Recently I searched this blog to see how many times I used profanity. Of around 900 posts, something like 100 contained “fuck.” I stopped after that search, not bothering with finding “shit” and “motherfucker” and “asswipe” and so on. In short, I swear a whole fucking lot. Always have.
I’d been feeling a spasm of guilt for this recently, and had seriously considered removing the “fucks” and “shits” and “assholes” from the blog. But then I came across this gem from Pinker, in TNR:
When used judiciously, swearing can be hilarious, poignant, and uncannily descriptive. More than any other form of language, it recruits our expressive faculties to the fullest: the combinatorial power of syntax; the evocativeness of metaphor; the pleasure of alliteration, meter, and rhyme; and the emotional charge of our attitudes, both thinkable and unthinkable. It engages the full expanse of the brain: left and right, high and low, ancient and modern. Shakespeare, no stranger to earthy language himself, had Caliban speak for the entire human race when he said, “You taught me language, and my profit on’t is, I know how to curse.”
The whole thing is worth reading, especially his “Profanity Stroop Test.” Name the following colors:
cunt shit fuck tits piss asshole
If you’re like most motherfuckers, your response time will be slower than an the usual stroop test. What the fuck?
[composed and posted with ecto]