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robertogreco : swearing   10

Jon Ronson on telling his son the worst swearword in the world | Life and style | The Guardian
"My eight-year-old son, Joel, comes into my office to ask if there's a worse swearword than fuck. "No," I say.

There's a silence. "You're lying," he says.

"There's none worse than fuck," I say.

Joel narrows his eyes. "I know you're lying," he says. He leaves the room.

On Saturday I take Joel to Chessington World of Adventures. What a crappy theme park! None the less, we have a wonderful day together.

"You're a great dad!" Joel says as we drive home.

"And you're a great son!" I reply with a magical twinkle.

We smile lovingly at each other.

"There is a worse swearword than fuck, isn't there?" says Joel.

"Yes, there is!" I say, still with a magical twinkle.

"What is it?" asks Joel.

"It's c..." I begin. I stop. "Uh," I say.

"Tell me," says Joel. "I swear this is just for me. I'll never use it. I just need to know. I will never use it on anyone. I swear. Just tell me."

I feel clammy and hemmed in. "And you won't tell Mum we had this conversation?" I say.

"I promise," says Joel. "Mum will never know."

There's a silence. "I can't tell you," I say.

"Tell me," says Joel.

"I can't," I say.

"Then why did you almost tell me?" Joel yells.

"Because I wasn't thinking responsibly!" I yell. "I was swept up in the magic of the moment."

"You have to tell me," Joel says. "It's only fair."

"Uh," I say. "I, uh... I..."

I look around the car. For some reason we have an old can of Italian lemonade down on the floor.

"It's limone," I say.

There's a silence.

"Limone?" says Joel.

"That's the worst swearword of all," I say. "Limone. But I'm holding you to your promise that you will never use it. OK? Never."

"Limone?" says Joel. He seems disappointed.

"There's nowhere to go after limone," I say. "Limone is the Everest peak of swearing."

Joel looks out of the window.

"You know," I say, wisely, "sometimes the mystery is better than the knowing, wouldn't you say? Sometimes the journey is better than the destination. Anyway, don't tell Mum."

We reach the house. Joel rushes inside.

"Mum!" he yells. "Dad told me the worst swearword of all! I know what it is! Limone!"

My wife, Elaine, appears at the top of the stairs, an inscrutable expression on her face. I shrug, anxiously.

A month passes. We go for a weekend away. At the hotel, a boy on a tricycle crashes into Joel.

"Limone," mutters Joel under his breath.

Another month passes. Joel has a friend round for a sleepover. At 11pm I hear them talking. They're saying, "Limone" in awed whispers.

"I feel terrible about this," I say to Elaine. "I've tricked my own son. I'm going to tell him that limone isn't a swearword, and is in fact the Italian word for lemon." I pause. "I'm going to tell him the actual worst swearword in the world."

"You are not!" says Elaine.

"I'd rather he was foul-mouthed and accurate than see him like this," I say. "All because of my stupid, stupid slip of the tongue in the car on the way back from Chessington World of Adventures."

"You are not going to tell Joel the worst swearword in the world!" Elaine yells.

And so I don't.

Today, Joel comes into my office. "Hi," he says.

"Hi," I say.

There's a silence.

"Anyway, I'll see you later," says Joel. He goes to leave. Then he turns around.

"Oh," he says. "Cunt.""
education  children  writing  language  humor  parenting  words  fun  swearing  cussing  profanity  kids 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Why Swearing Helps Ease Pain: Benefits of Curse Words - TIME
"According to a new study by British researchers, saying the F word or any other commonly used expletive can work to reduce physical pain — and it seems that people may use curse words by instinct. Indeed, as any owner of a banged shin, whacked funny bone or stubbed toe knows, dancing the agony jig — and shouting its profane theme tune — are about as automatic as the response to a doctor's reflex hammer."
language  swearing  psychology  pain  health 
july 2009 by robertogreco
The Argentine Post: 15 Rules For Stress-Free Driving In Argentina
"Argentines have a remarkably interesting capacity to curse and yell without actually taking themselves too seriously. The angry yelling seems to be fleeting and does not - at least in many cases - seem to represent a deep, lingering anger. The same trait seems to be common in Italy which, of course, supplied much of Argentina's immigration. My experience is that Argentines curse and yell in traffic in part just for show. In part, they enjoy it. The verbal onslaughts are almost part of of an odd cultural ritual."
argentina  buenosaires  driving  traffic  culture  society  swearing  language 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Profanity works - (37signals)
"It seems that profanity can work as a record button for the brain. It brings people to the edge of their attention as they’re trying to figure out whether they’re supposed to be offended or inspired. And then the content warrants the emphasis, the idea seems to stick better and longer and with more affection. As with any tool, it can certainly be misused and applied to the wrong audience. But you can cut yourself with a great steak knife too. Use profanity with care and in the right context and it can be fucking amazing."
language  communication  presentations  swearing  profanity 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Ask H&FJ | Hoefler & Frere-Jones - grawlix
“grawlix, n. A string of typographical symbols used (especially in comic strips) to represent an obscenity or swear word.” I don’t think I’ll ever look at a character set quite the same way again"
typography  language  swearing  punctuation  comics  linguistics  characters  words  definitions  english  h&fj 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Putting The Base Back In Baseball
"What makes this particular document so fantastic is that in issuing these “Special Instructions To Players,” warning against foul language on the field, Major League baseball decided to reprint some of the offensive language verbatim. Hilarious."
baseball  history  swearing  language  humor  trashtalk  nonist 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Lifestyle/Scene - Watch your mouth! -
"Adolescents and preteens are swearing more publicly than ever...conversational on the rise...Teens are more likely to drop casual expletives, or "fillers," than generation before them, have more trouble adjusting conversation to fit audienc
language  youth  teens  swearing 
february 2008 by robertogreco
BBC NEWS | UK | England | Norfolk | Swearing at work can 'cut stress'
"the use of "taboo language" boosted team spirit. Professor Yehuda Baruch, professor of management, warned that attempts to prevent workers from swearing could have a negative impact."
language  psychology  work  stress  swearing  leadership  administration  management 
october 2007 by robertogreco
russell davies: the anaesethetic of the familiar
"He used a great phrase while talking about the uses of swearing - describing it as a way of overcome 'the anaesthetic of the familiar' to shock people into noticing something." "a dysphemism is essentially the opposite of a euphemism."
words  swearing  language  culture  marketing  advertising 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Howstuffworks "How Swearing Works"
"We all know what "bad words" are. Unlike most other language rules, we learn about swearwords and how to use them without any real study or classroom instruction. Even very young children know which words are naughty, although they don't always know exac
children  language  linguistics  swearing  culture  psychology  society  history  english 
august 2007 by robertogreco

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