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The Swear Box


Somtimes, swearing is completely justified

It has been decided by members of the office in which I work that we will be installing a "swear box" into which we must put one English pound every time we are deemed to have used an expletive.

I won't be joining in. I love swearing. I refuse to acknowledge that it's offensive in every situation. It's all about context. It is possible to swear and not cause offence, as well as it being possible, shock horror, to cause offence even without swearing.

I wrote this blog entry a while ago, explaining how vehemently I disagree with trying to ban swearing, and my thoughts since that time have not changed one jot.

I don't see why swearing is so frowned upon when there are so many other more offensive things being said. I'm not even talking about purposefully aggressive or demeaning comments. I for one cannot abide anything said without being given the proper forethought. "Think before you speak" is a vital part of effective and accurate communication and it is in drastically short supply (the constant use of double-negatives is in itself enough to make me rethink the ban on handguns). Conversely, when used correctly, swearing adds great colour and variety to language that is otherwise tepid and stale, together with accentuating certain phrases, reactions and points of view in a way that is completely necessary. Any office that cannot find a place for the use of the incredibly descriptive "Omnifuck" (thank you, The Thick of Itis not one in which I wish to spend time. It's one of those words, like schadenfreude, that has no equal in its succinct descriptiveness.

Incidentally, watch The Thick of It and  then try to tell me that Malcolm Tucker is not some kind of artist.

The tone of conversation within an office environment is often one of muted frustration and anger, with no allowable outlet until each member of staff gets to go home and take out their day on their loved ones. This is mainly because it is still deemed wrong to shout at or punch virtual strangers with whom you happen to share oxygen for 8 hours each day. This could all be avoided with a subtle yet firm outcry of "For the love of jelly-flavoured cocksicles!" or "What in the name of swollen ball-sacks?!". Both glorious uses of the rich tapestry that is the English language, and great to let out frustration without telling anyone around you how you really feel about the hellish situation you currently find yourself in. What I'm saying is that the inevitable outcome of an office ban on swearing is a miserable home life and eventual divorce.

And that brings me to another thing. Who is to decide what is a curse word and what isn't? Should it be someone who doesn't swear or appreciate the use of such language? Should someone who finds all swearing in a specific environment be allowed to police that environment against that use of language? I, for instance, don't believe "cocksicles" or "ball-sacks" to be swearing. But I'm guessing the self-appointed foul-language constabulary, with their self-bestowed powers of language limitation to that deemed acceptable and do find it outrageous and fine-worthy.

They'll be telling me I can't say c*nt next.

See what I did there? I made you say it instead of me. I took no responsibility for my actions and made you the guilty party for thinking it instead. Your brain has to put £1 in the box. What a cunt.

I don't believe that swearing is big, or clever, or always necessary. But, like every other noise that comes out of the big hole in your face, if used with some thought, it can be worth hearing.

All I ask is that you think about it.

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