An argument for cuss words

(Note, all cuss words in this post are starred out, mainly just for fun, but also in case anyone is easily offended.)

I think most people here would agree that “cuss words” are not necessarily bad things. When the Bible says ***, it is just talking about a donkey. When the veterinarian calls my dog a *****, it is just a technical term. However, what I have noticed is that if I call my dog a *****, or I call a donkey an ***, people are somehow offended. The implication of this is that the “evil” of these terms lies with me as the person using them, not with the actual words themselves.

I would argue the exact opposite of this: rather that the evil of these words lies in the listener, not the words themselves or even the person saying the word. I offer the following scenario:

I am walking down an aisle at Wal-mart, and at the other end of the aisle is a mother with a young child. Midway down the aisle, I stub my toe and yell, “**** **** **** **** !" Now, the mother is of course appalled at my behavior and rushes the child, who is laughing his head off, away. Now, if we repeat the scenario, but this time when I stub my toe, I yell, “Fudging kitty litter and tiny toads!” The child is still laughing at me, but this time so is the mother.
(Note: this exact scenario I haven’t practiced, but I have seen, and am sure many people have seen, that euphemisms are better recieved than the actual word, like substituting “fudge” for "
” or “dang” for “****”.)

In both scenarios, my intent was exactly the same: yell something as an expression of my pain. The only thing that changed was the words and the reaction of the mother to those words. This implies that the “evil” of cuss words lies in the act of hearing them, not in the person saying them, or even the intent.

The impact of this argument is probably minimal. You wouldn’t shoot a person and say that it is their fault for not wearing a bullet-proof vest. Just so, a polite person would not use cuss words and say that it is the listener’s fault for taking offense at them.


Once, when I was around 12, I was in the back of a friends mums car and one of my other friends in the car said “oh blast”. I can’t remember why now. But my friends mum had a massive go at him because even though he didn’t swear it was as bad as swearing because of the intent.

Looking back on this maybe she had a point. Its how you use the words not what they mean.

I could call one of my close friends a cunt and they’d know I was joking because of the context or the tone of my voice. On the other hand if they annoyed me I might say “you dick” and they’d know I really ment it.

But calling someone a dick when your angry or shouting “oh fuck” doesn’t really help the situation. It may make you feel better but its very constructive. At the same time it can be good to let your emotions out.

As for cussing around kids. You’ve also got to think about the problem of the kid asking his mother “what does fuck mean mummy?”.

So if I say… “You fuckers are crazy” it might be ok? But if I say, “This thread is fucking retarded” it would be different?

Swears are ways for people to express themselves more forcibly and intensely. You’ll come off as rude if you use them in day-to-day conversation. Additionally, saying swears is usually a way to let out anger or other extreme emotions. Again, you’ll seem hot-headed or otherwise excessively emotional if you use swears more often then they are called for.

Swearing is a sign of maturity, bitches.

All emotions are equal imo. You need to express yourself in all ways, as much as you can in order to remain emotionally healthy.

Saying curse words just to invoke a reaction in an audience is stupid for the most part. Using words that are stronger than your intent is very childish. There is only one exception to this rule.

i agree with your conclusion re vests and a polite person.
i think of cuss words the same way.
some people say, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” but words are are energy exchanges. you can disservice someone with negative energy just like you can disservice someone with a break in the arm. so they should be strong/armored enough to not be affected by words? well, that’s like saying they should be wearing bullet proof vests when you shoot them, like you said.

as for your argument,

  1. the “evil” of cuss words are of course not in the words but in a) how they’re interpreted and b) what their intention is, in other words, what they mean. it’s like any other word. the meaning of ‘cat’ isn’t in the word, or it wouldn’t be ‘chat’ in French and ‘gato’ in Espanol.

  2. the listener can take a word to be bad even if the speaker of it doesn’t intend it that way, or take a word to be ok if the speaker of it means it as a cuss word, just because of the momentum the word carries, as in, how it’s usually used. this again is analogous to how meaning works. i can say “cat” and mean “dog” and you’ll still interpret it as “cat”. of course it’s not that simple, because anyone can plainly see whether there’s negative or positive emotion behind the saying of the word, that’s just something that’s typical of humans: tokenization in place of thought. but hte mother wants to protect her kid from your bad words because then the kid might repeat the words and think they’re ok. and if the kid does that and doesnt mean negative energy by it, that’s not inherently bad either. but people would think the kid is rude, and that the parents are bad, and that’s not good. i guess it’s still all about superficialitiy and second-guessing.

  3. bad words may be taken as evil even when they’re not intended that way (or in other words, a lexical substitute with the exact same energy might be received differently), but that doesn’t mean the evil is all in the listener. if you say a bad word and intend it (and express it) with negative energy, then the so-called evil is in you (too). just like the meaning of “cat” is in you when you say it. it’s just that the listener caches experience. and that meaning is in both the speaker and the listener.

bad words become bad words because of the intentions behind their use. how else could they become bad? how else could they form meaning? why would listeners arbitrarily decide to hear a word as negative when nobody ever used it negatively? like all words, it’s a feedback loop of hearing it used in a certain way and then using it to convey the same intention.

  1. part of the issue might be the use of the word “bad”. a word may not be “bad” or “good” objectively, just like a person may not be “bad” or “good” objectively (and that a ‘bad’ word isnt always used ‘badly’), but it can still “vulgar”, “offensive”, “violent”, “rude”, “crude”, “negative…” to characterize it without using the fallacy of an objective bad and good.

**** this thread. :laughing:

I think it alright to swear. The general rule I use is if someone swears first, then the environment is good for cussing.

Honestly though, I think cuss words being bleeped out on television is funnier than otherwise.

Have you ever seen that skit on Jimmy Kimmel’s show called unnecessary censorship. They bleep out regular words to make it appear like people are swearing. It’s hilarious. I think I saw it on YouTube.

Yes, I have. Brilliant.