American books are getting swearier


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/08/15/america-f-yeah.html


#2

I’m totally f’ing OK with it.


#3

On the one hand I have no objection to so-called swear words in literature. On the other hand, over-reliance on swears can be detrimental to more creative and original ways of expressing strong emotions.


#4

Tremendous volatility in c*nt. I wouldn’t put my money there.


#5

I’m always disappointed that there aren’t swear words I haven’t heard yet. Is this all there is?


#6

Agreed. Similarly, more explosions do not make a better action movie. I think it shows a lack of creativity.


#7

As foretold by Holden Caulfield.


#8

The seven shown on the BB front page are George Carlin’s Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.


#9

Interestingly, if you go back to 1500, the apparent frequency of “fuck” was pretty high there for a while. I think that had to do with how “s” looked in older fonts/typography. So a misreading of “suck”. https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=fuck&year_start=1500&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cfuck%3B%2Cc0


#10

I’m more curious in the smaller histories, like why the sudden spike in usage of c*cksucker in 1994?


#11

Wait, but didn’t we just learn that sweary people are perceived as more honest? I sense a gestalt here… if only I could… fuck, I can’t figure it out.


#12

Yes, those graphs are George’s seven words. But the graphs are in the wrong order.


#13

Drop f-bombs not A-bombs fuckers!


#14

I recall as a youth how shocking it was to encounter the F-word in “Life, The Universe, and Everything” by Adams. At the time I figured it was because the book was so old as to predate PC enthusiasm. Turns out I wasn’t reading the US edition. Wiki:

Possibly the most famous example of censorship is in Chapter 22, in which the UK edition mentions that the “Rory” is an award for “The Most Gratuitous Use of the Word ‘Fuck’ in a Serious Screenplay.” In the US edition, this was changed to “Belgium” and the text from the original radio series described “Belgium” as the most offensive word used in the galaxy.

This raises the question as to whether UK literature was swearier first and if that means that the UK has historically had more “value of individualism”.


#15

America just has a weird, infantilised relationship with language and the portrayal of sex that most other cultures in the west find strange. We always thought America valued individualism more though.


#16

Americans seem to have a serious collective psychological problem with swearing. Yes, swearing should not be part of everyday speech, but I was brought up to believe it has its place. It’s a form of vocabulary and its use requires skill and judgement just like the use of other words. Is this phobia about swear words some kind of Mayflower puritanical thing? Where does it come from?


#17

Wait, really? Why did the UK use Fuck instead of Belgium if the original radio series was also using Belgium?

Edit: Ahhhh, having done some quick research/ “Life, The Universe, and Everything” was initially written as a potential Dr Who storyline before being adopted into the third Hitchhiker’s book. The radio version came later and had be made ‘safe’ for broadcast and somewhere along the way Belgium just became the word substituted in both instances of censorship.

Edit edit: This all is fairly disappointing to me. The whole ‘Belgium’ and ‘only Earth could be so stupid to call a country this terrible word’ joke is great and its a let down to think that originally Adams had just outright used Fuck as the dirtiest word in the universe.


#18

Why does the y-axis on those charts has a negative territory?
This is about the amount of swear words in books.
How can that be a negative number?


#19

Featuring the infamous cunt surge of 1980 !


#20

‘Cunt’ and ‘tits’ aren’t just swearwords. Their rise could reflect increased readership of erotica.