Profanity

I think we need to redefine our notion of “profanity.”  We have no business declaring anything “blasphemous,” legally speaking, so anything that pisses off the religious right is just fine with me.  Most other things considered at one time to be cursing are no longer deemed unacceptable.  “Damn,” for example.  Or “Bitch,” though a different segment of society has good reason to complain about that one.

Let’s be serious.  Profanity adds emotional context to language.  It’s like a new form of speech.  A word like “fucking” can be used to make any number of emotional statements depending on context.  There’s a huge difference between “That concert was fucking awesome!” and “My fucking car broke down again.”  It’s all in the context.  But the word carries emotion that adds meaning to the sentence.  It can be used to express approval or disapproval depending on tone of voice.

Words used as weapons are probably left out of common usage, and we’re getting better at that in some ways.  Using racial, gender, or homophobic slurs is an act of aggression, and a form of bullying.  Using profanity to add emotional context to our everyday language is just making full use of our means of communication.

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