Four Letter Word Misery

Annie Wilkes
Annie Wilkes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was just re-reading the last What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able: Bacon In a Toaster and at one point in the article the question of four letter words came up. I was surprised.

I mean, we are all adults here right? Now unless the words are so socially unacceptable (let’s face it a few are), like the notorious C-word that has been banned from my house for years, that not only do we blush a bit when encountering them we also feel slightly (or not so slightly) offended.

But getting right down to where the carpet meets the floor, who decides what is an acceptable four letter word? Like I surmised earlier, are we not all adults? Surely we’ve heard enough ‘damns’ and ‘hells’ in our short lifetime that we’ve grown accustomed to the more ‘colourful’ aspects of speech and the written word.

The esteemed George Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) used to have a list of words that you could not say on television. I do believe that the list originally consisted of just seven words and were actually words you could not say on stage. Carlin, for those of you who don’t remember or were not around back in the day, was removed from a Las Vegas stage for saying the word ‘shit’ onstage.

Now gentle reader (or the editorial staff at WordPress) if that word just shocked and offended you, might I suggest reading something that is less likely to offend? Like the many editions of Dick and Jane primers or perhaps any Dr Seuss book laying around out there in book land.

Signature of Dr. Seuss
Signature of Dr. Seuss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The very fact that the editor, who was helpfully pointing out that the ‘four letter words’ used in the post were in keeping with the “blunt humour” of the post itself, felt he had to justify the four letter words is disturbing. Not to mention erudite. I’ve not encountered the phrase ‘blunt humour’ before.

Blunt Humour? I’ll have to look that one up. Perhaps if I hadn’t been so busy using four letter expletives in my own blog posts I would be more familiar with that term.

It is scary that the editor had to ‘justify’ the use of everyday words that might just offend somebody. It’s like the world is full of Annie Wilkes‘s who despise the use of the four letter language that quite a few of us use on a daily basis. I’m not saying that we all walk around talking or writing like the world’s worst potty mouth, but come on.

Do I really have to continually substitute darn for damn or heck for hell? Maybe I should just be a cock-a-doodie brat and not substitute any of those oogy old swear words.  What’s the worst that can happen? Will some bitching mean fundamentalist break into my house and hobble me?

I suppose I could get a visit from the Good Word Fairy who just might wash out my mouth with soap and make me write a 1000 times on my blog that I will not use dirty four letter words in my posts again.

I might even decide to use the more offensive words of the four letter variety in my future posts! I mean, why the hell not.

I’d write some more on this business of offensive language and it’s tendency to offend folks who still suffer from the ‘vapors’ but I’ll have to stop.

Someone’s just knocked on the door…

Last Words (book)
Last Words (book) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

13 thoughts on “Four Letter Word Misery”

  1. My take on it all is that words have no meaning unless you apply meaning to them. Fuck is just a word – it only becomes offensive if you’ve been raised to believe it is or learned that it has a negative connotation that should never be used. If you said that word to someone who had never heard it before, they would have no clue that it’s supposed to be impolite, etc. It’s all learned behavior. Not to say that you should go around with a sailor mouth because sometimes words do just sound nasty when you say them (and maybe I’m making an oxymoronic statement in saying that?…) but yeah. Same with any word. Heaven has no meaning if you don’t know the connotations with that word and if you do, it may still hold no power to you. If that makes sense?


  2. I think the best part of all of that was the comment (on the “What makes a post FP’d” article) from the troll pretending to be a feminist who said the food through a nipple joke could be construed as “demeaning to women.” Say what?!?


  3. Well said, Mike! What’s really interesting to me in my day to day life is how ideas about gender still influence the whole swearing thing. Recently had a man (my age) apologize to me for using the “f” word in my presence, and I was like, “whoa… is it 1925?” That said, I have learned that when you don’t overuse “taboo” language, it packs a greater punch when you do use it to make a point. Besides, screaming “mother-bleepin-bleep-sucker” at the top of your lungs when bang into something feels so much more satisfying than “cockadoodie”. 🙂


    1. Oh definitely, cockadoodie will never replace the heartfelt swearing that turns the air purple when we do something like hitting a thumb with a hammer or closing a finger in the door! LOL


  4. I don’t know whether this is relevant for this post but here goes — I feel miserable today because I have laryngitis, a sore throat, a whopper headache and Montezuma’s (who?) revenge. Misery!! Poor, poor me!! Misery in my working years: Getting a wake up phone call dispatching me to cover a story with mayhem, disaster and multiple deaths. I would scream profanities enroute to the story about life, death, sleep deprivation and the crazy drivers around me. Nowadays, the profanities usually come in streams when I step in stuff left by the furry kids who don’t like going outside on rainy days. It’s raining today!!


    1. Dunno about the relevancy issue, but it’s always good to share, especially when you’re feeling like you hit the life lottery bingo and the grand prize is feeling like crap… I hope your profanities help shift all those symptoms. 🙂


  5. Reblogged this on Serendipity and commented:
    I was once accused of writing as if I were afraid my mother would read it. I realized that I actually WAS afraid my mother would read it. I have since loosened up, though not as much as I wish. Old habits die slowly and hard. Anyone will hear more “bad words” listening to 5 minutes of average teenagers talking among themselves than on all the WordPress sites put together, so perhaps it’s time to get past the hypocritical.standards by which we judge writing and let reality invade our world or words. Mike says it very well here. Kudos, my friend.


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