Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Commonness Of Profanity Empowers Language

Traditionally, profane words were ones that everybody knew, but nobody said. People were too polite to say such awful words, and as a result, they held tremendous power. Those who would dare to use a "4-letter word" created shock and awe amongst those that heard it. 

Nowadays, profanity is about as common as the word "the". Every day, you can hear people saying "I'm fucking hungry" and "I have assloads of shit to do." They are used as generic intensifiers and common placeholders. They have become amongst the tamest insults you can sling. 

The power of words is in their scarcity. The less common a word is, the more powerful it is. [The catch is that the listener needs to know what the word means, and the word has to be used correctly.] Because of this, language now favors colorful, descriptive terms to convey power.

The commonness of profanity empowers language. When people say "I'm fucking hungry" every single day, then it is more powerful to say "I'm famished." We live in a time where power doesn't come from seven words we're not supposed to say, but instead comes from the plethora of words aside from those seven, which also convey better meaning than simple profanities ever could (and that is awesome).

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