The heroine of my work in progress is an agoraphobic mage and a native New Yorker. She has a lot of pent of rage and she swears quite a bit. Some of this is the habit of lifetime, and some of it is a way to express a visceral feeling without losing herself so completely that she sets fire to New York City.
|James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on HBO. A swearing king.|
I’m also a native New Yorker, and I swear a lot, too. Since having children, I’ve mended my ways a bit (only a bit) and I’m pretty sure my kids think, “Dude!” is a terrible word, because it’s what I say when someone cuts me off in traffic now. This is a far cry from the two word phrase I used to use, which referenced the sucking of male genitalia and things one shouldn’t do with one’s mother.
Personally, I love swearing. Maybe it wouldn’t matter to me so much if gutteral cries of rage were in vogue, but people seem to expect us to use language--except--if I’m in the middle of a totally non-rational state of pissedoffedness (my word, you’re welcome to use it) then the last thing I’m up for is a little rational debate.
So how do you feel about swearing? Does it bother you? What about in fiction or in films? I feel like there are people who swear and people who don’t, so I’m cool with characters being true to themselves, but I also don’t write Young Adult books or make children’s movies.
Is swearing the failure to make full use of language, the last refuge of the irrational mind, a bad habit? Or is it a fun part of the language which allows us to express ugly feelings?
You tell me.