Monday, July 02, 2007

Fuck (in) the civilized discourse

So, I say "fuck" a lot. Like, a lot a lot. I also say shit, damn, hell, motherfucking bitch cunt. Of course, I understand that there is a time and a place for cussing but I'm of the opinion that most people vastly underestimate this time and place.

I don't cuss when I'm making a formal presentation at work, or in front of my boss's boss. I don't spend a lot of time around kids but in deference to parents, I do curb my inclination to cuss around children. However, if I was to raise children(s) I wouldn't feel the need to protect them from four letter words.

It's not that I don't appreciate the power of words. In fact, I spend quite a lot of time thinking about it. I make a genuine effort to eradicate "he" as the default; it's layperson, not layman; it's humankind, not mankind. Douche is an acceptable insult because douching in the very epitome of the patriarchy at work. Cunt is not an acceptable insult, however it's a damn good term of endearment from one female to another.

But(t, ass, tits, bazoombahs) if I hear one more person (and by person I mean man) sniff about "sullying the discourse with crude language" or some such shit, I swear I will go coprolalia on their ass.

It's fine if you don't want to cuss but god damnit, sometimes when people get passionate about something they drop an F bomb or five. Does that make their argument less valid? No. Are you trying to exclude them based on, frankly, classist grounds? I would have to say, hell yes!

For hundreds of years, white men have been saying that only they are educated, intelligent, objective, unemotional enough to discuss and decide. Conveniently, this excludes anyone from a working class back ground, anyone with brown skin, anyone with a vagina, really anyone who doesn't present like all the classy white men talking about how great and smart they are. I say Fuck. That. Shit.

I say, get passionate. Be articulate in your own damn way, whether cussing or not. And if anybody tells you that you aren't good enough because you say shit? Say fuck the Man!


Adam said...

Cock! Balls!

timidvenus said...

well, you have a point, e. you definitely have a point. its funny though, i read your whole post thinking 'there has to be some funny, but true, quip that i can come up with to show that youre not totally right', but i cant think that hard. actually, it reminded me (for some reason, i dont know) about the womens studies class i took in college and how on the first day when the (female) teacher had us go around the room stating our names and majors, she stopped at me to ask questions (i was the only chem major). 'oh, what do you plan to do with that major?' to which i replied i wanted to teach high school until i had children, then stay home with them as long as i could afford to. she couldnt believe i was serious, like motherhood was totally a waste of time, regardless of the fact that i WANTED to be a mom, but whatever.

well, that and that i have been telling woody that we need to stop cussing in front of the kid all the time. whatever, i guess its okay to write that shit was her first word, right?

Ann Thrope said...

I'm not sure I understand the first part (i.e., a funny but true quip) of your comment Sara but I'm going to try and respond anyway.

If I understand your meaning, the funny but true quip would prove that there is a time when cussing devalues the conversation?

If that's your meaning, then I absolutely agree with you. I do understand how powerful (and hurtful) it can be to call somebody a piece of shit. However I don't see this as inherently part of the use of the word "shit"; it is the hurtful intent that taints the discourse.

On the other hand, if I said "I just ate a shitload of bagel bites" then I don't really see how this is any different than be saying "I ate a very large number of bagel bites." There is no hurtful intent in my word usage, I'm merely making use of a particular diction that I find comfortable.

Honestly, it concerns me that people quite often feel the need to find some flippant way to prove me wrong when it comes to my feminism posts. Granted, I'm all for flippancy (obviously) and I enjoy ironically taking on caricature of the man-hating feminazi, occasionally.

But (and I'm not saying you do, I'm on a tangent now) I do find it disconcerting that the assumption is: I hold these opinions because I am a feminist. And not the other way around: I am a feminist because I hold this opinions (a more accurate characterization I believe).

More succinctly, it's unfortunate that demolishing the stereotypical feminist with a pithy one liner is seen as adequate response to generally well thought out feminist arguments.

Again, I'm not accusing you of this Sara, and I sincerely hope you don't take this the wrong way. But I do feel this post and your comment provide an excellent opportunity for me to enjoy the sound of my own voice.

As for your Woman's Studies teacher. I wasn't there and I certainly can't speak for her, however I don't think that she's devaluing motherhood so much as encouraging examination of motivation. It's not that being a stay at home mom isn't a great thing to be, if that's what you want to be, but it's also something that society has pushed (and often continues to push) on women. In my opinion, it doesn't devalue motherhood to remember that our choices are not made in a vacuum but are often (to varying degrees) influenced by society.

Or maybe I'm reading your teacher's intent all wrong and really she's a big, fat, asshole. You know, either way.

Ann Thrope said...

Wow, that was a really long comment where I used a lot of words. I must be very smart or something.

Again, I really hope I didn't come across as singling you out or anything and I would feel really bad if you took my comment as an attack on you. I'm not and it's not and I definitely am not implying you haven't already examined the choices you made/make. It's more just some general observations on things you brought up.

todd said...

from one extremely intelligent person to the other, i thought i should let you know that your shit fucking cracks my ass up.

i'd subscribe to my heart's content, swimming in a sea of glorious syntax, but i don't have a blog and don't necessarily plan on starting one.

anyway, fucking kudos to you motherfucker.

Ann Thrope said...

Fuckin' A Todd, fuckin' A.

todd said...

i created a blog on a whim. perhaps it was a horrible idea.

timidvenus said...

okay. i read your comments a couple of days ago, and i so would never be offended or feel like you were singling me out. i have it on my list of things to do this week to comment back. but i am super glad for the 'getting my thoughts going' post you put up.