Just a heads up – if you get offended by profanity you might want to skip this one.
I’m not sure if it’s something that we will go back to in a post-covid world or another thing that’s permanently changed but in the old days, we used to have to park our cars and stand in line in cafeterias and gymnasiums to collect children after school. It was mostly a time of awkward small talk and staring at the floor but playdates were also arranged, birthday party invites extended and parent friendships strengthened.
It was also sometimes a time for tattling. One day after collecting the children from first grade one of Alaina’s best friends immediately felt the need to tell me that my daughter had sworn at her during recess. Before even having the chance to investigate further my little angel turned to her, looked her dead in the eye and said “f*ck you, Summer.”
I recently finished watching something called “History of Swear Words” on Netflix, a series narrated by Nicholas Cage and obviously inspired by my post what makes a swear a swear? It was somewhat amusing, comedians such as Sarah Silverman, Nick Offerman and Nikki Glaser having some funny things to say. Some of the revelations by linguists and historians were interesting and there was some stuff that I hadn’t heard or thought about before.
I also found it interesting what words the series considered swears. F*ck, shit and bitch are no-brainers I guess, but I found it odd that they used the D and P words when describing male and female anatomy. I wouldn’t use them in public but I think that the C words that can be used instead are more generally considered offensive.
I also found it strange that the last episode was based around the word damn, a seemingly anti-climactic end. Maybe it was a victim of editing for time constraints or they lost the thread of thought that had been started but what I found one of the more interesting moments of the entire six episodes was a comment almost apologizing for including the word in the series and the statement that what is considered a swear is constantly changing, that within the near future there would be a shift towards personal slurs and attacks being more taboo than body functions or synonyms for copulation.
It’s something that I think warranted more than a passing thought. Some may mock this new era of “wokeness” or the proliferation of “snowflakes” but I’m of the impression that the younger generation being more inclusive and mindful of each other’s feelings is a good thing. I think that society developing zero tolerance for racial slurs or derogatory words regarding sexual orientation or developmental disabilities is a positive trend. People are always going to find ways to insult one another but maybe it’s time to get more creative and not use comparisons to other people just trying to be who they are.
My daughter has been limping towards the finish line on this school year a little bit, the transition back to full-time in-person learning relatively smooth but not overly appreciated. Her motivation has been hard to keep where it should be and there’s been some recent drama with a few other girls in her class that have me unsure of what I’m going to get when I ask her how her day was.
It’s partly because of this drama, mostly because she’s earned the benefit of the doubt, that I believed her when she told me about a trip to the principal’s office she had to take after a classmate accused her of calling him a retard. It’s not a word that I have heard her use, not one that she is even aware of as far as I know.
Another point in her favor was that I heard about the incident from her. There was no call home or message from the school. It made me wonder if that would have been the case if the accusation was different. If she had called another kid an assh*le would there have been any notice?
It led to a conversation that I probably didn’t handle quite the way I should have. We talked about what words we are allowed to say and why we aren’t allowed to say others. We talked about inclusion and why it is wrong to ever make anybody feel bad about who they are, even if it’s by accident or by using derogatory words directed at other people that still hurt.
We even talked a little bit about how sometimes people, even kids, can be assh*les, but we need to try not to call them that because it’s still a word that can get us in trouble, even if it’s just for now.
I think that there are new swear words now and that I care a lot more about her not saying them than I do about the old ones. If she calls a little boy at the park a f*ckface there will still be repercussions but they will be worse if she calls him a fag. It’s way too late to keep her from hearing one F word but maybe it’s also way past time that we reevaluate what F words we consider off-limits.
Previously Published on thirstydaddy.com