WARNING: This post has a lot of “bad” words (actually just one bad word repeated over and over). So put on your earmuffs and try not to cry on yourself.
We throw the word “fuck” around to cover a variety of sins. If we’re angry, frustrated, excited, happy, or insulting someone, we just slap an eff word in there.
Eff you! I will eff you up! I effing hate wheelbarrows! I effing love sparkly unicorns! I don’t give a flying eff!
Saying fuck apparently adds a superior amount of emphasis on whatever it is you’re saying and shows you’re being serious about it. You’re telling people you’re not going to mess around.
It really shows the depth of the postmodern vocabulary when we say “fuck” over and over to convey a host of emotions.
The world wasn’t always this way, right?
Can you imagine Abe Lincoln yelling, “Fuck these doorways! I hit my fucking head every time!!” Yeah...probably not.
I’m sure President Lincoln would get pretty fed up just like anyone else. He was trying to get rid of slaves and everything – that had to be rough. He is one of the most profound people in American History, but in certain respects Abey and I are the same. We both feel frustration, anger, and happiness. The context of our lives is worldly different but we share common emotions – just like I do with any member of the human race throughout the course of history.
Our emotions haven’t changed - our way of describing them has.
People used to say things like “fuck you” without saying “fuck you.”
People used to have class. People used to have style. People used to take pride in their words.
Over the course of the last century our affinity to the eff word has exponentially grown. And this transition could not be more apparent than within the last thirty year realm that is the music industry.
Music is powerful because of its presence. Every single one of us has the opportunity to engage with music on a 24/7 basis. Just turn on the radio or hit up Pandora - it’s free, people.
Listen to the latest releases. Songs talk about fucking in unusual places, hating the fuck out of someone, and how we’re going to fucking party.
Rewind 50 years ago. There were still songs talking about having sex in fun places, hating people, and yes, they knew how to party.
But they didn’t have to say “fuck” in order for you to get the message. They didn’t have to shove their point in your face.
Songs used to have a poetic element, charm, and a sense of mystery, just like conversations used to. You used to have to think about what they were trying to say. You weren’t blatantly being told what to think or feel.
The artist used to have a message and songs were an expression of that character, and YOU had to figure it out. Ya know, think for yourself – and I’ll leave that debate for another post.
Case Point: Bill Withers’s “Use Me” takes on Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You”
Lyrics excerpt from Bill Wither’s “Use Me”
“My friends feel it's their appointed duty
They keep trying to tell me all you want to do is use me
But my answer yeah to all that use me stuff
Is I wanna spread the news that if it feels this good getting used
Oh you just keep on using me until you use me up
Until you use me up”
Lyrics excerpt from Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You”
“I see you driving 'round town
With the girl I love and I'm like,
Oo, oo, ooo
I guess the change in my pocket
Wasn't enough I'm like,
And fuck her too!”
Two songs, one similar message. They both feel used and cheated. One song makes you think about it, another song tells you what to think. Where’s the finesse? Where’s the tact?
We could argue about censorship. We could argue about self expression. We could argue about the evolution of communication and lowered vernacular inhibitions.
People used to respect words and respect language. People used to care about what they were saying and embellished in the art of conversation. There was a refinement to communication that was free for everyone to use.
But oh, the ever present eff word. The fuck this and fuck that. I’m talking about taking pride in what you say and how you say it. Is “fuck” really the best you can do?
Lower the fuck count and take a shot at using fucking better descriptive words. THAT’S ALL I FUCKING ASK.
Hello Pot, have you met Kettle?