Saturday, July 18, 2009

Work In Progress

This is a really rough work that started because of a school assignment and we will see where it goes

That Is Definitely a Versatile Word

It has traditionally been one of the most taboo words in the American English language. There are countless variations and uses for the word, although until recently those uses have remained largely untapped. Once considered to be one of the most shocking swear words, the “F” word has recently begun to carve its own unique niche in American English. There is a famous scene in the 1999 Troy Duffy movie “The Boondock Saints” where the bumbling character Rocco gets rattled by his friends who have played a practical joke on him and he launches into this tirade:

“What did you do?! Fuckin'... what

the fuckin' fuck! Who the fuck, fucked

this fuckin'? fuck. How did you two

fuckin', fucks?......... FUCK!!!”

To which his friend replied, “That certainly illustrates the diversity of the word” (Duffy). This word transformed from a rarely spoken taboo word to one that was used over 260 times in the movie “The Big Lebowski.” This over-use of the word has allowed it to develop beyond being a mere exclamation into a noun, verb, adjective, and adverb. These different lexical items of the word “fuck” will be explored within this paper. Once each lexical use of the word is explained, it should, “certainly [illustrate] the diversity of the word.”

To get a firm grasp on the usage of the word as well as the connotations and ideas surrounding it. I pulled together ten friends from different realms of university life to form a panel to discuss the F-word. They asked that their names be withheld from the paper, but would allow their gender and words to be cited.

The first use of the word “fuck” refers to the actual act of copulation such as “I caught them fucking.” When asked what the word meant in the context of the phrase “I would like to fuck her” all of those interviewed agreed that the sentence expressed the desire of the speaker to have sex with the ambiguous her. One student offered the alternate, but unlikely, interpretation that the speaker’s desire was to bring strife into “her” life.

Although they all agreed that it was referring to the act of having sex, the deeper implications of that act were very diverse. One student (male) said that the connotations of the word in the context of that sentence implied an unabashed act that neither party felt ashamed of. He said that if the speaker had said “I would like to have sex with her” it would leave open the possibility of shame, but to fuck was to do so without shame. To call the act of sex “fucking” was to state it as bluntly and directly as possible. Once this idea was introduced to the panel of interviewees the idea was accepted as being true.

One of the females on the panel said that word communicated the idea of an absence of emotion in the act of sex. She contrasted the phrase “to make love” with the word and stated that two people cannot make love and fuck at the same time. Another female built of that idea by saying that it seemed like fucking would refer to a rougher form of sex and even a possibly degrading act.

Out of the ten members of the panel six said that they were uncomfortable using this word in that context, while the remaining members said they had little to no problem using it, if it applied. The consensus was that it was a direct and unabashed way to refer to possibly rough sex that was focused on external feelings and not internal connection.

The F-word has also become an adverb and adjective and more specifically an intensifier. If one was very tired then saying that they are fucking tired would effectively convey that message. The general consensus from the panel was that the, although diminished, forbidden nature of the word it brings a power that would be lost using another adjective. The word could be used in both negative and positive ways such as “This fucking sucks” or “that was fucking fun” and fits them both equally well. One of the male members on the panel introduced the idea that the word did gain extra meaning when used to express angry or bitterness “Such as I hate you so fucking much right now.” The panel was undecided as to whether the added force was due to the fact that the sentence itself was strongly worded or because of an association with the work “fuck” and its derivatives and anger. This connection was made earlier when discussing rough sex and was seen again in this lexical form.

This was the most common usage of the word excepting the reference to the actual act. It is a strong exclamation that can be used when one is surprised, angry, hurt, or disgusted. It is most appropriate and seems the most natural when referring to the speaker specifically. Most people would not use this word in the case of “ ______ that person is ugly” because it does not refer to the speaker specifically.

Overall the F-word is indeed an extremely versatile and strong word that communicates extreme disgust and displeasure, but has begun to grow and branch into a word that can have positive connotations. It is still a very taboo word, but its use has begun to become more acceptable and mainstream due to its overuse in theatrical media. A word that can be used in most any situation it is definitely a versatile word.


Sadie Barton said...

This feels suspiciously like a research paper. If you did indeed turn this in for research, I bet you'd get a fuckin' A.

Brooksie Baby said...

I actually used it in the English department chair's class. And, surprisingly, she loved it.

Michael Chase Spain said...

Wow...ACU has changed so much in the last 20 years. Congrats on your paper's success, smartboy!