Re: &*%$ words

Subject: Re: &*%$ words
From: "Robert E. Allen" <re_allen -at- PNL -dot- GOV>
Date: Mon, 1 Aug 1994 20:04:43 GMT

In article <Pine -dot- 3 -dot- 07 -dot- 9407301002 -dot- A26967-b100000 -at- cap -dot- gwu -dot- edu>, Lester Klein
<lklein -at- cap -dot- gwu -dot- edu> says:

> Cursing: a curse is the opposite of a blessing. Hence, to curse
>means to wish evil or calamity on someone.

> Swearing: To swear is to take and make an oath.

> Finally, there is the use of obscenities: expletives, "dirty
>words", etc.

A distinction, IMHO, is that cursing and swearing both involve religion,
such as invoking the name of a diety or condemming someone to
an eternally hot place. Obscenities seem to broken down into
vulgar and pornographic words. Vulgarities are largely the Anglo-
Saxon words describing bodily functions. Pornography is supposed
to arouse the audience ("appeal to the purient interest). Since most
sexually based profanity doesn't provide a turn-on, it isn't pornographic.

The danger in overusing any of these terms is that they lose their impact,
their ability to express strong emotion. As when I was driving stakes into
the ground and hit my foot, dead center, with the hammer. I opened my
mouth, but no words came out because every word I could thing of I
had used often enough to make it commonplace. Nothing seemed
adequate to express my feelings. A very frustrating, not to say
painful, experience.

Or, as I said to one of our potty-mouthed secretaries who was inviting
her computer to perform a highly improbable act, "You don't kiss
your baby with that mouth, do you?"


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