In Defence of Curse Words

Photo by Derek Jensen.
Photo by Derek Jensen.

We all know people who don’t like hearing profanity. ¬†If you’re one of them, stop reading now. ūüėČ

There are a handful of things in this world that I find incredibly¬†offensive. With one exception that I’ll talk about in a little bit,¬†¬†swearing isn’t one of them for the following reasons:

1) Everything¬†is inappropriate sometimes. Of course there are times when it’s inappropriate to use salty language, although the same thing can be said for a lot of different ways of speaking.¬†No one who is serious about finding¬†a new job would write “LOL” in their cover letter, but it’s completely ok to respond with that sort of thing when a family member tells you a funny story about their kid.

2) Sometimes they’re the best choice¬†for how you’re feeling.¬†There’s a difference between having a long, exhausting day and having a shitty one. A long day can still be filled with a lot of joy. For example, getting married¬†or having a baby are life-changing events. You’ll probably end up feeling really tired at the end of them, but it’s a good kind of exhaustion. The memories you make on days like those are almost guaranteed to be warm and happy ones. The memories you make on a day when you nearly die in a car accident are probably going to be filled with pain and terror. Calling that experience shitty is completely justified.

3) It’s persuasive. ¬†It takes a lot for me to¬†become this angry (or surprised, or shocked). Anyone who knows me well can instantly tell that I have exceptionally strong feelings about whatever it was that riled me up based on that one little word alone. I don’t need to give a long, involved speech about what I’m feeling in those situations. It’s blatantly obvious.

4)¬†They’re just words. The worst thing they can do is give you a temporary derpy expression if you weren’t expecting to hear them. I have an aversion to the word fester. It sounds so disgusting, but I also realize that it can’t actually hurt me.

Which brings me to the one exception I make in this argument: it’s not acceptable to use curse words against someone. There’s a big difference between talking about that fucked up thing so-and-so did and referring to them¬†as a fucking *****.

Certain words have horrifically violent histories. They were Рand are Рused is absolutely reprehensible ways by people who intend to cause physical harm.

I’d never support any legislation that makes it illegal to use these terms, but I would¬†quickly back away from a friendship with¬†anyone¬†who insisted on saying¬†them around me.¬†Having the legal right to say something doesn’t mean that other people have to listen.

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