There are tens of thousands of words in American English; vivid, compelling, eloquent words just sitting there waiting to be used. Dictionaries are bursting with them, thesauri, too. But what do we do? We turn up our noses and ignore them. We choose, instead, to use the same few words the same way to say the same things as everyone else. It’s effing this and effing that and effing the other.
Snap out of it, you lazy bums.
That isn’t communication; it’s a failure of imagination. Our vocabularies are shrinking, just wasting away from lack of use and disinterest. And shame on us. We need to put a little effort into our thoughts, be original for a change. We aren’t sheep, for crying out loud, we’re unique, distinct individuals. It’s time to start talking like it.
We can begin by having thoughtful, illuminating conversations instead of rants — and that is my biggest gripe against profanity. It makes everything being said sound angry. Not saucy or irreverent ² or funny, but belligerent. Unhinged.
So stop with the effing gutter talk already and use your mother-effing brains, you effing effers. The art of communication is dying before our f*#@ing ears and we’re the effers beating it to death. That’s effed up, man, knock it off. (See what I mean about angry?)
The only interesting thing about swearing is how some people do it better than others. Take Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She’s terrific, but –yeow — lay off the f-word, lady, I mean it. It sounds forced and self-conscious. Elaine Stritch, may she rest in peace, used smutty language like an artist. It was positively lyrical coming from her. That’s very, very rare.
Now, let’s all step back, take a deep, cleansing breath and quit being such vulgarians ³ . Let’s work on our vocabularies, make them big and strong. We can do it; we can learn to express ourselves. Come on, let’s dare to be different and use lovely, expressive words like articulate, instead of those puny four-letter things.
What do you say?
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¹ Banal — [ [buh-nal, -nahl, beyn-l ] adjective so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring.
² Irreverent — [ ih-rev-er-uh nt ] adjective showing a lack of respect for people or things that are generally taken seriously.
³ Vulgarians — [ vuhl-gair-ee-uh n ] noun an unrefined person, esp. one with newly acquired power or wealth.