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My parents used to wash my mouth out with soap every time I would curse. No shit. There I go again. If they knew how I much I curse as a grown up, they would probably have a bar of soap surgically attached to the inside of my mouth. I still remember when it became ok to say the word “bitch” on prime time television; it was a really big deal on the news because it had never been done before. We have certainly come a long way. Books and movies written by curse word connoisseurs like Quentin Tarantino. The Hateful 8 slings derogatory curse words around as rapidly as the bullets from their six shooters. I was so excited that I walked around the house all day just saying, “bitch, bitch, bitch.” Needless to say, the taste of Ivory soap lingered in my mouth for about a week. “But mom,” I said with a mouth full of bubbles, “If they can say it on tv, why can’t I say it?” She didn’t care and probably gave me the “If your friend jumped off the Golden Gate bridge, would you do the same?” line. And to answer her question, no I would not do that. But I found that saying bitch was really liberating, especially since my parents never cursed-EVER. Now that I am an adult, I wonder how that is even possible. I always wonder about those folks that say “fudge” or “shrek” or “heck.” Come on, this is America-say what you mean, “Fuck that shit, I want that bitch to go straight to hell.” Sorry I have to go wash my mouth out with soap, again.
"Identity is bullshit ultimately. While I see myself as is, in the big picture meaningless. But in other ways it is essential to make an X on the ground and say here I stand. And from here i will do this. And so, I will yake my mark. Stand my ground and go out and speak my truth. I mean after all, that is what the old man taught everyday of his life." -- Kelly Carlin (Gerorge Carlin's Daughter)
In 1972, the late, great comedian George Carlin came up with a routine titled “Seven Words you can Never Say on Television.” In no particular order, those words were shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits. In an earlier comedic performance by Lenny Bruce, the year being 1966, he had also included ass and balls. Ass is an everyday word on television now and balls are not far behind. Especially if you are married and you are constantly telling you spouse that he has no balls. And what pre-pubescent boy doesn’t giggle when you say the word “ball” even if it is the context of sports. Pathetic, but true. But Carlin’s top 7 are still quite questionable on network television.
I always wonder about those folks that say “fudge” or “shrek” or “heck.” Come on, this is America-say what you mean, “Fuck that shit, I want that bitch to go straight to hell.” Sorry I have to go wash my mouth out with soap, again.
What is interesting, though, and yes, there can be many interesting things about “dirty words” is that their actual definition never quite measures up with how the words are used in a sentence. English class for the foul-mouthed, so to speak. The word fuck means to have sex. So when you are watching a pornographic film, “fuck me now,” is actually being used properly. When someone calls another person a motherfucker, they don’t actually mean “you are someone who has sex with other people’s mothers.” Unless it is a film titled “The Man who Fucked my Mother.”
When you call someone a “piece of shit” are you actually calling them a piece of fecal matter? Why does shit roll of the tongue so beautifully. “Shit, I forgot to walk the dog.” “Oh shit, I dropped my joint on the carpet.” Does not make sense, but neither does calling someone a cunt. Why are they a vagina? Maybe they are actually a cocksucker and you don’t want to be politically incorrect? Who knows.
Now the word “tits” is usually used properly. “Nice tits, lady.” “Hey dude, maybe you should go on diet because you have tits.” So if a word is used properly, can it be said on television?
Where did these words even come from? Oxford University Press came out with a book Holy Sh*t A Brief History of Swearing, where a medieval literature expert traces “bad words” back to Roman times. But that still doesn’t explain why some households grow up cursing like truck drivers and others are punished for saying them. And if we model what we see at home, how come “fuck you” is my favorite expression and I have never heard any of my relatives say it?
If you watch old episodes of cop shows from the 80’s and 90’s, specifically NYPD Blue, the word “bullshit” goes unedited, fines from the FCC most likely ensued and great havoc was wreaked by parents all over the country who let their kids stay up to watch those shows. Fun fact, NYPD Blue also got into a bit of FCC hot water when there was some brief nudity on the show-what a scandal for that time period!
Fast forward to 2015 and many shows on networks like FX or USA let a whole bunch of words go unedited. On Girlfriends Guide to Divorce, they love the word “shit,” but on the Real Housewives of Wherever they are from, they are always beeped when they curse. That does not seem fair. How come some folks can curse and others cannot? Interestingly though, the word you will most likely never hear is the fabulous “fuck.” You will not hear it, but you will see the character say it, but it is being bleeped for censorship purposes. This happens even on the shows where most other words are just fine and dandy.
How come some folks can curse and others cannot? Interestingly though, the word you will most likely never hear is “fuck” though it is what most of us are regularly doing in one way or another.
It is believed that the earliest use 'fuck' that definitely has a sexual connotation was an English magistrate's court papers from 1310, a local man in Chester was nicknamed "Roger Fuckebythenavele", "Either this refers to an inexperienced copulator, referring to someone trying to have sex with the navel, or it's a rather extravagant explanation for a dimwit, someone so stupid they think this that is the way to have sex," says Dr. Paul Booth.
The hit TV show The Goldbergs, based on a family in the 80’s, does alot of fucking bleeping. The mom, Beverly, is a huge fan of the word fuck and she is constantly being bleeped. A funny irony given the shows's family appeal. What is so interesting about this is that Beverly is a totally intense, over-protective mom who is constantly doing what is best for her family. Well, what she thinks is best anyway. She is so different from the old-fashioned mom who hid in the shadows of the man-of-the-house. So you would think that even though she is a little “hipper,” she wouldn’t curse like a fiend. But, she does. And her kids do not. How did she do that?
Now, is she being censored because she isn’t using the word properly? She never looks at her husband and says, “Fuck me now, Murray.” Nope, fuck just has not found its place on television. That word has gotten shafted.It makes no sense. Why is “shit” okay? Who is in charge? Should it be every “bad” word or no “bad” words? Fuck is lovely! And it simply goes with everything. “Fuckety, fuck fuck.” Say it with me, it just feels good to say. Like all things that are bad for you…it feels so good, but the word is bad. Kids all over the world get in trouble for saying it at home, for saying it in school, it is just unacceptable. We have made it bad and now we are being punished and can only hear it in movies rated R and higher. So. Not. Fair. I think there should be a “fuck” revolution. Let’s go to congress and get a bill passes, it would certainly be better than some of the other issues being entertained in Washington. And, I am sure, many a President has said, “Oh fuck, what I am i supposed to do now…” Do they get their mouths washed out with soap?
Picture the annual meeting of the FCC. “Ladies and gentleman, today we will be revisiting what is considered morally acceptable to be said on television, oh fuck, I forgot my folder in the other room.” Bet no one bleeped that guy. Have a fucking great day!