I really find it irksome when people use the phrase ‘foul language’ or the ultimate ‘snob’ remark, “Can you not have sensible conversations without using rude words?” I am incensed by such people who think they should be the arbiters of good manners and my spoken word.
I cringe when I hear “I am no prude but I do think it is good to be able to express yourself without resorting to ‘foul’ language”. This is the height of snobbery because they use incorrect grammar while pretending to be something they are not, genteel ladies and gentlemen. What they really mean is ‘bad’ language. ‘Foul’ is far too strong a word, ‘bad’ is more than adequate.
We are not allowed to use certain words because they are insulting and derogatory but if we want to insult someone then ‘insulting and derogatory’ words are exactly the words you need to use.
Yes it is good to express yourself without resorting to ‘bad’ language but in all honesty it just doesn’t have the same momentum. Recently I called someone a ‘pompous arse’ who was trying to lord it over me and make out that being as he was a Social worker he was better than me. He came back with a poncey ‘nasty man – no bad words used’. Now say it out loud and tell me what sounds more of an insult ‘Pompous arse’ or ‘Nasty man’ . Nasty man while not necessarily the nicest thing you can say to a bloke is not exactly an insult it is simply descriptive. ‘Pompous arse’ is a proper put down especially when referring to a part-time Social worker.
I love a good swear. That has nothing to do with my inability to use words that you find acceptable, (read my work here) but more to the point that sometimes they really are the only words that fit the situation! If you think any the less of me because I said this then you too are a pompous arse. I have mixed with princes and paupers and can hold my own with them all.
Shakespeare said ‘fuck’ ‘shit’ and I think he said ‘bollix’ and a whole host of other words that we will find in the dictionary. It is not the job of the lexicographer to dictate to us how to use words, they are merely collectors of information. We the people determine how words are used, if ‘f**k off you twat’ fits the bill then it is the right thing to say. The lexicographer is duty bound to record that as an acceptable usage, be it good manners or bad.