It is often said that people who curse a lot lack imagination and they can’t come up with better words to describe what they are feeling, so they fall back on a swear. Many of us know that to not be true. Sometimes a good curse word will fit exactly what you’re trying to say perfectly. But for whatever reason, they are still frowned upon.
But who came up with the hierarchy of which words are bad. I mean really really bad. Why is a “hell” or “damn” acceptable in common conversation but people get squeamish around the f bomb. Why?! The degrees of swearing have been baffling to me for a good while. Especially now that the cartoons I watch curse more than a sumbitch, and I don’t even have love for Seth McFarlane (I think he sold his soul for Family Guy to come back and to get two of the exact same thing on after it). F/X gets away with the occasional “shit” from time to time. And have you seen Secret Stash on Comedy Central? They will air an entire movie uncensored (language) after midnight on the weekends. Not sure if they just pay the FCC fines or just get sponsors that will pay for it. But either way it happens.
The FCC is the government body set forth to regulate the broadcasting of the obscene, indecent, or profane. Hooray Puritans. You’re still winning after all these years. And although there is no actual list of things you can or can not say on TV or Radio, somehow things get more shit than others. These are the people that fined CBS for airing Janet’s boob and ruined the Superbowl shows for what feels like the rest of eternity. They are why there is a 5-second delay on live award shows and the West coast gets the edited version of what really goes down. (Not) So sorry California.
So I’ve decided to look up and see if my idea of the higher priced swear words are really worth it. I assume swear jars are in line with this principle a “damn” will cost you a dime where as a “f*ck” is more around a dollar.
- 1970 – Jerry Garcia cost a radio station $100 for uttering a string of profanities. Could they really be shocked by Jerry Garcia though?
- 1988 – a radio station was fined $2000 for playing the Prince song Erotic City which says “we can funk until the break of dawn, making love ‘till the cherry’s gone”. That’s dirty 1988? Give me a break. Oddly enough another station was fined for the same song in 1996.
- 1991 – Howard Stern cost his radio station $705K. For being Howard Stern. He has a running tab with the FCC.
- 2000 – A radio station played the unedited version of The Real Slim Shady and had to pay $7000 for it.
- 2010 – FOX was fined for an episode (I’m sure one of many) of American Dad that discussed horse ejaculation. $25000.
(see list here)
There is no rhyme or reason to the fines or how they are issued or what costs what or even who these watchdogs are that listen and watch EVERYTHING out there to tattle tell on people. Thanks a lot Flanders’.
But for whatever reason, I feel the order of cursing goes like this. Hell. Damn. Sh*t. Bitch. F*ck, and all its derivatives. The other swear words fall in some sort of gray areas from ones I just don’t say (like “c u next Tuesday”) to the “is that really a curse word” (see: piss).
I believe it is a necessary evil. A form of self-expression. And more testimate to my belief that words are very powerful things and should be used carefully. Especially when you’re on the radio.
And here, just in case you were somehow deprived of the brillance that is George Carlin (RIP), are the original 7 Words You Can’t Say bit
And the glorious Bernie Mac (RIP) on the word motherf*cker
What is your hierarchy of curse words? How much would you charge for a f bomb on your swear jar? Did you see the list of ridiculousness the government comes up with???
AND I’M OUT THIS MUTHAF*CKA
<<drops a dollar in the swear jar>>