Friday, June 3, 2011

Ah, Fuck It

Speaking as a paragon of contemporary parenting (for purposes of this blog post), I note Jennifer Fulwiler's god-fueled musings on the f-word:

[A]s I watched my son ponder this issue on Monday, I finally got it. Just like with the original forbidden fruit coveted by the world's first son, my child was not missing out on anything by not having it, and it was out of love that I designated it forbidden. I can state unhesitatingly (and from a fair amount of personal experience) that the ability to drop an impassioned f-bomb really would not improve his life; in fact, it would make it a little worse. As I watched him sitting there, a ffffff sound escaping from his lips as he reviewed his vocabulary over and over again, it occurred to me that this is, and has always been, one of the most critical battles of the spiritual life: simply to trust our heavenly Parent when he tells us that some things we desire really won't make our lives better.
Fulwiler's intentions are beyond my reach (for purposes of this blog post), so when she says she forbids the word fuck from the same loving motivation as she imputes to her favorite god, I am willing to accept that as genuine.

There the generosity ends, because I say, in agreement with Steven Pinker and almost every other person, living and dead, the word fuck is one of many obscenities that is perfectly useful, and beyond that,  appropriate, apt, and correct in the right contexts. Without words with some power to appall, as Eli explains, expression falls short: 
[I]f, for example, you get fired via text message the most you'll be able to say is, "Gosh darn it, that experience really perturbs me in a serious and long-lasting way and I don't think I will be able to forgive those people any time soon."
It follows that words such as fuck, shit, and even, yes, cunt, will cease being useful if people like Fulwiler abandon their distaste for them and embrace their contextually-appropriate uses, so fuck it. If you're inclined to pretend that your child won't have bad thoughts if he/she doesn't use bad words, please accept and embrace that inclination. Turn it up to 11, underscore it, shake your fists, declare it to all, and please never back down. Your efforts, ill-considered and futile as they are, are necessary to retain the potency of the words that we all keep filed away for the proper moments.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Dale, nicely said as usual. I recall reading somewhere that one of the reasons for the rise in usage of the work "fuck" is the decline in the ability of other swear words to have the shock value they once did. I suppose someday "fuck" will eventually lose it's kick as well and some new word will have to take it's place.