knows what a "scunner" is and whether it's nastier than santorum I'm open for learning.

Did you see my earlier comment using 'scunthorpe'? Scunner has a lot of different meanings, but I've known it to be used the same as scunthorpe.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Douchebag. You forgot douchebag.

Now if the truth be told, you can't make verbal pronouncements similarly as the written in this case, for example:

"If ccok and cnut were words to dman, and if monoey didn't fcuk krihsnebuam, I'd probably siht vigemete!"

From somewhere on de web:

"Aoccdrnig to a rsecaerh at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?"

Sorry. Don't have the citation, for either quote.

Caine, Flower of Death

Did you see my earlier comment using 'scunthorpe'? Scunner has a lot of different meanings, but I've known it to be used the same as scunthorpe.

..ahhh all has become clear now. I always thought that town had pretty much the funniest name in England.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

So.. I posted this over at the Interfucktion (it's being held in moderation):

Wow! You guys need to go see PZ's latest post. He's totally excusing any and all profanity and abusive language. It's like he doesn't even think there is anything wrong with being foul-mouthed or crude. Get this: He's trying to save face by temporarily censoring all the dirty words on his site, but I'll bet it's just a dodge to save his ass from being thrown off of Seed's SciBlogs.

Can you say "ass" over there?

By boygenius (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Oh right, like I can go a week without frakkin sayin Cow-noise-ey or cherry-tree.
Just for fun, a bit of Roman Moroni:
"You fargin cork-sarkin bastiches ! I'mma gonna keel all you iceholes you summa baches! "
Please deport me to Sweden, I'm not from there.

But seriously, folks.
Insult is rapidly becoming a lost art in this country. It's not enough to call someone a festering cownoisey dickbrained shithead, you gotta get creative with it. Look at John Cleese in Monty Python. "You turn my stomach you vacuous stuffy-noised malodorous heap of parrot droppings! "
now there's some quality insult. see how it rolls off the tongue like so much excess vaginal secretion ?

On this topic, I've had many arguments about this in the past with censorious pearl-clutchers. In one instance, a forum I used to frequent suddenly decided to Think of the Children (who were only notable by their absence), and ban naughty words, and yet, despite arguing with them for weeks at length over the silliness of blocking particular sequences of bits in one language, I was unable to convince them, due to not having a jingoistic one-liner that would fit within their attention span.

Is there a terse, but devastatingly effective argument to use in this type of situation? It seems more than a simple 'de gustibus' position.

By infi.myopenid.com (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Boygenius, I don't know whether to laugh or slap you. I think arse would have done better; I don't know though, they can get vapourish over butt.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

BoS OM, #82, writes: "I always thought that town had pretty much the funniest name in England."

And here I always thought that honor belonged to Twatt up on Orkney....

By Horse-Pheathers (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

DLC:

Insult is rapidly becoming a lost art in this country. It's not enough to call someone a festering cownoisey dickbrained shithead, you gotta get creative with it.

I'm not doing too bad, in this thread I commented: "Cardinal Brady is full of an Augean amount of ordure."

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Caine, Fleur du mal,
Glad you figured that out despite my blockquote fail. You may laugh all you like while you are slapping me, I've gotten vapourish over a butt or two in my time as well.

Slap me hard enough and I might just call you a cunning stunt.

By boygenius (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Boygenius:

Slap me hard enough and I might just call you a cunning stunt.

Hahahahahaha. Oooh, baby.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Well, that's a load of Pope Fish.

By mothwentbad (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I agree that there is no universal force that frowns every time you swear, there is no absolute evil about swearing. 'Swear' words are just words we use to describe particularly unpleasant situations or to express particularly unpleasant emotions. The words themselves, however, are neither unpleasant nor evil. In fact, these words are essential and useful.

The problem, as PZ points out, is that too many people swear too often. The problem with letting your tongue run wild with these words is that it devalues them. It's a Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf scenario. If you swear too often, nobody will raise an eyebrow when your swearing is actually justified. If you keep your swearing down to a minimum, then these words are a more powerful means of expression when you choose to wield them.

By Cheerios623 (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

#55, worn out or not, Bibles should be burned.

By Tige Gibson (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

This seems fitting to post again.

SICOTI

By boygenius (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

#55, worn out or not, Bibles should be burned.

No atheist I know or can respect would ever ask for any books to be burned, not the latest Brown garbage, and not any religious book either.

Take your fascist horse manure somewhere else.

By Rorschach (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Aww. Ah well, won't make any difference to me.

Cute list. Hm.

Colloquial words for sexual body parts, male and female. Medical terms are nicer, anyway, and presumably there's no problem using penis or vagina to discuss those sexual body parts.

A wish that a purportedly benevolent deity punish you. Of course, normally the creduloids express it in terms of looking forward to munching popcorn for eternity and watching our suffering, which is much more polite by far, as would be a simple "curse you, scurrilous varlet!".

A colloquial term for sexual intercourse (AKA coitus, sexual congress, copulation etc). Presumably, imagery such as trains thundering into tunnels or pistons plunging powerfully is exempt, it being somewhat allegorical.

Two names whose use to describe someone would taint that someone. Fair enough, let's not get so nasty we use those names as epithets.

A colloquial term for excrement. Faeces seems so much nicer than shit, anyway.
(oops, sorry, that one sneaked in!)
What a very long list would be made if I were to enumerate other terms for dung (never mind descriptive terms, such as turds or liquishit).

Finally, the name of a vile, ill-smelling, foul-tasting black tarry substance made from corpses, dregs and ordure which is a popular choice in Australia.
Truly, the vilest word came last.

By John Morales (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Rorschach, a lot of religious people believe that burning is the proper way to dispose of a bible, if one has to do it.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

@Cheerios623:

The problem, as PZ points out, is that too many people swear too often. The problem with letting your tongue run wild with these words is that it devalues them.

It also demonstrates a lack of imagination. When you can deliver invective without swearing, you are showing both emotion and creativity. You're also, by the very effort of creatively expressing your displeasure, fully demonstrating its depth and vehemence.

I generally reserve the cursing for people I don't think are worthy of the effort of being creative - and it's rare enough that I actually think a person is worth the effort. It's only happened a few times when I really wanted to make an impression.

@ Bride. Dutch blindfold was a new one on me (and there should really be a word for what the nose is doing in that scenario).

Dutch oven is old-hat, but I do enjoy a Dutch sauna - it's like a Dutch oven, but in the shower.

By ambulocetacean (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

a lot of religious people believe that burning is the proper way to dispose of a bible, if one has to do it.

If that's what the person meant then I retract and apologise.

By Rorschach (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Caine, Rorschach said that no atheist would propose burning a bible. What religious people choose to do with them is their prerogative, I guess.

/burn, baby, burn

By boygenius (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Fuck this Mooney shit.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

As long as swiving isn't outlawed.

By dexitroboper (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Feynmaniac @ 103,

I see what you did there.

;)

By Rorschach (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

See you next Tuesday, PZ.

By speedweasel (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

While in Australia, why not engage in a bit of farnarkling.

This is brought to you by John Clarke, who, like most great entertaining Australians, is from New Zealand.

It's all about how the words are used, not the words themselves.

This is a key point, and one that we encounter regularly. I know I'm not the only one who's heard "I'll pray for you" or "God bless," when it's clear that the speaker really meant "[screw] you!."

And on the other side of the coin, there are times and situations when the swear word is the appropriate one for the situation or person. Other words--no matter how creatively arranged--can rarely achieve the same punch as four well-placed letters. And I think the most creative swearing often uses those profane words; just their employment isn't a sign of creative bankruptcy, poor employment is.

Good post, PZ, and I look forward to how this big sloppy orifice of an experiment turns out.

By tfoss1983 (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

I once used a Bible for cigarette papers when I was young and broke, does the that make me a fascist POS.

The good thing is, we don't even need words to be spelled correctly to read them.

That's why it's possible for me to say that I think Mooeny's ideas are a bunch of shti, but despite that, focusing on him and Krishnabeum isn't going to make those religious fcuks go away.

Hmmm, this spelling thing. Now I understand why so many people consider it optional...

@hyman.rosen

Oh good to know. It's the same thing with Muslims. The really fartcore muslims prefer not to write "Allah" because the name is holy. They cannot touch any piece of paper with "Allah" on it unless they follow a boring procedure, because otherwise they would be disrespecting "Allah".

I guess that gives this godless horde some very nice ideas...

By Lotharloo (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I don't think there's any inherent connection between offensiveness and profanity. What makes a word offensive is how it is actually used i context. "Oh sh*t, I just stubbed my f*cking toe" is a sentence containing profanity, but is not remotely offensive to anyone. Conversely, "You are an ugly, friendless, ignorant, dishonest moron" is a highly offensive sentence, but does not contain a word of profanity.

Your reading assignment for the week, Poe's Xing the Paragrab, Here.

By BlueEyedVideot (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Cοck ⅽunt dаmn fuⅽk kirshеnbaum moоney shіt vеgemite.

I wield the power of Unicode! Look on my works and tremble, mere mortals.

By Thomas Winwood (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

And I forgot that PZ's ongoing experiment in making fun of the pearl clutchers would block my post! Let's try again with some fscking euphemisms.

I've just put this on the ongoing Intersection "Destroying public interest in bullshit" thread, copying here in case it doesn't get through moderation:

'Inasmuch as the infamous rusty-knife line- the baited hook which you have all bitten down on so heavily- was preceded by "F*ck their bullsh£t", I have to ask; did that make anybody think of sexual contact with bullsh£t? If so- what is wrong with you? If not- stop pretending that the word "f*ck", however decorated, is intrinsically a threat of violent rape.

'When theological maunderings, which are polysyllabic and terribly civil but meaningless, are met with the response "F*ck that noise"- as they have been on Pharyngula- does that make anyone think of sexual contact with noise? How would that even... work?

'As for the argument that "basic grammar" required us to take something as a threat of sexual violence- regardless of context or history- consider this. Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland
From Being Aburden to Their Parents or Country, and
For Making Them Beneficial to The Public" - 1729, google for complete text online is, by basic grammar, a straightforward call for the Irish to turn to infanticide and cannibalism. Now, does anybody actually think that Swift really was calling for the Irish to become cannibals and eat their children? The text has no other literal meaning. Swift even gives such specific instructions as "Those who are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require) may flay the carcass; the skin of which artificially dressed will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen". To understand Swift's point you would have to grasp the concepts of irony, hyperbole, and satire, and to understand the context of his writing.

'Apparently a lot of the audience here are more on the "See Spot Run" level.'

By Stephen Wells (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

My girlfriend once had to work with the BBC's banned words list. It contained all the usual suspects, but for some reason also featured 'f*ckathon'.

Is there a terse, but devastatingly effective argument to use in this type of situation?

Um... 'F*ck the Children'?

What kind of festering yet mysteriously ambulatory quim seepage would be such a monstrous practitioner of dogwankery as to object to common swearwords? Rampallians! Accursed fustilarians! Are we to be reduced to the verbal trickeries of euphemism or, indeed, dysphemism? Must we trawl our memories for perverse, mutant graffiti and lewd latrinalia?

Perhaps the linguists among us will resort to the obvious ploy of non-English obscenity. Merde and mentulae might abound. Doubtless some cunning cunnus will have the colei to kick cussing cul in this crafty manner.

I, however, will adopt a different tack, and Ratzinger the Christing fecal solids from any spunkless, whoreson, goatfelching Mohammed who tries to Robertson my right to verbally whack the Widdecombe out of the Comfort-faced, Ham-fisted Behe-asts who seek to Stein my freedom of sp**ch.

By jack.rawlinson (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

It also demonstrates a lack of imagination. When you can deliver invective without swearing, you are showing both emotion and creativity. You're also, by the very effort of creatively expressing your displeasure, fully demonstrating its depth and vehemence.

I think this is exactly the right time to remind everyone of what Stephen Fry has to say on the matter of swearing reflecting a lack of linguistic ability. Unfortunately, the video does include a four letter word. Actually, a number, but only one of them is F**k. Another is C**k. My apologies to the Ladies here present for such vulgar use of asterisks.

Let no-one accuse Stephen Fry of lacking imagination or verbal dexterity.

(The link also includes excerpts from the truly excellent Fry and Laurie, Witness sketch also linked to above.)

He said "Skank off, you cloffing cuck, you're all a load of shote-bag fuskers, so prunk that up your prime-ministering pim-hole."

By Bernard Bumner (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

And here I always thought that honor belonged to Twatt up on Orkney....

I hear they're twinned with Penistone, near Sheffield.

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I propose "Kwok them sideways with a Leica rangefinder!" as our our go-to phrase when exasperated.

By Stephen Wells (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Fortunately, one can substitute "smeg" and its variants for any of the banned words.

By Naked Bunny wi… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

It's not much of a challenge to be horribly profane and crude without the words listed.

I was once offered a real linguistic challenge, a friend of mine bet me that I couldn't go to a creationist talk at our university's christian union and not use the word "but".

Easy, right? We have "yet" and "however" and a whole slew of alternatives. My friend was betting on someone saying something so unutterably stupid that I would be reduced to an enraged spluttering of "but...but...but...but...".

I hate it when that bastard is right.

Louis

P.S. The whole antiprofanity attitude that is being mocked here is a load of cumguzzling coprotastic hellbound marmite covered NISBET!

Yeah, I said Nisbet. I'm not scared.

[whisper] hold me [/whisper]

. It contained all the usual suspects, but for some reason also featured 'f*ckathon'.

Hee. You know that one got through once. Once.

Of course it's easy not to use those words. I went about 30 years without ever using any. (Perhaps that's part of why I relish using them so much now.) There are still many situations in which I never would. But on a blog on the internet that is regularly besieged by the proudly ignorant trying to tell people that they're going to hell? Absolutely, I'll let fly with exhortations for them to go pleasure themselves so that they're too busy to spew their nonsense elsewhere where the rest of us have to deal with it.

Speaking of hell, I've always found it interesting that it's a swear word, given that God made it and sends so many people there. You'd think he'd be all proud of it.

I'm sure we could figure out a way to make "Texas State Board of Education" into a swear word, too. There's a seriously offensive thing there.

Christ, stop being such a TSBOE. (pronounced "tisboe")

I see a small list of HTML tags appear under the bleeping comment box now. That should help the scurvy-ridden newbies. (Help, headed toward pirate mode.)

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

A list of places with unfortunate names.

Mind you, I don't know why I'm sniggering, I entered this world via Pratts Bottom (as my father never tired of reminding me).

Recently, in my local library, I had trouble accessing the website for the Horniman Museum.

PS I notice that Penistone proudly (see what I did there?) boasts "one of the largest annual shows in the UK".

Ah, we're all born young, but it takes a special talent to remain immature.

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

As I read this I thought about the fact that yesterday, I used the adjective "f**khead" in connection with Andrew Brown. To me this means, "His head is f**ked." I believe that to be true. "Rotten meat head" is just too soft for how I feel.

Did someone say "Dutch"? Because godverdomme klote tyfus kut tering klootzak lul tieten schijt neuken stervendehoerenkankerkachel.

But this is like the only place I swear!

Plaguy nagging nisbetties.

Gob:

Please refrain from discussing or engaging in any sort of inter-office *bleep*ing, or s*bleep*ing, or finger*bleep*, or *bleep*sting or *bleep*eeing or or even *bleep* . Even though so many people in this office are begging for it. And if anybody does anything with my sister Lindsay, I'll take off my pants, I'll sh*bleep* . And I'll personally *long bleep*.

By captnkurt (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

What the vertical gene transfer...

Oh sweet cockcuntdamnfuckkirshenbaummooneyshitvegemite. It appears the filter only recognizes whitespace-surrounded terms of offense...

That's not a bug, that's a feature. I know a blog where socialism was once accidentally banned because there's Cialis in it...

<pretend blush>

(I know that character by heart because it's so simple.)

In any event the Hebrew writers DID use vowel points, but they intentionally used the wrong ones in some places to remind readers not to speak the name aloud. Tyndale et al misunderstood their purpose and translated it as "Jehova."

The vowels come from 'eloha, "god".

Have a nice day. :)

I'm told Raygun used to say "have a peaceful day". Is that true?

The problem, as PZ points out, is that too many people swear too often. The problem with letting your tongue run wild with these words is that it devalues them. It's a Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf scenario. If you swear too often, nobody will raise an eyebrow when your swearing is actually justified. If you keep your swearing down to a minimum, then these words are a more powerful means of expression when you choose to wield them.

Go to Sweden.

7878

The really fartcore muslims

:-D

Day saved!

prefer not to write "Allah" because the name is holy.

It's not even a name, it's just a slight contraction of "the god"...

I propose "Kwok them sideways with a Leica rangefinder!" as our our go-to phrase when exasperated.

Seconded!!!

stervendehoerenkankerkachel

:-D

What does kachel mean? German Kachel is just a kind of tile...

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I propose "Kwok them sideways with a Leica rangefinder!" as our our go-to phrase when exasperated.

Awesome.
Facebooked already.

By Rorschach (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

You have outlawed Sheril K. and Chris M?

So are they now K and M
or are they now S and M?

S and C has no ring to it.

How come Ham is not a curse word?
After all he represents more than a strategy that you disagree with, he is the enemy of all that is good in science, philosophy, etc.

By Childermass (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

"Kwok them sideways with a Leica rangefinder!"

That-there's funny - I don't care where ya come from.

BoS OM #73:

Scunner is a Scots word which is pretty mild something like disgust. Interested to see it being used/misused by Scunthorpeans. And, of course, for the purposes of Euphemism Week may its meaning change out of all recognition!

BoS OM, #82, writes: "I always thought that town had pretty much the funniest name in England."
And here I always thought that honor belonged to Twatt up on Orkney....

Orkney's not in England. I think it's technically Norway.*

Also "Cockermouth" is funnier.

*I know Orkney isn't in Norway. It was a joke of sorts. Still not England, though.

By mattheath (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Humbug! :D.

By HappyHax0r (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Quoting Stephen Wells, quoting himself:

'Apparently a lot of the audience here are more on the "See Spot Run" level.'

The female half of the Colgate Twins has a history of not understanding context, or it seems the more advanced literary devices. Which is odd, since she clearly is not a stupid person, at least not generally stupid. However there does seem to be a real lack of comprehension skills with her.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

The polite way to say "M**ney" is "Unificationist" or "member of the Unification Church". I take it I'm not the first to notice how weirdly appropriate that is.

By mattheath (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Belgium!

Gesundheit !

By Rorschach (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I just hope PZ doesn't decide to ban "lesbian" and "bacon" on a whim.

By Naked Bunny wi… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

The letter o looks like a ring so if you spell God out in print or when speaking you accidently invoke Sauron while also making him a diety, which would just be bad. At least, that's the only explanation I can come up with, apart from that maybe someone involved in making the rules in ancient Judaism had a bit of obsessive-compulsive disorder, which might also explain some of the odder parts of Kosher law.

Hrm... It could create scansion issues, here, tho'...

Let's see:

North, South, East, West / Kill the best and buy the rest / It's just spend a buck to make a buck / You don't really give an airborne copulation / About the people in misery...

(/... aww, close enough, I guess.)

@134... I feel I may perhaps have done a slightly bad thing.

Still, couldn't happen to a nicer alumnus of a really very prestigious New York educational establishment.

By Stephen Wells (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

PZ! It's Euphemism Week!!
Watch your explicit lingo, please..

By RijkswaanVijanD (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Stephen, no, no, that wasn't a slightly bad thing, it was a brilliant thing you did! "Kwok them sideways with a Leica rangefinder!" must live and happily replicate all throughout the net.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Just thought this was appropriate.

"To tell you the truth--mind, this is strictly between ourselves, please; I shouldn't like your wife to know I said it--the women folk don't understand these things; but between you and me, you know, I think it does a man good to swear. Swearing is the safety-valve through which the bad temper that might otherwise do serious internal injury to his mental mechanism escapes in harmless vaporing. When a man has said: "Bless you, my dear, sweet sir. What the sun, moon, and stars made you so careless (if I may be permitted the expression) as to allow your light and delicate foot to descend upon my corn with so much force? Is it that you are physically incapable of comprehending the direction in which you are proceeding? you nice, clever young man--you!" or words to that effect, he feels better. Swearing has the same soothing effect upon our angry passions that smashing the furniture or slamming the doors is so well known to exercise; added to which it is much cheaper. Swearing clears a man out like a pen'orth of gunpowder does the wash-house chimney. An occasional explosion is good for both. I rather distrust a man who never swears, or savagely kicks the foot-stool, or pokes the fire with unnecessary violence. Without some outlet, the anger caused by the ever-occurring troubles of life is apt to rankle and fester within. The petty annoyance, instead of being thrown from us, sits down beside us and becomes a sorrow, and the little offense is brooded over till, in the hot-bed of rumination, it grows into a great injury, under whose poisonous shadow springs up hatred and revenge.

Swearing relieves the feelings--that is what swearing does. I explained this to my aunt on one occasion, but it didn't answer with her. She said I had no business to have such feelings."

Jerome K Jerome - The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow.

By martin.benson (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

David, the entire phrase translates to "dying hookers cancer stove", kachel being stove, or heater, or some such. It has less to do with what it means and more with how wonderful it is to pronounce.

I'm afraid my German dirty idiom stretches considerably less far. It is my experience that German is a language much more suited to ranting than to swearing.

@ #85,

Perhaps Alice & Humpty Dumpty can help us here:

"'when I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be the master - that's all.'"

Stimpy, David & Robhoofd..
It's dutch, not german.
You stupid brainblathering idiots!

By RijkswaanVijanD (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Frill everyone who thinks frak[k] is a suitable substitute.

JC

Well yes, Rijkswaanvijand, David was attempting to translate my Dutch obscenities into his native German. Gezichtshandpalm.

@PZ Myers:
Religious Jews aren't afraid to throw out documents that have God's name written in them - it's just one of the many observances they follow out of a sense that the rules are what God wants them to do.

By hyman.rosen (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

It's dutch, not german.

Dutch, English, German, Danish, whatever.

Religious Jews aren't afraid to throw out documents that have God's name written in them - it's just one of the many observances they follow out of a sense that the rules are what God wants them to do.

So they do it just because they think they have been told to ? Not the most satisfying of reasons is it ?

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I got away with swearing loudly in high school by saying 'frell'. Thank you, oh blessed cable SciFi, for providing the obscure substitutions for us!

Oder soll man "Dutch, Deutsch, meinetwegen" sagen?

They're really all pretty similar languages, even if not mutually comprehensible.

Euphemism Week?

Really?

Alright so some of those terms are truly offensive, but 'cock'?*

How are we going to talk about the laterally hermaphroditic chicken?

*(h/t Marjanović for the cheesy html trick)

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

What a pile of male bovine fecal matter!

By burnett210 (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

JC:

Frill everyone who thinks frak[k] is a suitable substitute.

It's frell, gorram it!

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Well Jesus Effing Christ on a pike. How will we ever carry on?

My new favorite curse: Kwok me sideways with a Leica rangefinder.

Steve_C

By stevieinthecit… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

@Kagato #158: I love you for that, and in a totally sexual way.

By Naked Bunny wi… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

It's frell, gorram it!

I blame long weekend, too early and no coffee.

Correction accepted.

JC

The problem with euphamisms, just to take the issue quasi-seriously for a moment, is that they don't change the emotion behind the statement and so become the "worse" word in time. Consider arse versus ass.

Oh, this is too fun.

So I can't call mooneytits by his real name. But I can call him a pinche cabrón? Or maybe pinche pendejo is better?

And, since I'm having to convert all my favorite words, el pinche pendejo puede ir chingando mismo.

Yes, the only Spanish I know is gutter Spanish.

I am working on a good swear in Welsh. Sadly none of the classes I took ever covered how to swear.

In meanwhile I offer this:

"yn twll tin Ifan saer"

The literal meaning is "In the carpenter's arse", but is better translated as a sarcastic reponse along the lines of "Kwacked if I know".

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

So they do it just because they think they have been told to? Not the most satisfying of reasons is it ?

I do so find myself wishing we could somehow leverage* this concept, tho'...

I mean, it could go somethin' like this:

(Holds temples, as tho' in ectasy or pain or perhaps merely as tho' chanelling a bad B-movie actor...) 'Oh wow, like, I'm getting a message from the Gawd right now...

'Yep. It's comin' in clearly. So listen up, peeps:

'So Gawd's all like: throw out all yer assmuppet-humpin' holy books, this is my command, oh my chosen suckers... Oh, same goes for the Moslems, the Christians, everyone. Dump 'em all, thanks kindly... This is yer deity talking... I repeat: torahs, bibles, korans... Into the landfill with 'em quicklike... And let's never hear another syphilitic-rash-inducing word about a single one of 'em ever again, thanks, all...

('Oh, and you can do the same with yer James Blunt CDs, too... I mean, as long as we're at it...)

'Also, these are your additional new commands: move on, ya nutters. I was a perfectly good tribal war god in my day, but come on people, it's been a few millenia, I'm way overdue for retirement, and your kids are gonna need the room in their forebrains for little things like grasping 21st particle physics and remembering how to program their espresso makers properly anyway, so let's not be cluttering up their lil' noggins with silly rules about the eating of shellfish...

'I mean, what, didn't you idiots get it? That and the whole bit about not wearing hats, wearing hats... I was just punking that idiot Paul and the earlier prophets, kapiche? Man, you people can be thick...

'I mean, we had this bet in heaven. Gabriel was all like 'I can't believe the excremental weirdness people will actually do if they're told it comes from you... It's like, we could make up some stupid bovine feces about not wearing polyester blends, and they would actually take that seriously...' And I was all like 'Oh, c'mon... There has to be a rule stupid enough even these rubes 'll get it's a joke... I know... Let's tell 'em no cheese with meat... I mean, that's just stupid, right...

'Well, now I know better, I guess...

'Anyway... that's all, Gawd over and out. Now get on it, losers...'

... yes, I know, even if it worked, absent any sort of proper education in actual thinking, this sorta stunt would probably only get us a population of idiots casting about randomly for different stupid silliness to believe in... But still, a guy can dream...

(/*Oddly enough, I find using 'leverage' as a verb vaguely obscene, and thus should probably be satisfied I have profaned enough in this message right here, thankyaverramuch.)

Belgium!

By See Nick Overlook (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I'm reminded of the bit in Pratchett's "Interesting times", where the elderly barbarians have been issued with a scroll of "acceptable, civilised words". This results in exchanges like "We're supposed to enter the city through a... lovemaking pipe? We didn't come all this way to conquer a lovemaking pipe!" --- "What's a lovemaking pipe? hur hur hur"

By Stephen Wells (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

There was an old farmer who lived on a rock
He sat in the meadow just shaking his
Fist at some boys who were down by the crick
Their feet in the water their hands on their
Marbles and playthings and at half past four
There came a young lady she looked like a
Pretty young creature she sat on the grass
She pulled up her dress and she showed them her
Ruffles and laces and white fluffy duck
She said she was learning a new way to
Bring up her children so they would not spit
While the boys in the barnyard were shoveling
Refuse and litter from yesterday's hunt
While the girl in the meadow was rubbing her
Eyes at the fellow down by the dock
He looked like a man with a sizable
Home in the country with a big fence out front
If he asked her politely she'd show him her
Little pet dog who was subject to fits
And maybe she'd let him grab hold of her
Small tender hands with a movement so quick
And then she'd bend over and suck on his
Candy so tasty made of butterscotch
And then he'd spread whipped cream all over her
Cookies that she had left out on her shelf...

If you think this is dirty you can go f**k yourself!

By Benjamin Geiger (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Fuckyou, you fucking fucker - I had to try it!

By chuckgoecke (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

kachel being stove, or heater, or some such

Oh, the focus or epicenter of a disease… that makes sense: "you are where the cancer of dying whores comes from", I gather :-)

(Classical Latin focus = "stove". Not "fire"; that shift happened later.)

It is my experience that German is a language much more suited to ranting than to swearing.

Fully agreed! For swearing, try Hungarian.

Oder soll man "Dutch, Deutsch, meinetwegen" sagen?

Meinetwegen means grudging acceptance, not complete indifference.

(And I still don't know where that -et- comes from.)

I love you for that, and in a totally sexual way.

X-D

kapiche?

Capisce?

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Rowing to Galveston.

Actually, this post really helped me out a lot. I'm in a really bad mood because someone I love has been ignoring me for a long time---it's definitely far more painful than even the most vitriolic chewing-out I've ever been subjected to.

Funny how no words at all can be so heartbreaking. And right now I just want to take Mark Twain's advice and scream curses at the top of my lungs, but probably my coworkers would be alarmed at that.

By cody.cameron (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Not one phuquing thing has changed here!

cody, I've been there. It sucks and I'm sorry. It takes a long time to come around to really feeling that if they're the kind of person who acts that way, then they're not worth the time it takes for your brain to even think of them. But in the meantime, there's the swearing, at least internally. Being creative helps. ;)

For swearing, try Hungarian.

BÜDÖS PICSÁBA!!!

Scroll down a little to learn more about Central European swearing than you ever dared to ask, or ever will dare. ;-)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Meinetwegen means grudging acceptance, not complete indifference.

Hmm...I thought it meant something on the order of "for all I care". Maybe "mir ist es scheissegal" would have been better?

My mother has often cited my grandfather as having claimed that "profanity is the crutch of the conversational cripple." Did he get that from Mark Twain?

Either way, I say: shtup that noise. I'll swear up a blue streak whenever the frak I effin' well feel like it.

Nobody's right about everything.

By alysonmiers (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

boobies

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

boobies

Let's see how many variants of that word we can use. Here's a good source (at the end).

I'll start off:

Jubblies.

Wobbly bits. I think that covers most of them.

Fun bags. That one always bothered me a bit.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Why are good and useful things made into "bad" words? I think it is disrespectful of sexuality to turn a word for the act into an expletive. The same applies to sexual body parts. One could even argue that excrement is a useful material in agriculture.

If we're going to swear, the words should describe things that are genuinely bad or entirely useless (or frustrating). And, of course, they should still have those nice Teutonic edges.

Does anyone know of any good alternatives for these particular words? All I can think of is "hazmat", but even those materials have some utility.

By Reader5000 (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

What would make me clutch my pearls? If PZ were to ban 'poopey head'.

*feel faint just thinking about it*

Kids in Sweden cheerfully use english words when swearing, but since they don't know enough about context, they have no idea about which english words are stronger, and which are weaker.
It is like a non-jewish person using the terms "putz", "schmuck" and "schlemiel" interchangeably, without regard for the relative "oomph" of the words.
You can witness the same phenomenon with someone who is bilingual in Swedish and Finnish, but has a limited experience of the swear-words in one of the languages.

Eddie Murphy once remarked that when foreigners who don't know english well recognize him, they use the most common words from his films and shout: "Eddie Murphy, F*ck You!" as a greeting...this is the same phenomenon.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

What would make me clutch my pearls?

If someone were to keep me square in them...

That's about it.

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

What would make me clutch my pearls? If PZ were to ban 'poopey head'.

We could always fall back on saying coprocrania instead. I forget who coined that, but it is brilliant.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Reader5000, good idea.

Alternate swear words, n./adj.:

Staphylococcal

Candiru

Taenia

grrr...

first post in 3 days and I flub it... and I can't even spout off with any good dogblammed carsafrockin mulderfutzing curse words.

trying again:

What would make me clutch my pearls?

If someone were to kick me square in them...

That's about it.

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

When I worked domestic violence in Baltimore I had to interview partners of men who were in the batterers group. Sexual violence is a big part of DV, so I ended up hearing a lot of sexual profanities (and casually discussing fetishes, St. Andrew's Crosses, golden showers, etc...). I thought I had really learned all there was to know about sexual swear words...

...then I started working with teenagers. Bloody HELL those kids are CREATIVE. :)

By heatherly (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

CE@199: I thought you were making some sort of math joke about squaring the circle (or cubing the sphere) that I wasn't quite getting in 195. While your clarification does make more sense I'm somehow vaguely disappointed.

It is like a non-jewish person using the terms "putz", "schmuck" and "schlemiel" interchangeably, without regard for the relative "oomph" of the words.

and what are the relative oomph of the three words?

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

My wife is rather soft-spoken and reserved, especially at work where she keeps her demeanor very professional. So it's always fun when there is an off-hours social event of sorts and some of the closer work-friends get to see her other side. She swears at least as much as I do, especially the 'god' one or the fornication one, and most especially when her team is losing. It's interesting to be in another room and hear the outbursts. In spite of what some may think, she does not need to be sheltered from 'strong' language. The thing I'm not sure about yet is how much I will try to censor myself around the little one. I don't give a frelling frak if they cuss like a sailor when they get older, as long as they know that there is a time and place for being polite (namely, job interviews or anytime their grandparents are around).

This is quite interesting. When I lived in Germany, I came across a word that had begun as a German one for sex, moved to English as the f-bomb, and gone back to Germany in revised form as a term for messed up: Alles ist abgefucked.

By Leslie in Canada (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

@Carlie, thanks. Your suggestions are good ones, describing not just useless but actually harmful things.

"Staphylococcal" is long enough to stand in for the long words in Carlin's list. And it has enough guttural sounds. "What a staphylococcal so-and-so!" could work, even if grapes are actually good things.

But your other suggestions actually sound pretty! I'm looking for those satisfying Germanic consonants with a hard, definitive ending.

Anyone else have any suggestions?

By Reader5000 (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

My blasphemy for the week is summed by the following three dirty words strung together as a phrase:

"Israeli Apartheid Week"

...Peeps can debate the merits of the said phrase all they want. I just want to say it because I know it gets certain writer over at the Toronto Star panties in all a twist.

This is quite interesting. When I lived in Germany, I came across a word that had begun as a German one for sex, moved to English as the f-bomb, and gone back to Germany in revised form as a term for messed up: Alles ist abgefucked.

What does it mean in Austria?

The most hurtful words I can think of, the phrase that can cause a great amount of actual pain, are "I don't love you any more."

No, the most hurtful words anyone can say to a young man of 24 years, who realizes he is as good-looking as he'll ever be, would be the following from a blonde young thing he'd never met: "You know who you look like? Charles Nelson Reilly!"

Trust me on this.

By Cliff Hendroval (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I can't say "sh*t"? Fine. I'll just have to start saying "cack". Flippin cackheads.

By aratina cage (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

It always makes me giggle when people are so offended by individual words rather than the intent and thought behind them and their use. Perhaps it's that I'm studying English Language, but I've always treated language as a flexible system and recognized that words only have meaning in relation to the other words that define them.

For anyone who's actually interested in the subject, some good reading would be Saussure's Linguistics and Derrida on deconstruction. It's pretty interesting theoretical language stuff that actually makes sense when you consider our language systems (and best part is that it doesn't just apply to English).

"Israeli Apartheid Week"

By "week" I'll assume you mean "fifty-two years and counting".

PZ:
Your powers are indeed great! The thread is closed on the Intersuction. This is priceless:

Do to the nature of incoming comments, we have decided to close this thread.

Kirshenkwak has lost the ability to accurately express her thoughts in writing, presumably due to a case of the vapors.

What about an epenthesis of a swear word ? It can be fun too.
In french, Alfred Jarry started his play Ubu Roi with

Merdre ! (epenthesis of the french word for sh*t)

What about

fluck you !

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Kirshenkwak has lost the ability to accurately express her thoughts in writing, presumably due to a case of the vapors.

It is not all that clear she ever had that great an ability to express her thoughts in writing. Pictures of kissing, on the other hand, she does well.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Why are good and useful things made into "bad" words? I think it is disrespectful of sexuality to turn a word for the act into an expletive. The same applies to sexual body parts. One could even argue that excrement is a useful material in agriculture.

That's a good point. In my first novel, the protagonist's culture doesn't use f*ck as profanity; it's strictly used to refer to the act of sex, which they do not consider a dirty or shameful thing. Also, there are some people whom I think shouldn't be called assholes; it's insulting to decent, hardworking anuses everywhere.

By alysonmiers (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

just testing some diacritics

c̖͉̟̝̭͉o̜̩c̲k͉

Also, there are some people whom I think shouldn't be called assholes; it's insulting to decent, hardworking anuses everywhere.

It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.

By aratina cage (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

What farging icehole dreamed up this zhit?

The ways people use to "outsmart" language filters are already too numerous to count. And as others have pointed out, it isn't very difficult.
F@Ck
F UCk
FU@K
4uck
F(_)CK
FUC|<
|=UCK

Really, there's no point in trying to enforce a puritanical ban against naughty words. People will always find a way to swear. I think most mainstream websites use a language filter just absolve themselves of the responsibility of having to monitor user submitted content.

Really, there's no point in trying to enforce a puritanical ban against naughty words. People will always find a way to swear.

Guys, you're missing the point! Myers is attempting to get people to have fun with euphemisms! He obviously knows the filter doesn't actually stop anyone who doesn't want to play along (astute commentators have been using transparent html tags for ages to get "banned" words through the filter without the reader even being able to notice).

Take the challenge for what it is and just have fun with it! Or don't, but there's no point in lecturing about how filters don't work, because that's like trying to explain to us that God doesn't really have the whole world in his hands. Everyone here knows it already...

The Intersection, need I add, does have a profanity filter.

Odd thing was it was only set up to filter common American profanity. It was quite happy to let through wanker and tosser. I knew the male half of the gruesome twosome has problems understanding a world exists outside the US, but it did amuse me.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

If you live in Scunthorpe you are safe.

By and7barton (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Non-sweary-swearing: Hot Fuzz - Hot Funk

Let's see how many variants of that word we can use.

Oh, and that lovely old standby of bygone British sex-farces, puppies.

(See also: Hush Puppies - breasts so large that all of the mammary enthusiasts present are rendered speechless upon seeing them.)

By Bernard Bumner (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Fido, Your Leash Is Too Long

Fido, your leash is too long
You go where you don’t belong
You’ve been digging in the rubble
Gettin’ bitches in trouble
Fido, your leash is too long

Fido, your leash is too long
I don’t know where I went wrong
You scare me out of my wits
When you do that Shih Tzu
Fido, your leash is too long

Fido, you’ve gone far enough
I must have all of your love
You just run out of luck
I don’t care what you foxhounds
Do, but your leash is too long

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I'll just do the same thing on here as I do on Fark. Use a * for a single letter in the filtered word. c*ck, c*nt, d*mn, f*ck, k*rshenbaum, mo*ney, sh*t, vegem*te.

Hell, I'm so familiar with doing that because of sites like Fark that I was initially weirded out by being able to just type out f*ck when I started posting on this site. So your temp filter is just making me revert to a style of typing that I'm already familiar with.

Still, you want creative swearing? Here ya go (link is SFW; it's a Penny Arcade strip).

To those who would censor, I suggest you apply an oral vacuum to a chlamydia-crusted goat taint and work your way toward the hairy balloon knot, tongue first.

Typing your real, full name filters to: vegemite

OMG it works!

The most hurtful words I can think of, the phrase that can cause a great amount of actual pain, are "I don't love you any more."

I think that could be topped by "I never really loved you."

To which the appropriate reply could be something like "Fine then, you oozing bag of staphylococal pus."

I think that could be topped by "I never really loved you."

How about,

You call that a penis, now this is a penis.

Being said from who you thought was the cute girl you just picked up.

Now if your preference is for penis, then maybe not so painful. Or maybe.

Wow. I should stop now.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Balzac!

By robinsrule (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

If you see Kay, tell her about this thread.

I use "damnation" as a swear word. It sounds mild and old-fashioned, but it really is about the most obscene thing imaginable--sending someone to hellfire forever, I mean.

What four-letter word for a woman ends with -unt? Aunt.

"Shemot" is my new swear word. Thanks.

By Menyambal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

@213

"Nom de dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperie de connard d'enculé de ta mère"

Hee hee...

And I can still use all my own regional swear words, which are all religion-oriented:

"Hostie de calisse de tabarnak !"

Hostie : Jebus cracker
calisse : the cup contain Jebus blood
tabarnak (more accurately tabernacle) : the little box that contains the Jebus crackers

The funny side of having those as swear words is that it gets kids sniggering when priests talk.

"God" is merely a job description, not a proper name.

"All I said was 'Jehovah'!"
-Poor bastard about to be stoned in "Life of Brian"

By LightningRose (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Some things can be greatly changed by a simple act of censorship: See here [youtube.com] for a fine example.

If I may be allowed to quote the immortal Carlin:

"Can't say Nigger, Boogie, Jig, Jigaboo, Skinhead, Moolimoolinyon, Schvatzit, Junglebunny. Greaser, Greaseball, Dago, Guinea, Whop, Ginzo, Kike, Zebe, Heed, Yid, Mocky, Himie, Mick, Donkey, Turkey, Limey, Frog. Zip, Zipperhead, Squarehead, Crout, Hiney, Jerry, Hun, Slope, Slopehead, Chink, Gook. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those words in and of themselves. Their only words. It's the context that counts. It's the user. It's the intention behind the words that makes them good or bad. The words are completely neutral. The words are innocent. I get tired of people talking about bad words and bad language. Bullshit!"

By Givesgoodemail (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Every time I spell out My name in full, I get so pissed off that I have to beat the crap out of Jesus to forgive Myself.

Great steaming piles of pig turds! I've rarely seen so much putting-a-hot-dog-in-the-fuzzy-bun lack of park-the-weinermobile-in-the-dark-damp-garage creativity amongst the usually witty commenters here.

Most of you dip-your-magic-stick-into-the-honey-potters don't even seem to be making a poop-flinging primate's effort to be original!

By Bastion Of Sass (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

re HH @219:

The ways people use to "outsmart" language filters are already too numerous to count. And as others have pointed out, it isn't very difficult.

Did you even read PZ's posting?

But I'm still going to carry out an experiment in censorship, just to demonstrate its futility. I'm going to ban certain obscenities for just one week.[emphasis added]

Censorship is a warthog's anus. It's child-rapingly easy to spout offensive language, no matter what the mongol-brained rules try to keep out.

I've never really been a fan of Tom Green, but this song is relevant.

-Kirshenkwak has lost the ability to accurately express her thoughts in writing, presumably due to a case of the vapors.

I am not sure she had the ability to be rigorous, accurate and comprehensive in her writing to begin with. The woman is a certified intellectual lightweight and is writing a book on *kissing*, for fbuck's sake. Moonish is was a little better than her, but seems to have radically dumbed down since he wrote "The Republican War". The twins desperately need a healthy dose of rigor and clarity of thought, but they are always going to be too clueless to ask.

By Quantumburrito (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

If leaving out the vowels is a sign of respect, does tossing in a few extra vowels indicate disrespect? Jeeeeesuuuuuus!

By Menyambal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

When looking for for foreign swear words that are particularly appropriate for Pharyngula, one need go no further than Quebec.

Standard Quebecois cuss words:

Sacrament!
Tabarnac!
Baptême!

I still find them endlessly amusing.

As far as the new rules go, I don't think I tend to cuss very much, but I do sometimes refer to the instigators at the InterDungeon. It's easy enough to refer to
(_|_)-ey
(yes, that's my depiction of a moon), but how to label Lady Vapors?

By Physicalist (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

but how to label Lady Vapors?

:-*(_|_)
Kissinbum. Close enough.

"God" is merely a job description, not a proper name.

Yeah, like "Smith," "Cooper," "Sawyer," etc.

By Paul W., OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Heh your typical middle schooler already knows it's not the actual words that are 'bad'.
I remember when I was about 13-14 in school (not too long ago:p) we used to have endless fun singing a song of which every second line ended in the first few sounds of a 'bad' word, only to form a normal word as the first of the next sentence.
For those that know Dutch, I think this was our version (shamelessly stolen from a site

10 pond bananen, bananen zijn gezond
adam en eva in hun blote kon-stantinopel
is een mooie stad, daar lopen de meisjes in
hun blote ga je mee naar frankrijk,frankrijk
is zo leuk daar wordt iedere avond heel wat af ge-
neushoorntjes vangen in het hoge riet daar lopen
de meiden in hun blote ti ta tovenaar heeft een lange sik
en als hij van te trap afvalt dan valt hij op zijn pikken is
verboden stelen mag je niet dit is het einde van ons
beschaafde lied.

By Haruhiist (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Well, I personally think it's a grand idea to ban a male rooster, and a home built by a beaver. But what is wrong with the female vagina?

As for a certain gentleman whose name begins with a "k", well, there's no excuse to bring him up in conversation at all.

I've never been a fan of the airplane company whose name is very similar to Professor Lupin's nickname anyway so why write about them?

I see no problem talking about scat or the Australian equivalent of Marmite. Other than the flavour where's the harm?

Thanks, KOPD. I think I'm good to go now.

By Physicalist (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

:-*(_|_)

For some reason, I see this and think of a remora.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Enough is enough! I've had it with these monkey-fighting snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane!

Similarly, has anyone seen the TV edit of Robocop?

One forum I frequent used to have an automatic filter that would replace any racist terms with the string "[racist language is not allowed]", and other swearwords with a less-rude equivilent, e.g. "dick" would become "[male genitalia]" .

This mainly served to draw attention to (usually unintentional) "swearing" that would not have been noticed otherwise, for example if someone was tried to talk about "a [racist language is not allowed] in his armour".

The most amusing instance though was when someone had his username automatically changed from Nightwatch to Nigh[female genitalia]ch.

Not long after that, the filter was made slightly more intelligent in its selection of banned words, and also merely replaced them with stars.

This still meant you had absurdities of censorship like "Moby ****", although I think "**** Cheney" is actually quite appropriate.

By GravityIsJustATheory (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

But what is wrong with the female vagina?

As opposed to the other kinds?

(I don't mean to slight intersexed people or transsexuals like the talented Buck Angel (do not google from work), but 'female vagina' struck me as amusingly redundant.)

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

PZ wrote "If you're saying "the F-bomb" or "dam with an n" as every other word, you're doing it wrong. But you aren't making Jesus angry, all you're doing is boring me."

Reminds me of 'The Blair Witch Project'. I've been in the military where the F-word was a common part of the language so I've heard it plenty before and used it once or twice myself but that movie just plain overdid it. I started wondering what expletive they would use if they were really seriously angry or afraid? Obviously it wasn't phuk because that was every third word of their dialogue. It lost its meaning and as PZ says, became boring.
Anyway, euphemisms can be gol dang fun.

By Die Anyway (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

@254

Yes, I know people like that as well. The only way to tell that they are upset is by tone of voice, because the vocabulary isn't going to change. What is a scalpel in the hands of some is a cudgel in the hands of others.

Anyway, this whole issue remains absurd. Assey, the Remora and their psychophants--I know, but can you think of a better term for the Kw*k?--who think that people are more likely to listen to you if you don't use profanity on occasion have never lived in a blue-collar town.

There are substantial segments of my community where the quickest way to be dismissed as a mincing egghead with no relationship with the real world is to talk about science and not use a few four-letter words.

Yes, I know people like that as well. The only way to tell that they are upset is by tone of voice, because the vocabulary isn't going to change. What is a scalpel in the hands of some is a cudgel in the hands of others.

As I was saying above. Hell, my province's economy is built on people like that.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

#33 said: "Well, sci-fi has given me plenty of euphemisms. And that's the frakking truth."

250+ comments later and there's been plenty of frakking and frelling going on, but no fragging? Where's the Babylon 5 love here, people?

Matt Penfold:

We could always fall back on saying coprocrania instead. I forget who coined that, but it is brilliant.

It was Josh, Official SpokesGay.

Physicalist:

but how to label Lady Vapors?

It's Lady Pucker and Lord Turtlehead.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Some things can be greatly changed by a simple act of censorship: See here [youtube.com] for a fine example.

Can someone explain to me why I hear a /k/ at the end of the /bi:b/ when even when I know it's a /t/?

Maternal fornicator, half of my vocabulary is verboten. This cast-into-the-infernal-regions fecal matter had better not last more than a week or else I will go the the Intersuction and Kwok the Colgate Twins sideways with a Leica rangefinder!

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Just testing....

Fucking fuckton of unfucked fuckless fuckers.

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

"Jesus! I must go to the crapper. There's a turtlehead in me undercrakers!!"

By Physicalist (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

So as long as there's a prefix or a suffix, you can use any cocksucking cuntlicking goddamn fucking shitsucking vegemitey language you like.

Huh.

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Ya know, much as I agree with you and love the way you wrote this, proving your deviant horde of pervy squid fanciers can be just as obnoxious without certain words isn't really all that impressive. It's also backassward- you really want to show how sweet and kind and gentle you can be whilst swearing like sailors. Can you give me a call when it's that week on the blog?

Oh, and your mother was a hampster and your father smelt of elderberries.
(because that belongs in every thread like this)

By sciencelizard (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

place names "long bone suck" kentucky
buttlick ky
of couse one can use carny shizzit PZ

By broboxley (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I see this and think of a remora.

It take's some effort for me to see it, but it works.

It's Lady Pucker and Lord Turtlehead.

That works too, but I'm personally more comfortable with the fainting couch imagery. (Not that this is apparent from my rendering of (_|_)-ey's name -- which could probably be brought in line with the "Turtlehead" label by someone with more time and cleverness than I have at the moment . . . )

By Physicalist (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Posted by: alysonmiers

My mother has often cited my grandfather as having claimed that "profanity is the crutch of the conversational cripple.

Or, as I heard it, "Profanity is the literary crutch of an inarticulate motherfucker."

By Electric Monk'… (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

(Not that this is apparent from my rendering of (_|_)-ey's name -- which could probably be brought in line with the "Turtlehead" label by someone with more time and cleverness than I have at the moment . . . )

Seems pretty obvious to me.

(_*_)

C U Next Tuesday

By Reality Chic (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I think Christopher Hitchens has proven often enough that you can cut deep wounds just as well without profanity as you can with. It is clearly the message, not the tools used, that do the damage. However, there is no doubt that profanity can sometimes be a crutch for the unskilled word smith, employed when we don't know how else to express our displeasure. That doesn't mean the words are always used this way, of course.

By ckitching (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

A friend of mine asked me to send a copy of the ultimate flame for her to show her kids that you don't need the standard expletives to be insulting.

The worst word was piss. She claimed that there were some that she didn't understand, but found others which made it clear the recipient was being insulted.

Her favorite: "you remind me of drool."

Writing G-d instead of God by religious Jewish authors isn't because of fear - it's an extension of avoiding writing the various names of God in Hebrew on ephemeral documents, because doing so renders them holy and then they can't be easily disposed of, but need to be buried in a cemetery. They're referred to as "shemot"....

Holy books are called "smut." Got it!

By voice0reason (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Her favorite: "you remind me of drool."

An excellent insult. I must remember to use it the next time I feel like castigating someone.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

There ought to be a room in every house to swear in. It's dangerous to have to repress an emotion like that.Mark Twain

Sweet Zombie Jesus! If anyone needs me, I'll be in the Angry Dome.

Cartoon Network censored "Jesus" from that phrase when they aired Futurama in syndication, but left all the mild swearing intact.

Responding to the original post:

First, I'm not against the usage of profanity. I think profanity is an important part of language and that words are merely that, just words.

My particular opinion, however, is that profanity should be properly used. If you speak and hear profanity very frequently, the meaning becomes dilute. I want my profanity to be a smack in the face when I use it, I therefore choose not to numb my listeners to what I say by using it all the time. I go lengths to _not_ use profanity so that it is all the more stunning for when I use it.

Language is a tool: proper use increases its power. When I need a garden shovel, I use a garden shovel. When I need a nuclear bomb, I go with a bomb. I don't use nukes to weed my garden.

(I don't mean to slight intersexed people or transsexuals like the talented Buck Angel (do not google from work)

Oh ! Just....Oh !

By Rorschach (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Sweet Zombie Jesus! If anyone needs me, I'll be in the Angry Dome.

:D I remember Cartoon Network censored the line "Sweet Zombie Jesus" from The Deep South; Comedy Central leaves the line intact.

One of my favourite bits of Futurama dialog is from The Farnsworth Parabox:

Buddha! Zeus! God! One of you guys help me! Satan, you owe me!

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

There is another issue with profanity. Arse is a nice old word with a very clear meaning, which was a perfectly ordinary word until the puritanical word police (Victorian times, I think) decided that it was vulgar, because the body part was unmentionable.

This is a classic example of exerting control over people by exerting control over the language.

etymology for arsch (German):

From Old High German ars from Proto-Germanic *arsa- from Proto-Indo-European *orso- (“behind, arse”)

How venerable can you get in language?

I want to reclaim my arse!

My mother has a rather quaint aversion to swearing (considering my father swears in not one, but four other languages constantly – can be confusing for drivers that inadvertently cut him off…) – So spent most of my youth saying substitute English such as ‘sugar’, ‘far out’ and ‘krunt’. And also ending up with a mixed vocab of swear words in French, Italian and Greek (‘μαλάκας’ = ‘Malakas’ being an absolute gem when I was younger – but now is known by basically everyone who has a wog friend…)

Then, whilst living in a very libertarian share house – we had the delight of watching ‘Repo Man’ that a free-to-air network, in their wisdom, realised to delete all swearing would reduce the masterpiece to about 7 minutes in length – decided to overdub with such expressions as ‘mother trucker’ & ‘melon farmer’. Ended up being the household swear words of choice and a great in joke I now share with you all.

By spunmunkey (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Ok I'm cheating but I've always found The Bloodhound gang to to euphemistic masters. I quote from that campfire favourite -
Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo:

Vulcanize the whoopee stick
In the ham wallet

Cattle prod the oyster ditch
With the lap rocket

Batter dip the cranny ax
In the gut locker

Retrofit the pudding hatch
Ooh la la
With the boink swatter

I believe that it was Eric Berne, the author of I'm OK, You're OK and father of transactional analysis, suggested spelling vulgar words "sideways," e.g. cuff, pirk, tish.

#281:

Then, whilst living in a very libertarian share house – we had the delight of watching ‘Repo Man’ that a free-to-air network, in their wisdom, realised to delete all swearing would reduce the masterpiece to about 7 minutes in length – decided to overdub with such expressions as ‘mother trucker’ & ‘melon farmer’. Ended up being the household swear words of choice and a great in joke I now share with you all.

Flip you, you flipping melon farmer! That wasn't the network: the director, Alex Cox, himself came up with the sanitised dialogue when (I think) the BBC wanted a version which wouldn't overly tax their bleep-out machine. This version became a cult classic in its own right. Clever guy.

There are still some remaining bits of George Carlin's famous 7 words available: *, piss, *, *, *sucker, mother*er, and tits.

Nijishiki's comment at #53 reminds me that I saw a licence plate "BEHE nnn" yesterday. As Ontario is currently issuing car licence plates with Baaa combinations, it was probably not requested. But I noticed it. I wonder if I can request its exclusion as a swear word?

My favourite licence plates ever spotted are "RTFM" and "RS232C".

What about diacriticals? Fück, shît, cøck?

By kanedeuce (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Along the lines of #252:

I frequent a board that is meant to be family friendly and thus has a "banned word" list. Not too bothersome as it's a board about our pets and I don't think they've banned most of the common swear words to do with defecation, something that gets talked about as it's a board specifically about a breed of dog that has a notoriously weak stomach. We've got to be able to talk about our pets' bowel movements after all!

The amusing thing is that said board does not allow the words even with prefixes and suffixes. It's amusing to see people on there try to talk about their cockatiels or cockatoos and end up with ****tiels and ****toos!

All the fracks and frells amuse me, I quite like both expressions; I've occasionally used fracking frell - which sounds rather like a more common expression.

Also on the same theme as #252 and #287,

I have a set of iTunes nursery rhymes for my 9 month old, one of which is titled "Ride a **** Horse (To Banbury Cross)" and is a rendition of an English children's classic. Never fails to make I larf!

It's prudery gone horse-fhucking mad I tells ya.

Louis

Semprini

Louis, that reminds me of this bit from Hogfather:

The singers were halfway down Park Lane now, and halfway through "The Red Rosy Hen" in marvelous harmony.*

*"The red rosy hen greets the dawn of the day." In fact the hen is not the bird traditionally associated with heralding a new sunrise, but Mrs. Huggs, while collecting many old folk songs for posterity, has taken care to rewrite them where necessary to avoid, as she put it, "offending those of a refined disposition with unwarranted coarseness." Much to her surprise, people often couldn't spot the unwarranted coarseness until it had been pointed out to them. Sometimes a chicken is nothing but a bird.

By Caine, Fleur du mal (not verified) on 17 Mar 2010 #permalink

Caine said:

I think Pentaceratops is much cooler than T-rex.

The title of coolest dinosaur can't go to some wussy herbivore. It's got to be a carnie. Now, maybe Giganotosaurus or Spinosaurus are in the running.

You can ban what you want, but you didn't include Colgate Twins.

By Free Lunch (not verified) on 18 Mar 2010 #permalink

You rock.

I'll just leave this here.

And say, Carlin agrees!

By robiferentz (not verified) on 25 Mar 2010 #permalink