By Youssef Sourgo
By Youssef Sourgo
Morocco World News
Casablanca, December 5, 2012
“Why do some people use bad words?” is a question that has crossed my mind today. I have noticed that most people I know curse for trivial reasons. They curse to make their point; they curse or use bad words to joke; they curse to emphasize a statement or to disapprove of another – basically, they speak “cursing language.”
What struck me most considerably was the fact that some of my female friends, more than any other male friends in the group, use bad words exorbitantly. I know some might argue against this statement, but I think language has a weighty percentage in defining girls and women’s degree of feminism. I assert that men curse justifiably, though unconsciously.
Most theorists of communication buttress the claim that men and women speak differently. According to theorists, women are more concerned with establishing a connection and maintaining strong ties via communication – this elucidates why cursing for women is relatively against their communicational motif. Men, on the other hand, are concerned with status – that is, they attempt to maintain or to elevate their status, through a straightforward, conflict-based topic and sometimes battle-like style of communication. This demystifies men’s use of cursing language.
Yet, I still cannot discern the inclusion of bad words in dictionaries. This does nothing but accouter this language with some sort of illegitimate importance. Admittedly, we cannot overlook the existence of curse words in our language. An objective study of language prompts us to put opinions on this issue aside when deciding about whether or not a word has to be inserted in a dictionary.
Nonetheless, allowing these unsavory terms to figure on books and dictionaries aimed at children is untenable. “How To Eat Fried Worms” by Thomas Rockwell, is a blatant example. I only needed to read a couple pages from this story to extrapolate why such work has been receiving harsh avalanches of reprobating criticism.
I once tried to make up the essence of this issue diving out of personal reflection to the real life. I asked a friend of mine, who is ‘well-accredited’ for telling the most hilarious jokes, but also the “dirtiest,” as some favor qualifying them. “Why do all your jokes have to contain bad words?” I asked. The rest of my friends, male and female, responded in unison, as if they had been anticipating my query, “Because they are the funniest!”
Are we really compelled to go ‘dirty’ in our jokes to elicit laughter from others? If so, what is next?
I do not recall hearing that the brightest minds in history had to curse to make their point or to bulwark their revolutionary ideas. I do not recall that all the most hilarious comedians started their careers making ‘dirty jokes’ about government. So what is the point?
I myself, once upon a time, was part of this “cursing-speech community,” as I dub them, but at a certain moment of my life, I had to think about this a bit more critically. I stopped for a minute and I wondered, “Hey, dirty mind, let’s try spending one or two days without cursing and see what happens then!” I did it, and guess what: nothing happened! No one lost his/her job or life; I did not lose a friend or make a new foe; I did not lose any money; I was not punched by any of my friends for doing so. On the contrary, I felt an emerging respect emanating from their side towards me. They started respecting me not for shortly banning their favored language from my repertory, but rather for resisting to a temptation to which they could not.
Realizing that cursing was so nugatory and pointless, I decided to keep refraining from using it, and keep resisting to the temptation of telling a dirty joke or blurting out a naughty comment. I am still alive and in good shape. I win almost all arguments with those who curse to make their claims sound. Yet when I lose an argument with these people, then it is only because of their incessant use of cursing words. My ears have become so incompatible and discrepant with that unsavory discourse.
Dear reader who identifies himself/herself with the speech community described in this article: imagine that these bad words become so recurrent in your conversations and that you become so addicted to their use that you use them all across the board, regardless of who is standing before you. It could be your friend, your professor, your parents or your child. You do not want to live like this, do you?
Edited by Laura Cooper