Tuesday, June 03, 2008

F.U. Or: A Short Essay On Fuck You.

F.U., F.U., F.U! Did that make you feel better? Oops! I forgot you're not the one writing it but the one reading it. Perhaps I should start again?

The use of foul language is common on lefty blogs, and the point of using it is ultimately political. Thers explained it best a few days ago:

Conservative bloggers have speculated that my use of "fuck" indicates that I possess an impoverished vocabulary, a thesis that I reject as pretty fucking stupid and in fact rather cromulent. Actually, I curse online as a conscious choice. Back in the early days of blogs I used to go into comments sections and try to, you know, persuade conservatives that, like, the proposed invasion of Iraq was perhaps not such a great idea. And what happened was, after a colloquy that sometimes lasted literally weeks at a time, what resulted was my interlocutor politely informing me that we would "agree to disagree" and that he (almost always "he") had quite enjoyed "breaking a lance" with me and that he fully expected me to join hands with him and sing a solemn hymn to Comity and then we'd go light a candle upon the altar of Civilized Discourse.

And, privately, I was thinking to myself, this is fucking insane. A lot of people are going to die for no rational reason, and here we are acting like we're all hot fucking shit because we don't say "fuck."

And you know what I did next?

I started to say "fuck" quite a lot, and I began to tell the people who were deliberately fucking up my country and causing a lot of fucking pointless carnage that they were a bunch of fucking horrible sociopaths and that I fucking hated them.

And it's been clear fucking sailing ever since.

I fucking applaud that fucking explanation, I do. It's certainly very true that something is fucking wrong with our value rankings when we think saying "fuck" is worse than killing people in other countries or worse than politely suggesting stringing them all up here at home, and the latter are the types of writings I have read on some conservative blogs.

But (and none of what comes after this is intended to refer to Thers, as he's not guilty of any of it and, as I said, I totally agree with the point he was making). The extensive use of foul language also has problems.

One of the worst for me is that so much foul language consists of the liberal use of words "cunt", "bitch" and "slut", whether applied in the original meaning to hate on women or whether used in the new enlightened sense of gender-blind cuntery, bitchiness or sluttery. All your enemies can now be cunts! Even men! This means that we can use those words freely and be all for legal abortions. Yeah.

But the words still drag their old misogynistic messages with them. Nothing can be done about that, you know, and so women reading these blogs get frequent reminders of their ultimate stinkiness. It's unpleasant, like someone's claws continuously scraping at your lower back or your inner arms. Even if you go to the doctor and get told that this condition is nothing to worry about, that "cunt" doesn't mean "you" nowadays, the scraping still goes on.

Sometimes I suspect that there are bloggers and commentators who have no idea that girls might be reading political blogs, that they might in fact be reading the very words you write right at this minute! Now that is a scary thought! Can you still suggest that a politician "throws like a girl" or "bawls like a twelve-year old girl"? Aargh!

It is not just girls who read political blogs, but some in the audience are not accustomed to swearwords so liberally applied. The effect is similar to that curry which a friend of mine once made from a scribbled recipe sent by his mother. The writing was hard to interpret so all the spices ended up being multiplied by a rough factor of ten. Hot it was, and our kidneys complained loudly.

Since this post is all about bad analogies, let me finish with a perfume one. Using foul language a lot has the same risk as getting used to splashing your favorite perfume on every morning. Over time your nose grows numb and you can't smell that alluring scent unless you spritz a few more times. But then the people in the elevator with you drop like flies after a Raid attack.

That's one reason why I don't employ the fuck-family very often. Another one is that they are very powerful people and I want to save that power for the times it is really needed.