Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.
“Fuck” used to be a great word. It was a beautiful, poetic way to describe joyfully defiling and banging the holy bejeezus out of someone you normally wouldn’t care for, or whom normally wouldn’t care for you. It was also a fierce, intense insult aimed at only the vilest of enemies.
Telling someone to “Go fuck a pole” used to mean something. It meant you wanted that person to physically thrust their erect penis headlong into a pole, preferably with a running start, and injure themselves in the worst of ways. Now it’s just another generic insult, thrown out for every mild offense.
Someone honks their car horn? “Fuck you.” The waiter forgets to bring additional napkins? “That stupid fucker”. Your grandmother casually mentions she doesn’t care for NCAA basketball? “Fuck that bitch.” Fuck, fucker, fucking, fucked, fuckety fuck fuck fuck fuck. All the time! Every day! Whether I’m at work or out on the street, all I hear is “fuck this, fuck that, fuckity fuckity fuck”. Enough!
“We went to this great fucking store the other day.” No you didn’t. You went to Target. A “fucking store” would be a business so terrible that you had diarrhea when you left, or were treated like an AIDS victim with a nosebleed. Stop trying to slip the word “fuck” into every single sentence. You’re killing it. You’re killing the word that is most dear to my heart, because it describes the two things I love most: Unclassy sex and brutal hatred.
Every time you overuse and ruin these highest levels of profanity, we have to think up new curse words to signify the extremity of our unhappiness. If I get really upset, I have to settle for absurd insults like “pig fucker”. Really? “Pig fucker”? As a boy, if my father had shown his unhappiness by calling me a “pig fucker”, I would not have taken him as seriously as I did when he said, “You mow that lawn right fucking now.” There’s no comparison.
And don’t get me started on the overuse of the middle finger. Giving someone the finger is so commonplace now that I’m surprised cashiers don’t do it as you leave McDonald’s. “Here’s your order. Have a nice fucking day. (Smiles and flips the bird as the customer leaves)“.
We don’t have much extreme profanity left. The only insult I can think of that still freaks people out is “cunt”. Thank goodness for that wonderfully powerful word. If I get dumped by a girlfriend, it’s nice to know that right before I slam the door, I still have something to yell out that will send her into a fit of unbridled rage.
But how long will it last? Twenty years ago, calling someone a bitch would get you a slap in the face so hard that even God would feel the vibrations. Now the word “bitch” barely even gets an eyeroll as the insulted person scoffs and walks away. In 10 or 20 years, “cunt” might be an affectionate term for a girlfriend, like “bitch” is now.
Todd: “Hey guys, this is my bitch Tina.”
Rod: “Damn, bitch. You’re beautiful!”
Tina: “Aww, stop it guys. I’m blushing!”
I’m not sure when our society lost its way with curse words. Perhaps the change started in the 1960s when hippies made t-shirts okay to wear on weekdays, or in the 1980s when khaki pants became a staple of casual businesswear. Well I’ll tell you something, reader. I’m all for casual clothing, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let casual profanity ruin the power of my favorite word “fuck”. It’s time to save our precious words. I love fuck. I want fuck back. Let’s all work a little harder to make fuck classy again.