…funk for the old soul…

Upgrade Your &@$# Language

Posted by crowbiz on June 3, 2009


and think

and think

We really need to brush up our insults. (Or, in one of the most dreaded phrases I often encounter when grading ostensibly college level papers:  “We as a society need to brush up our insults.”  Usually there’s a meaningless, bloated follow-up sentence about “helping” children or the mentally disabled, even if it’s a statistics class.)


OK, let me say it this way.  If everyone is a fucking moron, then no one is a fucking moron.

Call me a nit-picker, but I require some specificity.  What kind of fucking moron?  The kind who goes through stop signs in residential neighborhoods?  The kind who leaves their toddlers home alone when running out on an errand?  Or the kind who uses a hair dryer in the shower?  There are oh so many ways to be a fucking moron, so you must clarify. It would be as if, when someone asks what you do for a living, you reply, “I’m a worker.”  Fucking morons like that throw the words around carelessly, dilute any impact, and blow it for the rest of us.

I still do this unfunny ploy to my students when urging them to proofread and shape up their writing.  With fake-earnest excitement, I announce that there are two great new tools that can drastically improve their writing – instantly!  I talk it up for a few minutes, saying how easy these wonder products are to use and that they will change their writing, and if used properly, have the potential to make it better permanently.  Their eyes grow bigger, the silence deepens as they wait for my big announcement.  Some are thinking how much they will have to shell out.  Some wonder if they can download it before the paper is due.  Some even stop texting.  

Then the denouement… “They are called a ‘dictionary’ and ‘your brain.'”  Faces of puzzlement.  No one even scoffs at me or laughs.  Not even an eye roll.  A few will write it down.  Most go back to texting.

Along with our friend the dictionary is our pal the thesaurus.  Very soon it will become mandatory reading in this household, as I’m so weary of hearing the brotherly insult, “You’re a poo.”  It would be music to my ears if someday I could even overhear, “You’re an encopretic emmission.”  Just once.  

Growing up, my siblings and I got in our share of insults, but strictly verboten in the Wannemacher household were insults to intelligence.  Words like stupid, dummy, idiot, and the like had Mom reaching for the soap (woe if she was within striking distance of the Lava instead of the Dial).  Those insults are mean, but their greater fault is that they are achingly common, and Mom, a ninja crossword puzzler, probably found the latter more objectionable than the former.  I try to make the point with my boys that if you’re going to use insults or complaints, don’t be prosaic, and more importantly, don’t embarrass me by public uses of plebeian language.  

Particularly rankling to me are occurrences of “butt” and “butthead.”  “Bum-cephalic” is fine, as would be “tete de derriere,” but change like that is hard to come by.  For a while, they came up with “cashew” as an all-purpose curse, as in “What the cashew’s going on in here?!” but it fell out of favor quickly.  It has a couple of the hard sounds of “fuck” or “shit,” but the image of a little, beige, curved nut sort of ruins the angry emphasis. 

Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not in any way pleading for cleaner language or avoiding the use of all fuck-derivatives, or intellectual slanders.  Sometimes you need to employ them;  I’m just advocating more creativity.  Instead of the boring lament, “Dude, that sucks” you might try, “Dude, that’s a shitwurst sandwich.”

So cast aside your fucking morons, unless you’re an addle-brained frat boy, in which case, you probably have a medical excuse from your neurologist.  And next time that mother-copulating decorticoid speeds down my street, I’m going to shout it from the porch, if I can get all the syllables out before he blows the stop sign, too.


7 Responses to “Upgrade Your &@$# Language”

  1. JD said

    I can’t quite forget that episode of Cheers, when Norm was checking out this attractive but volatile girl at the bar. She turned around and said, “what are you looking at, endomorph?” He didn’t know what it meant, but he knew it probably wasn’t good.

  2. Blair Boone said


  3. Crystal said


    Re: Fucking morons- as my fiance explains it, anyone that isn’t involved in the present conversation, is, at that moment, a fucking moron. Family and close friends usually (but not always) excluded.

    (FTR, As a student returning to finish my degree after a ten-year hiatus, I’m SHOCKED at the volume of texting that goes on in class…it just didn’t happen in “my day”. Whatever that means.)

  4. jonathan mcraney said

    agree to much of text tweeting about everything in college

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