(yeah, as far as nablopomo goes, i’m out. i hope i’m not making excuses here, but i sit in front of a computer every day for at least 7+ hours. i don’t want to come home and turn on a computer and be forced to write in the evenings after staring at a screen all day.)
continuing in the spirit of my last post on the word ‘fuck’, i’m going to repost something i wrote back in 2006 on my now defunct blog ‘books music food’ formerly hosted by bloglines. it’s mostly something of a treatise on the use and misuse of the f-word, and how it loses its meaning if it’s continually used (and i guess i’m at the risk of doing something similar here…).
fucking for dummies
I have a friend who has read my blog and made the comment that I am ‘brave’ because I used the ‘f word’ in a public forum where it could be read by anyone. I’ve thought a lot about his comment (incidentally he made several other comments about my blogging that were quite complementary) and realized that I disagreed with him (on this one comment only). Saying the word ‘fuck’, or many of its variations, in public is no sign of bravery; indeed the brave thing is to be able to converse with another person without using it. In my travels throughout a typical day, whether it’s on the city bus, in the grocery store, being around loved ones, or complete strangers, it’s a rare occasion where I can go without hearing the words fuck, fucked, fucking, motherfucker, or a poor excuse for an euphemism, such as freakin’, flippin’, frickin’ (these usually uttered by an adolescent whose parent is somewhere nearby). Thankfully I’m in a workplace where some sort of professionalism prevails, but otherwise I feel like my poor little virgin ears (sarcasm) are assailed most places I go.
Trust me, I’m not a prude and I can throw about the f-word with the best of them. In a heated moment (and define heated however you wish), I can and will introduce the word into a given situation as warranted. A good percentage of the music I listen to and the fiction I read (and the nonfiction for that matter) has a noticeable presence of the word. However, I truly believe there is a time and place for everything, and that includes profanity. It seems to me that a definite downside about excessive use of this word is that it loses meaning when heard and used all the time. I know people who literally will use the word ‘fucking’ at least one time per sentence. (I’ve heard sentences like, ‘I fuckin’ hope it don’t fuckin’ rain again to-fuckin’-day.) So how is one to know if you are truly upset about something or need to make a significant point if you are constantly fucking up your sentences with this word?
Also, excessive use of the word shows me that you really don’t have anything worthwhile to say, so you’re just filling up spaces between your meaningless words. Instead you are making yourself look low-class and just plain trashy, with a minimal education and vocabulary, even if you have an advanced degree.
I do understand the need and place for the word; all I ask is that people only say it when they really mean it. And if you take issue with anything that’s been said on this topic, please, go fuck yourself. (Just kidding…)
On a related note, I have another friend who is currently living in Ireland. She recently told me of a milder version of the word fuck, ‘feck’, that people use in pretty much the same way as fuck, except the meaning is not so intense. So I’ve been amusing myself and others (getting on other’s nerves is probably more like it) by using it in conversation on occasion.
In completely unrelated stuff, here is what I’m currently reading: Collected Fictions by Jorge Borges, The Middle Mind: Why Americans Can’t Think for Themselves by Curtis White, and still working on The Devil Never Sleeps by Codrescu. I’m also trying to listen to a 3 cd lecture by writer, activist, and anarchist Derrick Jensen entitled The Other Side of Darkness, where Jensen discusses injustice and what humans are doing to the planet and each other. The only problem is that these days I don’t have time to listen, but I guess I need to find it somewhere, because he’s incredible. I would recommend to anyone a couple of books of his, The Culture of Make-Believe (on how Americans are in denial about racism) and A Language Older Than Words (about his experiences with child abuse and how those experiences really are a metaphor for what western civilization is doing to the planet). He doesn’t really give answers in these books, both of which are rather lengthy, but that’s one problem with Americans; we always seem to look to other people to solve our problems, instead of looking at what we can do to begin to fix things. (But now I’m digressing…) On the other hand, according to Jensen, he thinks it’s too late and we’re fucked no matter what we do. Whether you agree with that or not, I think Jensen gives a much needed dose of reality and would be well worth an investment of time.