David Mitchell has been writing about swearing for the Observer newspaper. He believes saying "fuck" is no big deal. I happen to find it very difficult to swear, and am a right little prude about it. It sounds ugly to me, and this is because I was brought up to believe this. Not by my mother, who swore freely throughout my childhood. In fact, I don't really know why I have such a problem with the word. Like most everything else, it is probably a class issue. Meanwhile, Mitchell writes:
" "Is 'fuck' a rude word?" Everyone accepts it's a rude word - it would hardly be used if it weren't. The disagreement is about whether using it (and other swearing, but "fuck" is the Gaza Strip here) is an offensive act.
I don't think it is. I don't think it matters a shit, damn or piss if someone says "fuck" or how many times they say it. My friends and colleagues unthinkingly use it all the time and, as far as I can tell, it hasn't resulted in the poisoning of their souls or their becoming unable to express themselves because of the effect of linguistic inflation.
That's the argument often deployed against swearwords: "If you overuse them, they'll lose their effect." Well, so what, if you hate them so much? Or is the prospect of a rude word losing its offensive power too unsettling for the offendees, as it would reveal that it was only ever a word and the power was an illusion of their own making? It would emasculate their attempts to censor with their censure."
read the rest here.
It is only a word, of course. I knew a 5-year-old whose brother had taught him that the worst word in the world was 'mushroom' so when he was really angry he would say 'youuuuuuuuuu MUSHROOM!' with deathly fury. Personally, I prefer to say 'o FFFFFFFFFALAFEL!"