I am a foreigner. Conversely, I am of the opinion that Americans should un-learn their rules about cussing.

Now, don't get me wrong. The art of offending or insulting someone is an art very few have mastered, where the vast majority tend to fall into the "let's just conjure up a bad word and walk away fuming" category. Add a few adjectives and they somehow fall under the delusion that they're intellectually superior. People like me, for instance. But at least I admit it.

Ahem. However the case, I do think it's about time we took a step back and analyzed just what makes an offending statement so insulting. This is where I think the vast majority of the English-speaking world populace has got it wrong.

Is the word "fuck" insulting?

Some will undoubtedly say yes. Television network execs in the US apparently do - they fight a losing battle to keep "naughty words" out of the aural canal of their listening audience, full knowing that not only are they perfectly aware of what it means, but also that the sentence in which the word is included was not necessarily meant in an offending way. Conservative religious coalitions will viciously defend their constitutional right to be protected from harmful words, even though they (and no one else, I might add) have ever managed to conjure up believable evidence that such words do, in fact, exist.

Why is cussing such a big deal?

Take a step back and analyze it for a moment. Go on, humor me. What makes a bad word bad?

Yes, I am stumped, too.

Is it because it can be construed in a sexual manner?

The Bible tells us not to screw around (literally) before we're married. I hesitate to call these dated ideals, but let's face it - very few care about that anymore.

"Fuck" can mean anything from sexual intercourse (arguably the cornerstone of human evolution and, by that argument, should be revered, not feared, since reproduction ultimately seems to be the purpose of the existence of humans) to being a simple emphasis.

You could be fucking someone, but you could also be fucking talking to someone.

Well, then what?

Is it because it can be used in an offensive context?

Could be, but again, the connotations of many offensive words is often very ambiguous. Say the word "ass" in public and the people around you will assume you're loudly proclaiming your affection for some honey's well-shaped derriere. Say it to a remote redneck Texan farmer and he'll assume you're talking about his livestock.

Well, then what?

"What about," I hear the nay-sayers say, "those words that carry an exclusively negative connotation? Such as "cunt", for instance?"

Well, is there an exclusively negative connotation to the word cunt? Obviously calling someone a cunt isn't to be found anywhere in a Mores & Manners guide. But it can also be synonymous with a woman's sexual organ - and not necessarily in a disgusting way, either.

Think about it, what would you rather hear your lover say: "I want you to eat my cunt, honey" or "please lap at my vaginal secretions"?

Moreover, isn't it interesting that the number of socially unacceptable words are steadily decreasing? The way things are going, "fuck" isn't going to be particularly offensive in a few years. It is being used liberally by anyone in any age bracket who possesses a smidgen of rational tolerance. It is overused, yes. Why do you think? Because it provokes a strong reaction from those still convinced that words can be harmful? Why yes, I do believe that's right.

"Fuck" is not cussing. "Fuck you" is.

So what is the big fucking deal with the censorship of thought, words and speech? Quoth the most notorious fat-ass that ever lived:

"What's the fucking big deal? It doesn't hurt anyone. Fuckityfuckfuckfuck."

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