What’s up with the ‘F-word’?

Published: 7/20/2018 3:32:42 PM
What’s up with the ‘F-word’?

To the editor:

The “F-word.” Some say Chaucer gave the word its start and it has come a long way since then, valued as a verb, adverb and noun. Usage originally ascribed to sailors and coarse persons it found a literary foothold in the first half of the 20th Century with Henry Miller, e.e. cummings, William Burroughs and it caused a lot of bother for Lady Chatterly. One might say the word has been trending since then.

The 60’s moved it along and strengthened its appeal to the middle classes. By the 70’s it could be heard in fancy boardrooms and elegant law offices, spoken often with a frisson such as one might feel sharing an elevator with Whitey Bulger, who of course, is very familiar with the word. Even nice women were starting to use it!

But not everyone has been a supporter. The city of Middleboro, Massachusetts, troubled by the vulgarity and noise of youth on street corners, in 2012 voted to fine profanity, but it was quickly repealed by the force of the First Amendment and the Attorney General. When in June 2004, then Vice President Dick Cheney said to Patrick Leahy, Senator from Vermont, “go f yourself” on the floor of the United States Senate, he was neither suspended for a week nor did he lose his ID badge granting access to the Capitol complex.

By now, according to movers and shakers, movies, music, and other media, while not quite the mot du jour, “F” has arrived. I’m sure the offending young intern has heard it a lot around campus and thought it cool. Her punishment is a serious correction for her and it is unlikely she will err again in that fashion. As of this writing the “F-word” is the second favorite bad word on Facebook. Go figure .

Camilla Lockwood


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