I don’t usually use George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” in public and rarely write them.
Mr. Carlin’s original words are what we now call “vulgar slang,” seven nouns, two of which often stand as verbs. Two excretory functions, four that denigrate, two action terms, and one that is every boy’s favorite body part. I’ve never been fond of bleep-censoring but it is still used by American network broadcasters to titillate us.
Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
Although Twain pretended he did not have a typewriter, he was a pretty smart feller. The modifiers we use in writing can take away from the message. That doesn’t stop us from specially crafting flowery, robust, descriptive text.
Some simply avoid the “dirty words” by substituting clean ones.
Liza Arden has said she “couldn’t be arsed” at work more than a few times this week. Ms. Arden is an engineer and no relation to the cosmetics conglomerate. Her cow orkers were unmoved by her phrasing which surprised her and sent me on this flight of fancy. Thanks to PBS and the Internet, there are probably few British substitutes for bothered that we haven’t heard before.
Substitutes? Google offers about 210,000 results for alternate swear words.
Bleep and fweep and meep and yeep are popular.
RedDwarf adopted smeg as an all purpose curse.
The movie peeps use airhead for rectally enhanced individuals.
Freak (and the ever popular freak off) explain themselves.
As Andy Rooney might say, “Gosh is for people who don’t believe in heck. Who the frell do they think they are?”
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports on “Y U Luv Texts, H8 Calls.” Teens send 3,339 texts a month. Adults, just 323 per month. Me? I get two or three incoming texts in a busy month and those are usually mistakes.
Although Ms. Arden calls me a Luddite, that’s not because I cannot text.
“Yeah, right,” she said. “You’re too cheap to buy a data plan.”
Texters started abbreviating to save space and stay under SMS limits or to encode the looming presence of authority (LTTIC). Unlimited text plans have largely eliminated the need for brevity but typing on a micro keyboard is still typing on a micro keyboard.
I don’t text because I see brevity, misspelling, malaprops, and corruption replacing the richness of language. And I hate the tiny keyboard, not to mention picking out letters on a phone keypad.
“I sooo no ur thinking about me. So I thot I wud say hi! LH6”
“My luser cat did the CRZest thing. Off to vet.”
“Orf to home garden sho. I luv U. TBL”
DQMOT: I think the Brits do this better than we do but sooner or later it’s so satisfying just to have a good fuck.