Tuesday, August 07, 2007

i love the part where samuel l. jackson says he's had it with these motherbothering snakes on this motherbothering plane

So, part of the detritus of my working-class rural roots is that I have a pottymouth. Actually, having a congenital prudish streak--and having been raised right (hi, Mom!)--I did not use profanity at all, ever, until about eighth grade. Then there was all kinds of peer pressure that I finally gave into, and then the floodgates (f***gates?) were open.

I am less profane-prolix nowadays than I used to be. Still, I've been feeling I should cut down further.

I heard a friend say "Oh, bother!" recently in a context where I would have said "Oh, holy [expletive deleted] purple [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted]!" And I decided this would be central to my new effort at cussreduction: substituting "bother" for the principal profanity. Unanticipated bonus: that it doesn't really work in many contexts infuses a bemusement that helps deflate the negative affect prompting my launching the profanity in the first place.

(A curious fact of my combination of prudishness and pottymouth is that there are some, commonly considered as more mild, words I have an involuntary scrunch reaction to whenever I hear. The other four-letter F-word, the one that appears in the new Harry Potter book, I can't really bring myself to say. And almost all slang terms for body parts I never use as actually referring to their respective body part; excepting the posterior, I always use exactly the same terms for body parts that are used in standard high-school textbooks.)

16 comments:

dorotha said...

are you stealing from me? the floodgates of profanity is my story.

i didn't curse until college. until then i used bother, too.

dorotha said...

i can't remember the f-word from harry potter. could you remind me?

Anonymous said...

I'm a woman, and I curse a fair amount.
One trick I've used lately to be less offensive is to curse in British slang--the "F" word translates to "bugger"; an "effing traffic jam" becomes a "bloody traffic jam"; the guy who cuts you off is a "wanker", and so on.
I also like the words "snog" and "knackered" (neither of which are cuss words, but just sound fun.)

Anonymous said...

And dorotha stole it from winnie the pooh...

Go with something other than "oh bother". British slang = pretentious and with the argyle socks and all, you've got that department covered, eh farmerj.? :)

dorotha said...

did winnie the pooh have a story about the floodgates of profanity? that is what jeremy stole from me. i am not claiming that "oh, bother!" is original to me. i did, however, not use the "oh" part. i would also say "curses!" when i was upset, and i still do.

Anonymous said...

did winnie the pooh have a story about the floodgates of profanity?

Honestly dorotha, sometimes I think you just play dumb for a laugh.

He said, "oh bother"; these are kids' books, remember -- no profanity around the kids. Myself, I'm glad I never fell into the habit of becoming a pottymouth. So many other delicious words out there for verbal use, and you don't come off sounding like a wannabe baddie.

A well played curse word in print now: that's another story. Censoring yourself in print -- why not just write around it then, instead of using the astr**s (ass-tricks)?

I think sometimes it's about people wanting to sound like they are reforming themselves from saying bad things. Like druggies who talk about their rehab.

Anonymous said...

It was clear to me and presumably any not-intentionally-dense reader what Dorotha meant the first time. Plus everybody knows 'Oh bother' is from Pooh. Behave.

Anonymous said...

"Honestly dorotha, sometimes I think you just play dumb for a laugh. He said, "oh bother"; these are kids' books, remember -- no profanity around the kids. Myself, I'm glad I never fell into the habit of becoming a pottymouth."

Honestly, I think you are a mother******* ***hole, Anonymous. I actually do have a potty mouth and don't have any intention of changing. And I'm once again encouraging Jeremy to turn off the anonymous comments again to get rid of the likes of you. Get over yourself.
Also, I didn't know that "Oh bother" came from Winnie the Pooh.
JJ

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Ang said...

Oy, here we go again.

I have quite the filthy mouth as well. I actually forget how uncomfortable it makes some people. In particular, guys tend to scold me. I think it's supposed to be extremely sexually unattractive for women to talk like that. Eh, whatever.

Ang said...

Also: I totally noticed that thing you do with body parts. It's remarkable particularly in the case of genitals, where almost no one I know uses clinical terms. But, you know, good for you on accuracy and stuff.

Anonymous said...

I, likewise, am trying to cut down on the profanity. Except in the bedroom. Dirty talk isn't quite so much fun when you use the clinical terms.
-Lisa Aucoin or Elbert Almazan (I can't quite decide whose identity I should steal for this comment.)

Anonymous said...

Lol.

Oh bother!

Anonymous said...

How about something like

Oh Filth and Snakes!
FILTH!

when you eg accidentally delete a days work on your computer? Then kick the computer.

Captain Crab said...

aaarrrggghhh, Academics!