Today's post is a follow up on a post made back in September on the subject of language.
Please be advised the following discussion will use words like "Hell" and "Damn" and "Fuck".
So a warning to kids: please have your parents leave the room.
In a previous post from September 22, 2013, I pondered the use of what we call cursing or cuss words or foul language or obscenities or...well, you get the idea. There are a few things I want to follow up on regarding that topic.
In that previous post, I noted I was slow to start peppering my language with these "sentence enhancers" due to a rather strict interpretation of swearing by my mother. (Example: no use of the actual word "swear".) So I found myself developing my own alternative vocabulary, some of which I actually still use. In addition to "freaky-darn", here are some of those colorful phrases.
One way of cussing without cussing is to say the first letter of bad word followed by word. "Hell" becomes "H-Word", "Damn" becomes "D Word" and so on. Now because you don't SAY the obscenity does not mean you have NOT communicated the obscenity. If you think saying "F-Word" absolves you of any responsibility for your language, you're fucking kidding yourself.
It was in the previous post from September 22, 2013 that we explored the use of the word "fuck". It is a most useful sentence enhancer in that fits some many variations of life experience.
Anger = "Don't fuck with me!"
Awe = "That was fucking amazing!"
Confusion = "What the fuck was that?"
Defeat = "We are so fucked!"
Hope = "We're going have a fucking good time!"
And so forth and so. Another way that people try to use the word "fuck" and it's variants without actually using the word is to say "eff" or "effing" or "effed". Again, you may not be saying the word but that does not mean the word is not being communicated. If your Aunt Mary gives you a sweater for Christmas and you say, "This sweater is effing sweet", trust me, Aunt Mary now has the words "fucking sweet" skittering across her brain lobes.
If the message or the audience is not appropriate for use of the actual word "fuck", you may want to give due consideration before using "eff" if you know what's effing good for you.
One trope for conveying strong language in comic books and strips is !@#$%. Now this has the effect of conveying the use of coarse commentary without using any actual word or conveying which word you're trying to convey. The problem with !@#$% is that it can used as a substitute for ANY curse word. So when Snuffy Smith steps on a rake and the rake handles smashes his sizeable schnoz, what is he thinking when you read this: "OUCH! I stepped on a !@#$% rake!"?
"I stepped on a damn rake!"
"I stepped on a fucking rake!"
Once you accept that !@#$% can stand for ANYTHING, suddenly Jughead realizing "What the !@#$%? Pop's Soda Shoppe is out of hamburgers?!" can take on different meanings.
"What the hell? Pop's out of hamburgers?"
Jughead is perturbed and will seek out hamburgers elsewhere.
"What the fuck? Pop's out of hamburgers?"
Jughead is perturbed, will come back with a sawed off shot gun and blast the Soda Shoppe to smithereens and THEN will seek out hamburgers elsewhere.
When we see Jughead thinking !@#$%, are we to anticipate amusement as Jughead goes about a frustrated quest to find hamburgers elsewhere? Or are we to fear for the life of Pop and the continued existence of the Soda Shoppe?
So, kids, be sure to remember this when it comes to "sentence enhancers":
Respect your material, your audience and your environment. Know it is appropriate to say "Leave me alone!" vs. "Fuck off!".
In a future installment of Sentence Enhancers, we'll talk shit about "shit", otherwise known as "$#!+".
Next time on the blog:
The Stupidest Reason To Live