Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

Happy Swearing

I fucking love well-used profanity.

Billy Wilder said (in his talks with Cameron Crowe) that on the set of Sabrina, Audrey Hepburn, luminous and wonderful Audrey Hepburn, would swear to break tension on set. One time on my newspaper job, I picked the exact correct time to say to my editor, while making sure no members of the public were in the office at the time, "I thought you said you were fucking done." Shit, the laughs I got were liberating.

It turns out my parents are both profanity appreciators, Dad because of 26 years in the Navy and Mom because she's a smartass, but when I was growing up they were very careful not to swear around me or my brother. I got in trouble for quoting from the science fiction film The Final Countdown, set on a Naval aircraft carrier, after I'd learned parts of the film well enough to recite them; after that, when I wasn't sure if a word was a Bad Word or not, I'd write it down (I hope I spelled them correctly, but I don't remember) to show to Mom and ask if that was OK to say or not OK to say. In grown-up times, I've been treated to Dad loudly reciting from Deadwood, so swearing to them and hearing them swear is allowed. (They love The Wire, too; they have the series DVD box set.)

But we don't swear too much. We all feel it can be far overused. (Or as I have seriously said, "Profanity is really fucking overrated.") So often people seem to swear without thinking, so that it becomes noise, and I don't want profanity to become noise. It takes over-overuse for overused profanity to start to "sing" again: read a transcript of Frank Oz -- FRANK MOTHERFUCKING "VOICE OF YODA AND FOZZIE" OZ -- as he swears almost every third word. Seriously. It's jaw-dropping beauty, hearing Oz drop F-bombs like skin flakes.

Damn it (or is "dammit" better?), I want to use profanity well. I want to enjoy it. I want it to have flavor, to have punch. I want it like the finale of South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut where profanity SAVES THE WHOLE MOTHERFUCKING WORLD. That -- THAT -- is good use for it.

I'll keep practicing it.

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