Obscenities: Why are people so upset by them?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by CwrnPuppet, Aug 9, 2002.

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  1. CwrnPuppet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 4
    Call me crazy, but I've never understood why people get so bent out of shape when their ears are hit with one of the classic "swear words".

    Why are these words so terrible?

    Are we that superstitious that these magic evil voodoo words can really have the power to harm us?

    Give me a break - they're only words. The only thing that gives them such power is the fact that they are supressed: For no apparent reason.

  2. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Please be sure to keep the actual words out of here :).

  3. Lieutenant Tschel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 1999
    star 2
    They just get rattled to go around hearing their kids saying stuff like that.

    Personally, I don't see the point, seeing as how the kid's going to hear it everywhere he goes no matter what.

    If the parents don't like it, they shouldn't use such words at home, which would create a much better impression on the kid than simply forbidding him to watch/listen/read media that contains them. The kid would learn that there are much more eloquent ways of speaking than "What the f--- is this f---ing thing doing in my f---ing s--t?"

  4. Rebecca191 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 1999
    star 6
    I think it's because they've had it driven into them by society as they grew up that these are bad words, you really shouldn't say them. They've just attached things to the words that make them bad, in their heads. If they say them anyway, but criticize others who do, well then they're hypocties.
  5. CwrnPuppet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 4
    I understand that, but it still doesn't answer my question:

    WHY are these words bad?

    Why are people so traumatized by them?

    I just find it silly. It's the forbidden fruit principal - no one would really care to use them without the taboo that has been attached to them.
  6. Rebecca191 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 1999
    star 6
    It must have started somehow. Someone said the words were bad, and it stuck. I don't really know the origins of certain words being bad to say.
  7. CwrnPuppet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 4
    Rebecca: Yes, it seems to be a non-sensicle, if not counterproductive societal stigma. *shakes head*
  8. Rebecca191 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 1999
    star 6
    I don't really curse that much. Unless I'm upset, or angry. Then I do. But it's usually at home. I'd be way to embarressed to just run into the street and yell *CENSORED*.
  9. CwrnPuppet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 4
    It's impossible to go outside in NYC without hearing "f***" at least once. After a while, it just blends into the vocabulary. When I go to visit my mom in the Midwest, I have to be very careful because people get really upset when I used typical NYC vernacular ;c)
  10. Lieutenant Tschel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 1999
    star 2
    I've heard a bunch of supposed origin stories for them. Whether they're correct or not isn't in my knowledge banks.

    By far one of the most interesting is the origin story I've heard for "f--- you!"

    During the Hundred Years War fought between England and France (I want to say 1137-1453 correct me if I'm wrong...) the English Longbowmen were remarkably decisive on the battlefield against the French formations, usually getting credit for the English victories at battles such as Agincourt, Crecy, and Poitiers. Because of this, the French, upon capturing any longbowmen would summarily cut off their index and middle fingers, thus ending their archery careers. In response, whenever they had the opportunity the English would flaunt these two fingers at the French and say, "We can still pluck yew! (The act of drawing the bowstring on the longbow was called "plucking yew")PLUCK YEW!"

    Over the years it became a common gesture of defiance and insult and the words were corrupted as their original meaning was lost.

    Pretty cool, I just wonder if it's for real
  11. CwrnPuppet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 4
    According to Merriam Webster, here is the etymology:

    Etymology: akin to Dutch fokken to breed (cattle), Swedish dialect fokka to copulate
    Date: 1503


    (KnightWriter - I hope this is okay to post, as it isn't the actual word, but its derivation: If not, I completely understand and wouldn't be at all offended if you edited this)
  12. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    To be honest, this entire thread makes me nervous, but I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt :).

    I appreciate the thoughtfulness, however.
  13. Lieutenant Tschel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 1999
    star 2
    Hmmm...

    *never looks at his AIM name the same way again...*

    My comp's Encarta dictionary says:

    [Early 16th century. Origin uncertain: perhaps from a Scandinavian source, in which case the underlying sense might be ?to beat, bang.?]
    Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
  14. CwrnPuppet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 4
    Yeah, I can understand why the thread makes you nervous - I don't really intend to have a discussion about the actual words so much as why people are so offended by them, but I promise to do my best to keep the words themselves out of it, for my part.
  15. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    The words are designed to offend - that's the whole point. There are words to express every emotion, why should anger, crassness and crudeness be any different? You can try to take the stigma away from them, but it's self-defeating.
  16. CwrnPuppet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 4
    The words are designed to offend -

    They are? Who designed them to offend?

    that's the whole point. There are words to express every emotion, why should anger, crassness and crudeness be any different?

    I see what you're saying, but I for one don't generally use them to express those emotions. The words simply amuse me as they are generally inserted into sentences without any real meaning, other than to stress its passion.

    You can try to take the stigma away from them, but it's self-defeating.

    I don't know... A friend of mine from Sweden says that they have more or less eliminated any stigma of such words there - there really aren't any "swear" words in Sweden, he says. The taboo has worked its way out.
  17. Lieutenant Tschel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 1999
    star 2
    I could start saying, "Asparagus!" as a swear word and people wouldn't be offended. It has to be something that has a general consensus declaring itt o be offensive.

    For example, as the entymologies we've dug up for f--- have demonstrated, it seems to be affiliated with livestock breeding. Perhaps it's original use construed that the object of its use took a more active role in this procedure than ordinary herdsmen.

  18. CwrnPuppet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 4
    Yes, I agree - I think the issue is that most obscenities have transcended their actual meaning and can't really be a viable insult anymore.

    Calling someone a c***s**ker no longer implies any kind of sexual behavior - it's just a general insult.
  19. Humble extra Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 12, 1999
    star 5
    i can see why people get offended by certain words, however for me, i pay more attention to the speaker's tone of voice, body language when i try to evaluate how to react/respond to words...........its all about the delivery, not the actual word
  20. Lieutenant Tschel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 1999
    star 2
    Right, it retains the impact but none of the meaning, like a boxing glove gun. Even if they don't get the joke, they definitely get the punchline!
  21. CwrnPuppet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 4
  22. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    See my profile on 'swear' words. :p They're words not to be used too often. Think South Park, after they said their 'bad' word enough, it began to lose its meaning. They're not bad, it's just the religious folks don't like 'em. IMO, that's why, religion has always deemed what is bad and what is good. If ya want swear words, George Carlin has come up with 2000 of 'em. :D
  23. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    It is important to note that there are really only three categories of swear words.

    1) Religious - Usually involving an attempt to condemn a person's soul in one way or another. Also can involve the use of a name for deity.

    2) Sexual - Referencing various (and usually socially discouraged) sexual acts. Often made more effective by applying them to the person's mother or other family member.

    3) Body Processes - Referring to the results of natural body processes and their byproducts.

    This is, of course, ignoring epithets and other insults, often involving a person's heritage and ancestry.

    Kimball Kinnison
  24. stevo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2001
    star 4
    The reason they're bad is because people believe they're bad-- if you believe they're bad, they will be bad. If people stop believing in certain words, they lose their value.

    In my family, swearing wasn't such a big deal, I could say the F-word in front of my grandmother with no probelm . . .
  25. Devilanse Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2002
    star 5
    The same reason some people still believe in religions.

    INDOCTRINATION

    If something has been drilled into your head since you were old enough to think...you tend to believe it is true. No matter how insane it is.

    Even though they are just words...we have been beaten over the head by the great "PC", they are "Naughty Words".

    On a lighter note...wasn't it funny when the question on bad language was posed...and then the first response was from a Mod saying.."Please don't use those words here."

    Hahahaha...good stuff

    :D
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