|Friday 21 October 1664
..but most I doubt his not lending my Lord money, and Mr. Moore’s reporting what his answer was I doubt in the worst manner. But, however, a very unworthy rogue he is, and, therefore, let him go for one good for nothing, though wise to the height above most men I converse with.
In the evening (W. Howe being gone) comes Mr. Martin, to trouble me again to get him a Lieutenant’s place for which he is as fit as a foole can be. But I put him off like an arse, as he is, and so setting my papers and books in order: I home to supper and to bed….
It is on my list to report how I believe we should deal with difficult or idiotic people but that will have to wait. It was a mild shock to me that Mr Pepys would use the word ‘arse’. OK it’s use goes back to around 1500 AD but I still find it more offensive than many other vulgar and swear words I can think of. I tend to translate words into smells. A relation of synesthesia probably.
Why do we swear? Is not the English language with its 40,000 words sufficient to express what we think? We are supposed to swear to release anger or frustration but is that really the best way? Many swearers seem to get more and more out of control so they have to use swearing more and more frequently to get the supposed cathartic effect. It seems to lose its impact for example when you say a pop band is awesome. Isn’t awesome a definitive word? How can you be more than ‘awed?’. If I say, the pop band was f***ing awesome, what addition to ‘awe’ can there be. I suppose we could use ‘outstanding’, ‘astonishing’, ‘fascinating’, or ‘technically brilliant’ which might convey to the listener useful information, some nuance of the band that had not been experienced before.
We could be old fashioned and construct a full sentence (steady on, Brian) e.g. “I had heard a lot about this band but when they started playing I realised how technically advanced they were and I found the whole experience mesmerizing and outstanding”. That takes a long time to say (more than 160 characters) but it conveys something meaningful and gives a context.
Interestingly you cannot imitate the syntax of ‘he was far, far away’ by saying they were f***ing f***ing good. It does not work does it. Any word can get overused. It also reflects on the utterer because it implies that they don’t think much of the people around them or their situation and they are perhaps quite miserable and in general unable to handle life. i.e. a LOSER. I note that swearers are on the defensive against real or imagined foes. I also note that swearers lack a sense of humour. If you want to ridicule another party, it is much more fun to say that them could not ‘organize a piss up in a brewery’, or you could call them a ‘Ninny‘ (short for nincompoop) or a plonker or even a pleb. I find that ‘plonker’ has a more satisfying sound to it as in ‘What a plonker!’ That says so much more.
The problem with the use of ‘pleb’ is that true plebs (Latin = the common people) would not have the vocabulary to know what you were talking about so that defeats its own object. How about ‘he shoots himself in the foot by opening his mouth’. That has rich imagery and is quite funny. If you leave the group in a state of laughter have you not ‘won’ the battle more than F-ing and B-ing. While on the F-word if you say ‘F-you’ it sounds very much like you are in the same category and that you are just as bad as they are.
I once tried insulting someone which worked well enough to silence him. I think it was a disruptive person at a talk I was giving so as a last resort I said ‘If you are ignorant then don’t advertise the fact‘.
Compared with this, the F-ford is just – well er – boring. So come on people, let’s be more creative, let them try to work out what we were implying. When the penny drops, it will drop with a thud. A friend used to call women of a certain disposition ‘a bitch de luxe‘. Beautiful. Says it all.
But if you really want to have fun, use another language.
Hey folks you can actually comment on my views by using the reply form below.
We witnessed today the aftermath of storm Brian who has blown himself out for the most part. The next one is Caroline, as yet unidentified. The Independent newspaper tells us that 10 more storms are on their way.
My dear friend from Germany spoke with me. Her boss who has returned from maternity leave is a ‘stupid cow’ according to her but my friend has developed a method of survival – she distances herself. She refuses to get caught up in the emotional nonsense and the politics otherwise she says she would be ‘in pieces’. I reminded her of Shakespeare’s ‘All the world is a stage’ and said that this employment was a ‘bad movie’ that she would be out of eventually. So, my friend does her job, goes home, gets (well) paid. She knows that there are those who have to work far harder for less money. She and I are grateful for what we have, our stability etc. We respect each other’s gifts.
On that note