Join Date: Jun 2007
I've been cussing/cursing/swearing since I was a wee lad. This was not reflective of a poor vocabulary or the inability to recollect said vocab.
It's 'cause I was hardcore. Since the dawn of time, a curse not only conveys the pure emotion inside of you, but lets everyone in the area know exactly how serious you are about this emotion. This is some pretty hardcore expression of self!
When it comes to euphemisms, the same idea applies. Except instead of being hardcore, the user of the euphemism tries to apply a sense of innocence or perhaps even comedy in place of the seriousness of the curse. A euphemism then becomes the anti-swear. Holy smokes!!
c wut i did thar?
Of course, when it comes to the social stygma of what is and isnt acceptable, cursing then becomes entirely situational. For example:
Tom is at the bank. He's waiting in line to deposit his paycheck. Ok, pretty standard situation here. No swearing necessary.
Now, the guy behind Tom whips out a gun and screams, "ALRIGHT!! THIS IS A MOTHERFUCKING HEIST!!!!! I WANT TO SEE EVERY FUCKER IN HERE EATING SOME GOD DAMN CARPET IN 3 MOTHERFUCKING SECONDS!!!!!"
First thing that shoots through Tom's mind is "Holy shit!!!" Now this would have been just as acceptable to shout out loud, however, this bank robber seems pretty jumpy, not to mention right behind Tom. Good call on keeping it to yourself Tom. Better just hit the floor. Second thing going through Tom's mind is "Did that bank robber just say 'heist'?" Tom finds this rather hilarious, and is now questioning the seriousness of the bank robber. Trying to buy time for the police to arrive, Tom musters up the courage to ask the bank robber:
"Heist? Are you serious? You might as well have come in here and shouted "Alright folks!!! This is gonna be a REAL caper!!!"
After cocking a rather curious eyebrow, the bank robber proceeds to shoot Tom in the knee.
Now would be a great time for Tom to shout " OH FUCK ME!!!!", preferably repeatedly. This is actually encouraged whenever anyone is shot. But would Tom really scream out, "Holy Potato Pony!!! Heavens to Betsy, Son of a Gun!! Dang!"
The robber proceeds in his scheme, demanding money from the teller and controling the crowd. A man about 5 feet away from Tom looks at Tom's leg and quietly says "Oh man, that leg is fucking gone."
Now, the man on the ground 5 feet away from Tom could have easily said, "Oh man, that leg is gone.", omitting the swear completely. But this man decided to convey his total and utter dismay of what happened to Tom's leg. The leg isn't just gone. It's fucking gone. Of course, the man could also have expressed his shock like this: "Oh man, that leg's a goner."
At this point, "goner" could be used as the euphemism for "fucking gone".
I do believe the definition for a 'goner' is "a person or thing that is so far gone, it is gone forever; or in this case, fucking gone." Of course, the man could be completely swarthy and mix the euphemism with the swear, in a delicious harmony of sweet, sweet irony: "Oh man, that leg's a fucking goner."
The scenario I created above refers to a certain "allowed" vulgarity when situations grow more and more serious. Essentially, cursing is situational. If I'm at a tea party, I'm not going to be slinging cusses around like a sailor. However, if a tiger shows up and starts a bunch of shit, I'm going to change my tune accordingly. Is it a baby tiger? Do I have to fight this tiger? Can I tame it and keep it as a pet?
In essence, cursing is only another form of self expression. It allows you to add a sense of style to how and what you say. Euphemisms allow the same exact thing, but I do believe urk people just as often as cursing offends others. Another example:
My parents want to take me out to dinner. I respond "F that." They know that I JUST cooked myself a perfectly fine dinner. This undermines my ability to support myself. But I still love them, because they just want to make sure that I am well-fed. Also, they most likely want to spend time with me. This is respectable. So I respect them by not swearing at them. My parents understand my dismay, and realize that I wasn't all that angry, but upset enough to not simply respond "No thank you, maybe some other time." I didn't drop the F-Bomb, but I had the hanger doors open.
Now, if I had instead responded, "No, go fuck yourselves.", this situation would have most likely escalated into a rather heated argument or fight, aside from being strangely ironic.
Using euphemisms is also a discplinary practice for those who "cuss like a pirate" and for those who wish not to take their lord's name in vain. I do believe this practice to be ultimately futile, but who am I to judge someone who wants to stop swearing. Hell, maybe they swear more than I do. I sure know that I could use some self control when it comes to swearing. But I gave up on that shit a long time ago. :D