Bad language has been the bane of my life.
Whether it was having my mouth washed out with soap ( one time only – I learned…) or watching as a look of horror passed over listeners when I let out a floater, the business of dirty words has always served me ill. Some cultures refer to this as swearing, some call it cursing – But there seems to be some portion of speech that is wrong no matter what language is being used. There were days when I could do it by saying ” Hello “.
I know quite a few bad words. Some of them are anatomical, some are irreligious, and some are connected with contempt and defiance. There’s a good deal of sex in there, from many angles. But I increasingly find myself hesitant to use them – they never seem to have a good effect….upon others or myself.
I used to think this distaste was an age thing…that I came from a time when good language outweighed the bad. But then I realised that the bad new words I know were taught to me in the good old days. And I’ve also met people my own age who lard every conversation with them. This generally just makes them sound foolish and crude.
Of course folly and vulgarity need not be the province of the elderly. Those same foul words in young mouths have an equally repulsive sound – superadded to which is the squeak of the puppy and the quick glance to see if the speaker has been judged to be kewl and edgy. I regard it as a signal to leave and seek better companionship.
But occasionally emotion and circumstance demand something be said – if only to draw attention to an injustice or some emphatic point to be taken. We do need words for this. I think we should dip back into some of the Elizabethan pot for our curses. ” Rump-fed Ronyon ” is always good. ” Catamite ” another.
If you would use medical terms, call someone a walking gleet. Or a recurrent wen.
I have had occasion to use the Victorian mode of speech and to desire that someone go to another place and do another thing. And they did…it’s all in your tone of voice.