The Joy of FUCK
There are times in one’s life when only an expletive will suffice to express in no uncertain terms one’s exact feelings. A simple ‘bloody’ or sodding’ or even ‘pissing’ just won’t cut it, neither will ‘crap or ‘shit’. No, there is only one word that fits the bill to a tee: the wonderful word ‘fuck’.
Let’s face it, there aren’t many words in the English langue that can convey in one plosive sound a whole gamut of feelings, from surprise What the Fuck? to frustration For Fuck Sake! to a succinct method of telling another go away Get the Fuck Out of Here/Away From Me or similar. Are there any clearer, more easily understood phrases in the whole of the English speaking regions of the world than Fuck Off and Fuck You?
You would be hard-pressed to find anyone anywhere who is not familiar with these expressions, even those who do not speak English as their first language. It is as universal an expression as ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are.
While some still find use of the word offensive, especially on television, it has become something of an ‘everyday’ word that pretty-much everybody uses. No, I don’t like to hear young people using that sort of language, but, let’s face it, they are exposed to the word far more than those of us who have reached middle-age ever were in our teens. Where once we were shocked – even outraged (the Sex Pistols’ controversial appearance on British early evening television springs to mind) – at the sound of the word it has become such the norm that nowadays people barely register it.
Personally, I find it sad that women tend to use the word more frequently than they did when I was a teenager. Young women – girls, really – have no idea of how crude they sound when every other word out of their mouth is ‘fuck’. Young men swear around women freely, something I was taught a gentleman never did! It’s such a shame that a word that can be quite powerful when used in the right context and in the right circumstances has been devalued so that it no longer has the impact it once did.
These musings are meant as a celebration of one of the most versatile and expressive words in our language, but also a sort-of literary obituary to that same word. Although it is not totally defunct, in another generation or two ‘fuck’ will have the same impact in everyday speech as ‘bloody’ does in ours today. Where once we demonised the word, we now welcome it into our speech as an unthreatening addition to our manner of speech.
Which beggars the question: what word still has the impact that ‘fuck’ once did? Only one springs to mind, and that word still has the power to offend and cause upset and outrage. That word, of course, is C**t… How long before we use that word as freely as we use ‘fuck’?