I’ve been thinking recently about the different levels of swear words. There are some swears that have grown so accepted that they are said on Prime Time, specially the 8-10 pm slots, the ones the kids would be most likely watching.

I’ve grown up in a nearly swear-free household. My father only rarely swears and my mother nearly never swears. She raised us with the idea that certain words were vulgar and not allowed in the house. As I’ve grown up, I’ve only allowed myself one concession- much to my mother’s chagrin – which is the word crap. My inner-teenager rebelled when my mother said I shouldn’t use crap because it was vulgar; though it’s listed as vulgar in the dictionary.

I feel like there is several levels of vulgarity and swears. At the bottom of the ladder, there’s crap, and damn. Next up is probably shit. Bitch also gets thrown around on TV a lot. I’ve always thought both bitch and bastard were swears but you hear them on TV.



Filed under Musings

2 responses to “Swears

  1. Cailin


    I’m pretty much not bothered by cursing at all. My mom generally stays off really strong stuff like f*** unless she’s genuinely upset, but has never really made a rule about it in the home. Her personal philosophy was that the only “bad words” were the ones that hurt people. Stuff like racial slurs are out, I don’t think I’ve ever used one in my life, and not just because of my mom. Attacking someone’s intelligence when you really just dislike what they have to say is also out. Attacking someone’s looks is almost always unnecessary and hurtful even if you genuinely don’t like their appearance. Stuff like that. I don’t know if that really helps anything on the question of TV, because drama is based on conflict, so at least on fictional shows, you will see people hurting one another. The drama factor was probably the reason for the uprising of cursing on TV in the first place. However, a practical piece of advice for people who like to curse but want their curses to pack the most punch would be that curse words become less meaningful/interesting/shocking the more they are used. I would say that TV and movies have desensitized the general public to words like “bitch” or “shit” so much that they no longer count as profanity in the sense of shocking or disgusting. I would say they are more like slang now– You don’t use them in a job interview, but no one is really going to stop and stare if you use them casually.


    • Yeah. I’m the first to admit that I’m pretty old fashioned when it comes to cursing. Probably because of my mother, though I don’t want to admit that part.
      It’s also because of my faith though. There’s a commandment – Thou shall not take the name of your Lord God in vain – that I’ve kinda twisted to basically mean no swearing. Probably not what the Big Guy had in mind, but it gets the job done 🙂

      As a writer, I will have characters who swear if I feel the story necessitates it. This past fall, I had a story where a father used the N-word a lot. Writer friends told me to cut it down. They were right of course 😉

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