Thursday, 28 October 2010
Swearing. A user's guide.
Your main swear words, by which I mean your tits, your cunts, your cocks and fucks, are strikingly similar in their means of formation. The desexualisation of erogenous zones. They should therefore be used to describe people and activities that resemble the function and form of the holes, mounds, stalks and actions that the words normally connote, but without reference to the bodily function for which they might otherwise be sanctioned. By paying heed to this formatting principle, you are in the position to throw up more satisfying use of profanity and a formula for coin-it-yourself dirtynesses. It gives you an optimization technique for your swearing. Saying 'fucking bastard' in any situation is fine, but can, after a drink or two, or in the wrong company, or when wearing yesterday's clothes, make it appear that you are not articulately and wittily deploying tactical verbal pungencies, but have simply 'gone pub'. You are just another bloke grunting rude words in tacit acceptance of your social inadequacy. Far better to use bad words accurately, according to the formula above. The important thing to realise in your career as offence-giver, is that desexualised erogenous body parts have distinct sub meanings. Tits and bollocks, for example, perhaps through some similarity of role (fleshy objects in pairs housing milky, nutritious substances) seem to deliver sweary approbation. It's the bollocks, the very tits. Getting on my tits appears to endorse the view that tits are not normally to be intruded upon. They both tend to be used as virtuous entities. That an object stands out like the dog's bollocks is usually deemed no bad thing. 'Cunt' on the other hand, appears to connote when de-sexualised, a deficit, most commonly of masculinity, as in the scene in Curb your Enthusiasm in which Larry David insists it is correct to use it to describe someone that folds a perfectly good poker hand. Getting 'cunted' is different from getting shit faced in that it denotes a losing of sobriety as opposed to the proactive action of turning your face into the well understood slit-eyed mask of the drunk. Cock, when deployed correctly expresses over-conspicuousness. You stupid cock is someone who has made their stupidity over-apparent. Someone who photographs themselves with a cone on his or her head is a cock, where someone who locks their keys in their car, is a daft cunt, for his or her behaviour is in essence a deficit of action. These are all conventional or 'pub' usages. To be a particularly interesting person, for example someone that might be accurately described in company as 'the tits', you should create your own swears, or swear phrases, using the simple grammar of physicality. One of the finest neologisms I have come across was that made by a drunken Mancunian in reaction to some visitors from London. It was far from disgusting, but its accuracy is stunning. The word bastard is not very offensive and not a part of the body, except in the sense that it denotes a baby eschewed from the body in shameful circumstances. My northern friend referred to his annoyingly fatuous and yet relatively wealthy southern visitors as 'a bunch of Steve Davis bastards'. Those who recall the dominance of Steve Davis over the world of snooker will instinctive grasp the aptness and the hurt in that imprecation. A bastard is in practice distinct from his or biological siblings as being undeserving and an embarrassment. As a tall, ginger, streak of piss with no personality, Steve Davis was no kind of bedroom poster material as a sportsman. Yes successful sportsman he technically was. He was English, he was undeserving, he was rich and greeted his success with a kind of termagant nose-twitching mannerism that typified many a chinless English aristocrat on inheriting an estate. Steve Davis was no cunt and to call him a cock would have glamorised him horribly. Likewise a bunch of sniveling, smoke-salmon chewing, Hacket chino wearing Southerners strolling at their ease through a village near Ilkely Moor are Steve Davis bastards or they are nothing.