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Friday, July 27, 2018

The F-word as a unit of measurement

The F-word has become an all-purpose way of displaying one's superior victim status.

I suppose all animals are programmed to get angry from time to time. Last month while walking the one mile from the parking lot to my office I passed a crow pecking, for some inscrutable reason, on a metal park bench with its beak. Suddenly it noticed me and it turned around and started cawing at me, as if to say “Stop **** ***** *******, you ******!!”

Trigger warning: possible g** d*** swear words ahead.

Of course, we humans have a wider variety of expletives at our disposal. ‘Hell and damnation’ are disappearing and fornication-related terms are taking over. As a result the darned euphemisms we use are effing changing as well.

It's no coincidence that there are also fewer satanists than ever before. To be a satanist, there has to be at least a trace of belief in a deity. Nowadays, almost no one ever says ‘darn’ or ‘gosh’. When Donald Rumsfeld said “My goodness gracious!” it sounded quaint. And of course, whenever somebody says ‘cotton-pickin'’—a common euphemism fifty years ago that means ‘God-damned’—it's misunderstood by our youth, who are woefully undereducated in the fine art of cussing and swearing, and have been told that everything in the world that they don't understand is racist.

Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand singing her hit tune “F***ings”

Those g** d***ed expletives shine a f***ing light on what the bastards believe and value. Conservatives, being generally more tradition-oriented, tend to use ‘damn’ and ‘hell’ more often. For today's sophisticated, hip lib on the go, ‘effing’ has emerged as the go-to expression to express strong feelings, though one TV show tried vainly to install ‘frak.’

An old joke from the 1960s was that scientists had proven that college students cursed less than average people: ordinary people used one swear word for every 2.6 words, while college kids used one swear word for every 2.9 words.

Lately the ratio has reversed. Anti-Trumpers, it seems, use 2.9 swear words for every ordinary word. Why is this?

One possibility is that they've become so inarticulate and anti-intellectualistic, thanks to our terrible educational system, that they consider swear words to be the height of erudite verbal sophistication. Yet even Democrats must have noticed by now that this opinion is not universally shared.

It seems to me that the F-word has come to mean ‘more extreme.’ Here's an example: based on my experience picking up large rocks, which I did just two months ago, it seems to me that a f***ing ton is approximately equal to 1.102 metric tons, or 1.2144 U.S. tons. A f***ing railroad tie, one of which I tried (unsuccessfully) to pick up last week, by my estimate weighs a couple of f***ing tons, or approximately 2,204.4 actual kilograms.

It's a modifier when ‘very heavy’ just won't do.

Still, we're missing something. The F-word, as used by liberals, now means “something I feel strongly about but can't explain why because I am so incredibly frustrated by it that I have become tongue tied.” Or maybe “I'm emotionally distraught, and it's all your fault!” It's a way of assuming the role of victim: the other person is so terrible that it's forcing you to do and say terrible things. Like so many other things, it has become a way of signaling one's superiority—a way of saying “I'm ahead of you in the global race toward global victimhood and universal f****** illiteracy!”

It's pretty darn convincing, too.

jul 27 2018, 5:31 am

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