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Oh no, it's the four-letter F word!

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Feb 6, 2007
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The intention behind the word is more important than the word itself. I don't consider "fuck" or "shit" to be inherently bad words because the concepts they describe aren't inherently profane. Sure, you probably don't want to be talking about sex or defecation in polite company, but if you use the word "feces," no one ever accuses you of being profane; so why the distinction for "shit?" Similarly, sex is a natural function, and you can talk about coitus without people labeling you profane, yet "fuck" is the highest form of profanity we have. Why is that? What's the difference that makes "fuck" so much more profane than any other words we have describing sex? Is it just the sound of it? It's very harsh, with that hard "K" sound; it sounds angry. Is that the distinction? I can't figure it out.

People's tolerance towards profanity shifts, as has been mentioned earlier in this thread. You use to have TV shows that used words like "shucks" or "golly" or "darn" because we couldn't have profane language on the TV. Now we have "damn," "hell," "ass" and "douchebag" in primetime on network TV. Our cultural standards on what is considered taboo shift; just look at the bathing suits they wore in the early 1900s as compared to what is acceptable to show on TV, magazines and billboards everywhere today. Similarly, we are becoming more accepting of harsher and harsher profanity. It used to be that saying "shit" on the air came with a fine and firings until NYPD Blue let one fly, and while we've hardly been hit with a tsunami of "shit"s on network broadcasting, it has resulted in basic cable networks loosening their standards. That's how culture works; our standards change over time.

I will say that I still consider some words to be "bad" words; racism, prejudice and bigotry are inherently profane ideas, as they advocate that someone is less human based on arbitrary distinctions. It doesn't really matter what words you use to express the idea that black people are inherently inferior (for example), it's still a profane notion, and significantly more offensive to me than a million "fucks."
 

MiniDoom

Diamond Member
Jan 5, 2004
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The idea that some word is profane or wrong simply by being a word is idiotic. In the end it's another form of control. If we make certain words taboo, then we're controlling your speech however small. The whole concept of "bad words" is one of the silliest things we've come up with as a species. The only thing sillier I can think of is trickle down economics.
would you consider racially derogatory words bad?
 

Fern

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 30, 2003
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I mostly agree with the 'anti-profane' posters here.

The dumb thing for you others is that when profane words become common they cease being profane and lose their meaning/impact. I'm opposed to that, every once in a while a good swear word is actually appropriate.

Fern
 

Retro Rob

Diamond Member
Apr 22, 2012
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I agree, I think it does matter. If some of you want to raise your kids as idiots who think using profanity is the way to properly express yourself, feel free to do so, but I prefer to raise kids to know that profanity is not appropriate. Good thing I wasn't planning on buying the garbage urban outfitters sells anyway.
I've always had the opinion that it's a lazy shorthand way of expressing yourself properly -- even if you're upset. People often use anger as an excuse for f-bombing someone.

Have you ever been around a liberal cusser... someone who cusses so much that he often has to catch himself even when talking to his boss? "I think that's a Fu... uhh bad idea to cut the workforce".

When kids do it subconsciously, it doesn't bode well at all and demonstrates a sheer lack of respect. No, we haven't rasied any kids, but I have a freind whose son cusses up a storm, and he just turned 11. I mean, the little dude can hardly utter a coherent sentence, but he isn't short on four-letter expletives!

I mean, I can understand people wanting to be more liberal, but good grief.. where is the line draw?
 

zsdersw

Lifer
Oct 29, 2003
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You're failing to factor in the possibility of how others might interpret your speech and react to it. I guess if you're around others you know well and talk similarly, then it doesn't much matter, but if there is anyone around who doesn't act the same way, you're at risk of conveying the wrong message -- for no good reason.
Reactions of others are beyond your control... in all situations. There is little to be gained by being overly concerned about them.

I still don't see a "pro" to swearing, there are always other ways of conveying something that works just as simple and just as quickly, provided your vocabulary is up to the task.
Not if the audience's vocabulary isn't up to the task as well.
 

Geosurface

Diamond Member
Mar 22, 2012
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If you want...you can raise your children in an environment filled with profanity.

However, what's it to you if I choose otherwise?
I can choose to raise my child in an environment free of the word "motorcycle" but my choice won't line up very well with reality, and I shouldn't be too surprised when society isn't on board with the notion of helping me spread that environment everywhere.

It would be better if I just were more reasonable and realistic.
 

zsdersw

Lifer
Oct 29, 2003
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I mostly agree with the 'anti-profane' posters here.

The dumb thing for you others is that when profane words become common they cease being profane and lose their meaning/impact. I'm opposed to that, every once in a while a good swear word is actually appropriate.

Fern
That's true, but I'm not really talking about those who are generally anti-profanity, but those who get hysterical about it and those who go on mini crusades against it.
 

PokerGuy

Lifer
Jul 2, 2005
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Doesn't help communication at all?

Ha.

So you think there's no difference between 'You're dumb." and "You're f**ing dumb." ?
Nope. That just indicates that the speaker is too dumb to articulate the difference without having to resort to profanity.

It's language. Every word can matter when it's used properly to communicate. Even words you find to be stigmatized with special powers.
No "special powers", cultural significance. Words often have meaning beyond their literal dictionary definition.
 

PokerGuy

Lifer
Jul 2, 2005
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Reactions of others are beyond your control... in all situations. There is little to be gained by being overly concerned about them.
You think it would be OK for the president to throw around a bunch of f-bombs or expletives during a state of the union address? Why not, they're just words right? You can't control how others react, but that doesn't mean you should ignore cultural norms either.

And, while you can't always concern yourself with how someone will interpret something, you should always be aware of how something you say/do will be perceived.

Keep in mind there's a difference between personal use of language, where you often know the audience and you know how they'll interpret your words, and advertising. The use of profanity in an ad campaign distributed to a wide audience seems especially inappropriate, it significantly tarnishes the image of the advertiser in my mind. To each his own though.
 

zsdersw

Lifer
Oct 29, 2003
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You think it would be OK for the president to throw around a bunch of f-bombs or expletives during a state of the union address? Why not, they're just words right? You can't control how others react, but that doesn't mean you should ignore cultural norms either.

And, while you can't always concern yourself with how someone will interpret something, you should always be aware of how something you say/do will be perceived.

Keep in mind there's a difference between personal use of language, where you often know the audience and you know how they'll interpret your words, and advertising. The use of profanity in an ad campaign distributed to a wide audience seems especially inappropriate, it significantly tarnishes the image of the advertiser in my mind. To each his own though.
You're not saying anything that is at all contradictory to what I said.
 
Nov 8, 2012
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http://www.hlntv.com/article/2012/12/12/outcry-over-f-bombs-all-over-urban-outfitters-holiday-catalog?hpt=hp_c3

What a joke. Far too many people get their undies in a bunch over such stupid and harmless stuff as "profanity".

Once upon a time, the word "poppycock" was considered profane. Nowadays most people associate it with caramel corn.

To any parent that has a serious problem with this catalog, I have some simple advice: Go get yourself some REAL problems to worry about.
I find this funny too OP -

"Curse Words" are nothing more than slang. It was society that for SOME reason, decided it was a "bad word". If you get offended by a word, than you are simply weak minded and have succumbed to what society refers to as "bad" :p

It really is mind boggling stupid.
 

PokerGuy

Lifer
Jul 2, 2005
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If you get offended by a word, than you are simply weak minded and have succumbed to what society refers to as "bad" :p

It really is mind boggling stupid.
Interesting, so nobody should be offended by a word, or they are simply weak minded and have succumbed to what society refers to as "bad". You'd be fine then with ad campaign using "the n-word" in it? It's just a word right? Only simple weak minded people that have succumbed to what society refers to as bad would have a problem with it, right? :rolleyes:

Words have meaning beyond their linguistic definition, and some words are not appropriate in most settings.
 
Nov 8, 2012
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Interesting, so nobody should be offended by a word, or they are simply weak minded and have succumbed to what society refers to as "bad". You'd be fine then with ad campaign using "the n-word" in it? It's just a word right? Only simple weak minded people that have succumbed to what society refers to as bad would have a problem with it, right? :rolleyes:

Words have meaning beyond their linguistic definition, and some words are not appropriate in most settings.
Racial slurs are quite a ways away from what society deems as a "curse" word :rolleyes: We're on the premise of "OH NOEZ! DONT SAY BUTT/ASS In front of the children! They are too young for that word".

And yes, you have a weak sense of self-confidence if you get offended by a word.
 

zsdersw

Lifer
Oct 29, 2003
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Interesting, so nobody should be offended by a word, or they are simply weak minded and have succumbed to what society refers to as "bad". You'd be fine then with ad campaign using "the n-word" in it? It's just a word right? Only simple weak minded people that have succumbed to what society refers to as bad would have a problem with it, right? :rolleyes:

Words have meaning beyond their linguistic definition, and some words are not appropriate in most settings.
I wouldn't get offended if someone called me a i love you, queer, lovely human, or whatever else.

Far too many people these days are far too easily offended, and that's a function of a weak mind.
 

PokerGuy

Lifer
Jul 2, 2005
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Racial slurs are quite a ways away from what society deems as a "curse" word :rolleyes:
Oh, so now there's a distinction. Profanity is "just words" and should not be attributed any magical special meaning beyond just words... but "racial slurs" are special words that have different meaning. Brilliant. Any other distinctions in what words have magical powers we should be aware of?

Stop being dumb and just admit it. Words have a cultural meaning that can make them either appropriate or inappropriate in different settings.

And yes, you have a weak sense of self-confidence if you get offended by a word.
My self confidence is perfectly fine, thanks. It's not the word that I take personal offense to, it's the inappropriate use of the word. In this case, it's part of an advertising campaign. There's nothing wrong with saying "hey, I don't think that's right, I definitely wouldn't buy anything from that company because they use inappropriate words in their ad".
 

Atreus21

Lifer
Aug 21, 2007
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If cultural norms regarding language are ultimately without merit, are any cultural norms merited? Is there any such thing as vulgarity, obscenity, or inappropriateness?

Apparently the only real vulgarity or obscenity is getting offended at vulgarity or obscenity.
 
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xj0hnx

Diamond Member
Dec 18, 2007
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Tell me... do you think it is OK for your children to use a "swear word" from another language other than the one they and their peers normally speak or know?
My son uses Scheiß, but that's because Germans are not hung up on the stupid little shit, and don't blow a gasket when they see some titties on TV.
 

zsdersw

Lifer
Oct 29, 2003
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My son uses Scheiß, but that's because Germans are not hung up on the stupid little shit, and don't blow a gasket when they see some titties on TV.
Yeah, I've always admired that about Germany.. and many other areas of Europe.
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
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Way to judge what you see as laziness with your own laziness.
Whether you ascribe this to his "laziness" or not, I do think it hits a core point. The purpose of speech is communications. Communications requires two or more parties. Regardless of one's personal preferences, in order to communicate effectively one must consider the audience.

If your audience reacts negatively to gratuitous profanity, believing it shows you lack intelligence, class, whatever, it doesn't really matter how uptight and irrational you believe them to be for that reaction. The reality is you are not communicating effectively (unless, of course, your goal is to convince that audience you lack intelligence, class, whatever). You can rail against it until you're blue in the face; it doesn't change that reality. Your audience will judge you based on how you communicate, whether you agree with their standards or not.
 

Greenman

Lifer
Oct 15, 1999
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If some of you want to raise your kids as idiots who think avoiding certain words matters more than the meaning behind them, feel free to do so.. but I prefer to raise kids to know that a specific word matters less than the meaning and intent being conveyed.
Am I to understand that you reject the concept of "manners"?
 

spittledip

Diamond Member
Apr 23, 2005
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If some of you want to raise your kids as idiots who think avoiding certain words matters more than the meaning behind them, feel free to do so.. but I prefer to raise kids to know that a specific word matters less than the meaning and intent being conveyed.
Words have meanings behind them. Your posts are not making sense. The intent is interlaced with the meaning behind the words being used. Why do you think people choose some words to use and not others, especially in the case of profanity?
 

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