**WARNING*** There will be strong language in this post, and I assume any following discussion.

This morning on our local radio station there was an interesting discussion about the usage, intent and impact of swearing.

It was sparked by a satirical TV show, Dirty Laundry Live, using strong language to discuss Charles Saatchi, soon to be ex husband of Nigela Lawson. During the shows opening monologue the host Lawrence Mooney described him as a cunt.

To put it in context the comment was shown live to air although it was scripted. Mooney has stated they did have a strong discussion on whether to use it or not but he contends that it was both justified and effective.

The discussion it sparked was centered around the appropriateness or not of using that language on live to air television.

From a personal perspective I have no problem with the use of the word. Words are just words, some have more impact than others. Its the values you ascribe to that word, and the context they are use that matters.

In this particular instance I think calling the man a cunt was an effective and appropriate usage. Its not wording i would use around my children but again its not a show children should be watching.

The interesting part of the debate and what I was interested in discussing here was the contention that using the word contributed to violence against women. I can't say I agree with that argument.

As I said before words are just words. I'm sure that the word cunt CAN be used to denigrate women, but in the context it was used I don't think it does.

Is calling someone a prick, a cock head or a dick demeaning to men? Sure they aren't words with as much impact but they are all negative words associated with male genitalia.

If I use those words to purposefully denigrate a group then I should be condemned. But is that what has happened here?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.


Tags: profanity, sexism

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Having been called fag / faggot / cocksucker plenty of times growing up, I am not a fan of those terms.  They reduce the target to a low object, and being called those words often enough leaves the target without self esteem.  The effects can be long lasting, and even life long.  That's what I know from experience.  In these cases, the words are acts of violence.


As to racist and sexist words, since I am not in those categories, it's not my right to repeat them.  Nor do I - I just don't go there.

Also, there is a time and a place for everything.  In professional and some social situations, I won't curse, but I often tell others to go right ahead, it will make them feel better.


That's not the same as what society considers profanity.  I think profanity is liberating, empowering, relieves stress, reduces pain, and is fuckin' awesome.  I'm not the only one who thinks so -

psychology today -Pain relief, power and control, nonviolent retribution, humor, peer and social bonding, self expression, psychological and physical health

scientific american -pain releif

Times of India - leadership, solidarity, gender equality

HuffPost - helps you make friends, relieves stress.

I grew up in a household where even "hell", "damn", "darn", were not allowed.  Decades later, it's still refreshing to cuss.  I like creative swearing even better, but when I get into a shitty situation, my creative enzymes are just not working.  Fuck that.

I went on a day trip with someone, it was organized through the college outing club. 

He was swearing a lot, his sentences were laced with "fucking", and when he gestured his arm was coming too close to my head.

It seemed a way to convey hostility, a deliberate wish to offend. 

It may of been in that context, but certainly wouldn't be in all.

In certain cultures the word is second nature. Listen to Billy Connolly discuss its usage in the Glaswegian culture. Its not said to offend, or challenge its just a general purpose verb, adjective and maybe even sometimes a noun. :)

There is very little Billy Connolly could say, even in full swearing flight, that is likely to offend me more than some of the cleanest speaking hate mongers from the religious right or Taliban.


There is very little Billy Connolly could say, even in full swearing flight, that is likely to offend me more than some of the cleanest speaking hate mongers from the religious right or Taliban.

Of course. Swearing is a primitive kind of expression that conveys things like "I'm pissed" or "I'm tough" or "I'm independent of social rules". And perhaps sometimes, just a habit or a social norm.

...and when he gestured his arm was coming too close to my head.

Luara, consider this a prediction of future actual violence.

If you doubt me (as you doubt my words about the BB Hypothesis), contact any domestic violence help line. I worked on such a help line for a time.

The cycle of violence we described: 1) actual violence, 2) abject apologies, 3) promises to change, 4) more and usually greater violence.

I swear like a sailor! I try to keep it down while on the job, or around others that I know it will offend. I kept it under control during the ministry days too. God doesn't like it! He also doesn't like peanut butter.

Yahweh doesn't like PEANUT BUTTER?!?  He's not down with JIF???  Fuck that shit!

The only thing he likes to spread is the word.


Spread the word?  Would that be the word about The BIRD?!?

[chuckle!] Sorry ... HAD to do that!

Also these posts are great!  And JIF is THE peanut butter!  I agree with your sentiments Loren!

I was a Skippy Extra Crunchy guy myself until I recently tried Planter's Peanut Butter. I'm hooked!

Adams no stir crunchy is fukin awesome. jezus christ it's yummy.


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