View Full Version : Censorship and "Dirty Words"

Richard Lynch
June 19th, 2007, 5:49 AM
I've always been a fan of language and linguistics. I mean, I'll be speaking it for the rest of my life... why not take an interest in it? Anyways, one of the most interesting things when it comes to language in relation to social norms is the notion of "Dirty Words"; we all know then, we all are exposed to them, and some of us might actually use them. But as we know, they are blocked here at PC, and pretty much banned in general around here. Well, I promise you that the FCC of America is working on the same thing.

What do you guys think about this?

I feel "Bad Words" don't exist, per se... bad meanings; bad contexts, but no such thing as a bad word. Can a word, a combination of sounds, be considered inherently bad?

When I was a kid, I grew up with the idea (which was drilled into my head by parents, schools, and churches) that you should never use "dirty words". I used them anyways, of course, but it was only after I began thinking about the concept of them that I began working on ways to say dirty things without actually sounding dirty. And that's when I came up with this theory:

If you combine any noun and any verb, with a slight twist in tone, that combination can be considered "dirty". For example...

"Read the book."

Perfectly innocent phrase... in fact, it's something every school and parent wants their children to do! But what would happen if you put a slightly different tone on it, and used it in a different context? It would go something like this:

Bill: "Hey John, how'd your date with Cindy go last night?"
John: "Well, let's just say I 'read the book'.
Bill: "How was it?"
John: "Best book I ever read! Had a really good ending, too."

And if you want to take it further, add to that combination a prepositional phrase. Like:

"On the dirt road.":

Bill: "Hey John, how'd your date with Cindy go last night?"
John: "Well, let's just say I 'read the book on the dirt road'.
Bill: "How was it?"
John: "Best book I ever read! But that dirt road would just not end. I was reading all night."

Can that be considered dirty or filthy? There are no "dirty words" in it... but can it be that it's not the words used in a sentence, but the context in which they're used that makes the idea dirty? Is this something that would warrant my thread being closed, and me getting a warning? Maybe... but I, personally, am never one to "close the thread". ;)

Me question to all of you: do you agree with me? Do you feel that just dirty words are dirty, as if a God cursed the words? Or is it the idea behind the word that makes it dirty? I believe so...

But this isn't a rhetorical question, I want your input!

June 19th, 2007, 8:24 AM
Depends, a swear word to one person is a normal word for another.

For example, the 'N' word, for a black dude its a normal word, for a white dude its swearing and very offensive to black people.

But anyway, yeah, its the meaning to the word which makes it 'dirty'.

June 19th, 2007, 8:30 AM
We're taught that these words are bad from a young age, so it becomes ingrained into us that we shouldn't use them. I personally prefer to keep such words reserved, so that they have that much more impact when I actually use them.

Also, Rich, I don't understand your point? Uhh, yeah, if it uses innuendos like that then yeah, it's dirty, because it shares implications with words that are considered dirty. Is there any argument there?

Richard Lynch
June 19th, 2007, 2:04 PM
Also, Rich, I don't understand your point? Uhh, yeah, if it uses innuendos like that then yeah, it's dirty, because it shares implications with words that are considered dirty. Is there any argument there?

I'm saying, should "Read the book" when used in that context be just as banned as saying the "F" word? Means the same thing... proves that we live in a society where people believe you just can't say certain words. Express all the ideas you want, but watch your words. It's lunacy, I think.

I sensed a bit of hostility in your post? Maybe something else. You do know that there are actual lobbyists who try to get certain words made completely illegal, don't you? As in, you say them, and you get a fine or even arrested. Actually, that happens now, but the difference is that it's charged as assault.

June 20th, 2007, 6:59 AM
I agree...I feel it's not the word that's bad...it's the context...
If you yell the F-word because you just got kicked in the privates it's not a dirty word...
If you use it as an innuendo then yes, it's bad...
Same applies to all 'bad words'...

June 20th, 2007, 8:32 AM
The problem is, some people cannot understand the whole context (especially if they overhear a conversation), and get offended by it. Like my sister for instance.

"My Siege Tank is in Siege Mode, if you know what I mean"
Can just mean you put your Siege Tank into Siege Mode, or it can mean other things, depending on context. Yeah, that's about it from me. No real input here.

June 20th, 2007, 11:40 AM
I agree with you Richie. I try and explain this to other people as well... but in a different way. I call it my "Book Theory". It's funny how we both used the noun "book" in our examples. Anyways, this is what I always say if I feel that I need to explain myself in terms of "dirty words" to others. Although I don't think I worded that sentence correctly. xD Without any further ado, here is what I lecture others on:

Why do people consider "bad" words so bad? Who even came up with the idea that they were bad in the first place? I mean, if I went back in time to where people would believe anything they were told (including the Bible) I could say that the word "book" is a bad word and you'd go to "hell" if you said it too often or whatnot. And up to today, the majority of people would still be like that.

So you could say it's context... but even then.. I JUST DON'T CARE. A word is a word... who gives a fack? ;D

June 20th, 2007, 1:24 PM
I don't think any word can be bad unless used in certain context. Different societies deem different words as acceptable or not acceptable. For instance, the lead singer of the band MxPx once shouted Get in the mosh pit 'F' some 'S' up (for lack of better description)
Now, here in America, a lot of fans were appalled because Mike claims to be a Christian, but in whatever country they were touring at the time (I don't remember which) it wasn't condsidered offensive at all.
Any word when used to hurt someone is bad, and in that sort of context, then yes, 'swear words' are bad. But no worse than any other word. Calling someone a jerk is no less offensive the calling someone a ****head as far as I'm concerned.

June 20th, 2007, 9:18 PM
Actually, it sort of depends on the mind of the person listening as well as receiving and the person who is communicating as well. You can get the most innocent person you know and they probably wouldn't get the "Read the book" thing, or kohei's "if you know what I mean" one, because they wouldn't know how to interpret it as "dirty" due to some experiences that have not occurred yet in their lifetime. Children are the perfect example.

... ... and I'll "doctor" your "pepper." :P Overall, it really is just the context.

Captain Arcane
June 20th, 2007, 9:30 PM
All I know is that first post of yours made me laugh really hard! ^_^ LoL

June 28th, 2007, 1:11 AM
Well, swear words if you think about it, dont really mean anything. it was all because of an american politician that they are considered "bad". there is nothing wrong with them, its just the way other people view them.
also swear words have come around very innocently. such as words to do with the toilet have come from surnames from very important people who were first exposed to it.
and also a theory created by the all aussie movie "kenny" is that the s word was created when in the old days they used to transport the poo in great loads and in the compartments they had written on them Store High In Transit :D