Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cursing as Expression

You know what's a big deal? World hunger, disease, violence and things like it. You know what's not a big deal? Someone using a "curse word", or a random word society thinks is bad. I've touched upon this in my other article, but I feel like it deserves a post of its own.

Some people get so upset in the face of curse words. I don't really get it. Words are just words. They have the power that we give them. Deciding that one word is more vulgar or taboo than the other is so arbitrary. I mean, who decided that "freaking" was more appropriate than "fucking"? One is supposed to be the cleaner way of expressing anger (although it cannot adopt the meaning of "having sexual intercourse).

Like I said, words are just words. It is human beings and society who decide the weight that those words have. When people say "words hurt", it's not the words they are discussing. Rather,it's the concepts those words introduce and the intent those words provoke that are truly hurtful. Some people focus on making their language frillier rather than actually eliminating hurtful concepts from their speech. I think they're missing the point. For example, many people hold The Westboro Baptist Church in a special kind of contempt. This is not only for their cruel actions, but their use of slurs as well. However, many evangelical groups have essentially said the same thing, but in different terms and they've gotten away with it. Yet are they really better? Are their messages any less hurtful?

Rather than focusing on if someone has said a taboo word, we should focus on the concepts that they introduce to other people. There are plenty of ways to deliberately hurt another person than to use curse words. That's much worse than using curse words. Those who hold themselves morally superior for not cursing are guilty of either passive-aggressively putting people down or using/saying hurtful messages to make people feel worse about themselves. Indeed, I would rather be around a nice person who curses like a sailor than a mean person who does not. The emphasis should be changed.

A lot of people argue that cursing makes you look less intelligent and may decrease who you're friends with. You know what, though? If someone is judgmental enough to drop a friend just because they speak a little profanity, that says more about them than it does the person in question.

Indeed, there are actually benefits to cursing. It decreases stress and causes certain chemicals to be released in the brain.  Perhaps it's in the knowledge one is breaking a deeply held taboo (I certainly don't get this when I'm cursing in Spanish, a language I'm still learning.

Of course, more formal situations require more formal language. Yet in informal situations, I don't see how it should matter. Cursing is only a form of expression.

No comments:

Post a Comment