**** – a four-letter word that’s enough to induce varying reactions: laughter, disgust, anger, shock, dismay, a punch to the face.
Profanity (swearing, if you will) is all around us. It’s a deeply complex and learned system of communication and, today, you’re going to find out all about it. Excited? So you ****ing well should be!
This week our FAQs participant is Claire Taylor (45). She’s a mother of 12 from Putney in London. She works part-time as a shop assistant for a shed design company.
Hi Professional Moron! It’s Claire. Can I put my baby carrier here? Thanks! Little Callum shit himself on the way over I just need to change his nappy.
That’s… must you do that here? Can you at least try to not get crap on our sofa!? It’s the only one we have.
Yeah, sure! I’ll try haha. Anyway, I want to learn more about swearing. I want to know where it all started!
Okay… God, office apprentice! Get the bloody windows open, ASAP, this stench, man! Jesus Christ!
Ah! Profanity right there. Blasphemous, even, I guess.
Yes, well there’s a difference between blasphemy, heresy, and obscenities.
Yeah, that crap sounds boring. So, Who was the first person to swear?
The first recorded instance of profanity was with early humans, when a caveman – and this bit is important – stubbed the big toe of his right foot on a rock. This caused him to announce, “Furk! Furking, furking, furk!” That was circa 100,000 years ago. A landmark moment in human discourse, if not history.
Oh okay, so “furk” went on to become…
Yes, that’s right, it was the basis for that most famous of swears: “bastard”.
Oh, it seems more in line with f…
“Flipping heck”? Yes, well we thought so, too. But our etymological research revealed otherwise.
Right. It’s just it really seems more suitable for fu…
“Fuddy duddy”? Yes, we agree. But, as previously indicated, and please stop making us repeat ourselves for furks sake, it’s actually “bastard”.
So that angry caveman actually said, “Bastard! Bastarding, bastarding, bastard!”?
Yes. Swearing was in its primitive phase during the Neolithic period of humanity, so you can’t expect it to be as sophisticated as it is nowadays. Take this example from Withnail and I.
Wow, that’s sweary. So is swearing all about anger and frustration?
A lot of the time, but it’s also a most complex beast. Say, for example, you get a Christmas present you really like. You might exclaim, “Jesus ****ing crapping Hell of a bollocks!” And that’s a moment of joy for you.
But you could then get the present in your arms, squeeze it with delight, but your jealous husband punches you in the face. To which you’ll say, “Furk! You total dickwod!” And you might then wrestle him to the floor and break his arm. Anger. Do you see the extent of the complexities?
Yeah, kinda like my son Jeremy Twisleton-Wykeham Taylor. He’s 10. And a bit of a handful. HAHAHAHAaaaa… aaaa… aaaaargghhhh!!
Why are you laughing/screaming like that?
Probably due to chronic stress brought about through lack of sleep. You try raising 12 kids with a no good husband who clears off to Bermuda to run a vegetable shop!
Well, it’s not really our fault you’ve had 12 kids, there is such a thing as contraception.
Ah, that’s good! Your anger has manifested itself into a profane outburst. One of the central tenets in the philosophy of swears.
Anyway, tell us about your children. Do they make you swear a lot?
Yes. All the ****ing time! The little bastards!
In your email to us applying for this FAQs session, you listed them as, in no structural order:
- Jeremy Twiselton-Wykeham Taylor (10).
- Burt Taylor (8).
- Sidney Poitier Taylor (5).
- Grace Arse Buttocks Taylor (12).
- Buboe Baggins Taylor (15).
- Fermenting Cabbage Taylor (18).
- Rupert Montgomery Beaumont “Bob” Taylor (3).
- Callum “Gangrenous Sore” Taylor (1).
- Preston McScurvy Death Taylor (7).
- Shit For Brains Taylor (20).
- Tosspot Taylor (22).
- All Men Are Bastards Taylor (25).
- Spartacus Taylor III (pending birth – ETA one month).
An unusual selection of names, there.
Thank you. I love them all – they are my world.
How do you deal with profanity around them? Many parents seek to protect their young ones from harsh language until their later years.
Well furk that! I had them learning their f-bombs before they were five! Teach ’em young. Ensures they can land a punch on some little shit’s face if they so much as look funny at them in class.
Right. That’s a combative approach to life.
You bet! So what’s with swearing on this site? do you need the “*#@*” stuff? Aren’t you adult enough to handle the swear?
That’s a grawlix. It’s a way to cover up particularly nasty obscenities. As this is a family-friendly website, we like to hide the ones that could cause serious offense.
Well, such as *@#**, ****ing, *&#*, ****ing, **@#* off you **** #%&*ing ****, and ****.
Huh. As a parent I’m not offended by that. So, then, what about… oh, hang on, baby Callum just vomited on your floor. Sorry about that.
Oh for ****s sake!
Don’t swear in front of my baby, you ****ing bastards!
Furk you, you furking furker!
I didn’t come here to be spoken to like that! Apologise immediately!
Furk off! We didn’t invite you here to have your kid vomit on our floor. Clean it up. NOW!
Right… THAT IS IT!! Jeremy Twiselton-Wykeham, Tosspot, and Shit For Brains. Get in here NOW!
Oh, God, which ones were they again? She’s fired out so many it’s impossible to keep up.
Fired out!? What do you take me for, you disrespectful ****s! I’m ensuring the survival of the human race!
Yeah, well, with seven billion people and counting on this planet we’d argue otherwise.
[Jeremy Twiselton-Wykeham, Tosspot, and Shit For Brains enter the property glowering] Right, boys! That one there. Him! [Pointing at esteemed Professional Moron editor Mr. Wapojif] Take him out.
Take me out? Look, I’m not gay, sorry, I’m not going on a date with your sons. I particularly don’t want you as my mother-in-law as well, should it lead to marriage.