I have been reading quite a few blogs lately on the subject of profanities in posts.

Some bloggers like to keep their posts clean, presumably not wishing to offend anyone.

Some bloggers are as profane as possible, presumably wishing to offend everyone.

My personal attitude is to write as I speak. Well, maybe I tone it down a bit. and for the sake of sensibilities, I might pepper it with a few asterisks.

I am the type of person who, if I drop a lump-hammer on my foot is as likely to roar ‘shit’, ‘fuck’ or ‘Jayzus’ as anyone. Somehow, in that circumstance, ‘fiddle-de-dee’ doesn’t quite do it for me. Similarly if I get annoyed at someone, I’m unlikely to call him ‘an annoying person’.

The Irish are good at swearing. We have refined it to a fine art. It is overdone amongst the youth who tend to pepper every sentence with as many ‘fucks’ as they can squeeze in [“Fuck, Jacinta, did yiz fuckin’ see yer man’s fuckin’ arse? He only fuckin’ gorgeous”].

What confuses visitors to Ireland though is that sometimes an apparent profanity can be a compliment. If someone referred to me as a ‘nice ould bollix’ I would feel complimented. On the other hand, if they referred to me as ‘only an ould bollix’ I would thump them. Context is vital.

I was asked yesterday “is bollix as offensive in Ireland as fuck?“. The answer is again, it depends on context. Both are offensive to those that are easily offended, but both are words in very common use. In fact the same person – Going Like Sixty – makes a point similar to my own line of thinking.

‘Catch Her in the Wry’ makes a similar point. She starts by chastising profane authors, but relents in a follow up after getting some feedback.

There are limits in my book though. The one word I do not like, for some reason is ‘cunt’. Maybe I’m being prudish [some will say hypocritical], but I just don’t like it. ‘Twenty Major‘ has made a virtue out of the word. He is a good writer, and just about gets away with it. Unfortunately, there are a load of wannabe Twenties out there who think that by calling everyone a cunt that they will be as good a writer as he is. They are best ignored. Twenty actually does a swear count in a book he is writing, which seems to prove a point [somewhere].

That’s enough for now. I’m mentally bollixed after writing this, and I’m fucked if I’m going to write any more.

And if you don’t like it, you can feck off.

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Do not read if you're easily offended — 19 Comments

  1. Grandad,

    I think there are class/cultural/religious/age differences in the use of language. I think Dublin people swear much more than Belfast people!

    As someone who is not supposed to swear at all, (Canon 33 of our canon law) I would try to avoid it.

    The problem is that certain words were once associated with expressions of real anger. Now the kids outside of Tesco in Ballybrack have hardly any other words. If they have used up the entire vocabulary of anger, what are they left with to express extreme emotions?

  2. Ian – I am not a sweary person by nature and hope I can hold an intelligent conversation without resorting. However, I find myself lapsing whenever I get annoyed or frustrated, which tends to happen a lot at my age. Words like ‘Bertie’ and ‘SUV’ just have to have some sort of prefix!

    It does annoy me though that swearing is so much part of the parlance of modern youth.

    Nancy – replacing an entire word with symbols means that I am mentally replacing same symbols with worse words than you probably intended.

    I’m ashamed of you. Nay, shocked.

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for clearing that up for me. I would never use c*** either. I don’t hear it used – even in the crudest of male gatherings I’m around. Wonder if that word will work its way into use?
    I’ll check out “Twenty Major.”

  4. Nancy – There’s no backing out now. We all now know you have a mind like a cess-pool 😉

    Sixty – If the C word offends you, you might want to think twice about visiting Twenty!

  5. As a foul-mouthed Dubliner myself, I’m not easily offended. Even by Twenty Major’s, eh, catchphrase. But I do agree that it’s a shame to hear young kids (and not just around Ballybrack!) cramming as many F-words as possible into every sentence that leaves their lips.

    If I’d done that at their age, I’d have had the fuckin’ head slapped off me.

  6. Ballybrack is where I live, so is the only place I can comment on with certainty! I’m sure it’s as bad elsewhere.

    I grew up in a council house and I find it sad that working class people are reduced to monosyllables. I remember when the Daily Mirror, which was read by both sets of my grandparents, was a serious paper. My dad has the VE Day edition. I’m told The Sun has a working vocabulary of 900 words.

    Think of all the Working Men’s Institutes and Reading Rooms there used to be – something got lost somewhere.

  7. I didn’t relent. My tongue was in my cheek at the time I wrote the second post. Profanity doesn’t offend me, but I know very few people who use a great deal of profanity that are successful in life (and I don’t necessarily mean monetarily).

  8. Welcome Catch! [or do I call you Prairie? I’m confused] And my apologies for misspelling the name of your blog [since rectified].

    Maybe you didn’t relent, but you softened your stance a bit?

    My take on all the above is that I am profoundly sad at the level of profanity on the street. And it is not just from the children, but from their parents, as well.

    However, what saddens me also is the level of profanity in the blogosphere. I have no objection to the odd cuss word thrown in where the content demands it, or where it is appropriate in the context of the post. I hold my hand up and plead guilty to that one myself.

    I am aware that words have different meanings and that sensibilities differ across the globe. I have discovered that the C word is gravely offensive outside Ireland [and in this house]. However, I suppose in a blog like mine, which is reflective of my thought processes and of daily life here, the odd swear word has to creep in!

    Incidentally, I’m reading a book by Tom Sharpe at the moment [one of my favourite authors] and Herself keeps giving out because I insist on laughing out loud. He is one author who can use profanity to great effect 🙂

  9. Daz – Seeing as swearing was the whole point of the post [and note the title], I made an exception in this case. I shall revert to my old prudish ways now…

    Liam – Twenty’s is a car crash site. You know you shouldn’t look, but you can’t help yourself. He’s a damn good writer. Pity about the language.

  10. I was in an office the other day where the supervisor had not only a very foul mouth but she thought she covered it by replacing the first letter of each swear word. She told me she was ‘bucking’ upset at one of her employees and he was a full of bhit.
    Personally I thought she was a Right Bunt!

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