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Advanced Uses of Profanity in Speculative Fiction

(40 posts)
  • Started 6 years ago by ByronBailey
  • Latest reply from David the Evil Overlord

  1. ByronBailey
    Member

    The Evil Overlord said:

    Byron, I think in a scientifically-advanced culture where every organ except the brain could be repaired or replaced, "brain" would not be a dirty word.

    The dirty words would be "Alzheimers" and "Brain Rot" and any other terms that remind wannabe immortals that the brain is for life, not for forever.

    I say:

    I think it could go either way. It wouldn't be hard for me to imagine such a culture, though, that in "polite" society, avoided the use of the word brain, preferring to have euphemistic terms for it like "Thinky place" when talkking to children. Terms involving Alzheimers and the like would probably be taboo as well. But still, it's not hard for me to imagine that the mere mention of brain might become taboo because of its tendency to remind one of one's one sordid mortality, the icky reality of life we'd like to forget.

    There's more nuance we could get into on this example if we chose to discuss the anthropology of taboo. But like I said earlier, I'm saving those insights for myself.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  2. SHamm
    Member

    I hate the letter "E." It is a common letter--in fact, the most common letter--and the sight of it offends me. I do not see why writers stoop to using it. Perhaps they are too lazy to think of better words that contain other, less obnoxious vowels. Perhaps they are afraid of a completely arbitrary challenge. Perhaps they lack the ambition to dig deeper and harder than they have ever dug before in order to create a comfortable rut for the many readers who are, like me, profoundly disturbed by the letter "E."

    Needless to say, the only author I enjoy reading is Georges Perec, and the only book of his I like is A Void. (If he had lived long enough to write a sequel, I would probably have two books I liked.) Why can't more writers emulate Perec? When you open a book nowadays, you will seldom get past page one of chapter one without encountering a veritable plethora of "E's"--and for me there is nothing worse than a great yarn ruined by the author's stubborn refusal to accommodate my personal prejudices.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  3. Alex the Great and Terrible
    Member

    I'm with ya, SHamm.

    Further, I'd like to see a ban on gratuitous exclamation points: Those feeble crutches used frivolously, by barely literate writers, to support their weak attempts at argument.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  4. ByronBailey
    Member

    I hear you, SHamm. I'm not a big fan of the letter "e," either. If most of the good four letter words don't need one, why do I?

    Posted 6 years ago #
  5. Marian
    Member

    Here's a list of words recommended for banishment (no profanity among them, however)
    http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45825409/ns/today-books/?

    Posted 6 years ago #
  6. ByronBailey
    Member

    It's interesting that "amazing" made the top of the list. What does this mean for the singing of 'Amazing Grace?"

    Overall, a lot of these words didn't seem particular bad words. They're just a little tired and cliched. Maybe what they need isn't banishment but a little profanity to go with them to spice them up. Maybe next time, Bono can say "This is really, really, fucking amazing," rather than, "This is really, really, fucking brilliant." That might go a ways to rehabilitate "amazing." With that said, I kind of fear the new incarnation of "Amazing Grace."

    Posted 6 years ago #
  7. oblomov
    Member

    SHamm knocked it out of the park with that Oulipownage!

    Posted 6 years ago #
  8. David the Evil Overlord
    Member

    Looking back over an old story of mine. Sometimes NOT saying a swear word works.

    "...The wizard’s impotent wand fell limply from his hand. With a curse that wouldn’t be found in any reputable grimoire, he balled his fists and punched Darwin in the nose."

    Posted 6 years ago #
  9. ByronBailey
    Member

    "The Supreme Court Takes on Cher's Use of the F Word"

    http://gma.yahoo.com/supreme-court-takes-chers-f-word-120116387--abc-news.html

    I wonder what F word they're talking about. My best guess would be ****** as in ****** fries and ****** toast.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_fries

    I'm happy to eat my freedom fries and my freedom toast. It'll be a sad day when freedom becomes _the_ F word, though.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  10. David the Evil Overlord
    Member

    There was a case in the Australian state of New South Wales a few years ago, where a man was acquitted on a charge of offensive language. The magistrate gave the police a tongue lashing for daring to believe the word "fuck" was offensive, since it was everywhere in society today.

    When the magistrate asked for the next case to be called, the young police officer acting as a bailiff went out into the public area of the court and called for the defendant. He then returned to the court and said to the magistrate, "No fucking appearance, Your Worship".

    The magistrate could not see any inconsistency in her actions as she fined the officer for offensive language.

    Posted 6 years ago #

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