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andee's world: Bite Yr Tongue!

andee's world

Hello and welcome to my blog. This space will be devoted to opinions, observations, lists, articles and whatever else I feel like posting. Subjects will include music, human nature, politics, life in NYC, etc. If I paste someone else's writing up here, it is because the author said something way better than I ever could. By the way, I don't claim to be a particularly smart guy; I'm just a musician with some opinions. If you disagree with me, that's cool -- but then, you're probably wrong.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Bite Yr Tongue!

Isn't it funny, the fine lines we draw in our language between what is obscene and what isn't? Between what is sacrilegious and what is A-ok? It seems that all you have to do to make a filthy four-letter-word clean or a blasphemous oath chaste is to change a vowel or consonant here or there...

For instance: using the word shit is bad. Foul-mouthed! But -- merely tweak the vowel sound and you can say it all you want, guilt-free! If, for example, you yell out "shoot, I forgot my King James Version!" at a crowded church picnic, nobody will even turn around. But what you are really saying is shit. Even Webster's defines shoot, the interjection, as a euphemism for shit. So why is it ok to say "shoot, it looks like rain today," but not ok to say, "shit, this jello salad is tasty!"?

What about damn and darn? Webster's defines them as synonyms. So if the meaning, the inflection and the intent are exactly the same, then why is one acceptable and the other not? Billy Graham could use the word darn twenty times in a sermon and no one would blink an eye. But could you imagine Billy's face if, after the service, you shook his hand and said, "Damn, that was a great message today, Reverend! I damn near shit myself!"

And fudge?! I can't believe this is considered a perfectly acceptable, G-rated interjection, when all it is is a thinly-veiled substitute for fuck. Oh, yes it is. And yet I've heard kindly old grandmothers use it. You know, "oh, fudge! I'm late for the pot-luck dinner!"

It seems that only a consonant stands between the righteous and the profane.

And speaking of righteousness -- how about the god/gosh and jesus/jeez loopholes? Saying "oh my God" is using the Lord's name in vain, and therefore sacrilegious. But somehow "oh my gosh!" is just fine, even though we all know it's just another cheap way to slip past the censors by changing a consonant sound (again, Websters calls it a euphemism for god). Put it together with darn and you've got a perfectly Christian substitute for goddamn -- "goshdarn!"

Puh-lease. Is the Lord really buying this?

And what the hell (oh, sorry -- I mean heck) is jeez? An aborted Jesus?! An oath that stopped short?

I'm sorry, but shouting "jeez!" instead of "jesus!" after you stub your toe in the all-purpose room isn't going to save your ass from the fires of hell, my friend. Dropping that last syllable isn't going to fool the man upstairs. God isn't that stupid.

1 Comments:

Blogger spycygrl said...

This seems to be a popular topic of late amongst my favOrite writers (well, namely YOU and someone called "The Hot Librarian" who is incredibly hilarious).

I wholeheartedly agree wit the both of yous.
Read THL's tirade on fuck vs. fudge HERE.

11:43 AM  

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