Holy Shit!

70070003I would like to lay out an argument.

  1. If curse words are intrinsically harmful then they should not be allowed to be said in certain situations.
  2. Nothing can be intrinsically harmful because of arbitrary reasons.
  3. If curse words are intrinsically harmful then it is because of arbitrary reasons.
  4. So, curse words are not intrinsically harmful.
  5. So, it is not the case curse words should not be allowed to be said in certain situations.

Let’s make a few distinctions. Curse words regards words that have many synonyms that are not curse words, but mean the same thing. Shit is a great example, it has many, many synonyms that are not curse words, poop, doo-doo, kaka, crap, etc. Are they impolite words? Sure, but they are not considered intrinsically harmful the way the word ‘shit’ is.

Curse words are not slurs. Slurs are words that are intrinsically harmful, as they denigrate entire groups of people as if those groups are not composed of individuals. Therefore, the allowability of curse words is distinct from the allowability of slurs.

My third premise is that if curse words are intrinsically harmful then it is because of arbitrary reasons, and as that cannot be the case, curse words cannot be intrinsically harmful.

In less academic terms, cursing is a stupid concept designed to distract people from actual problems. Even the adjective ‘curse’ reveals the idiocy of this concept, it literally suggest a word like ‘fuck’ has magical properties. It does not, it’s just a goofy word. Should everyone say ‘fuck’ all the time? Of course not, just like no one should say ‘splendiferous’ all the time, because that would be terrible.

Consider what is allowed on network television, the incredible violence, sexual aggression, the prioritization of money over human beings, the wanton disregard for suffering around the world. Not the word ‘asshole’ though! Gotta have standards!¬†Should radio stations have to make a beeping noise instead of the word ‘fuck’ though? No, goddammit, of course not! That’s insane!

It also teaches us that the words we use are more important than the content of our speech. If little Johnny calls Sally dumb we barely bat an eye, but if he calls he fucking dumb then it’s straight to principal’s office. There is no qualitative difference, in each case Johnny is using words hurtfully, but the lesson Johnny learns is he can harass people all he wants as long as he doesn’t use certain words.

We have picked a stupid battle to fight, and it is time to recognize it. If we abandon this childish obsession with naughty words, those words stop being naughty, and we can all focus on actual problems. The fact of the matter is that Johnny needs to learn that what he intends to cause with his words is what matters, and if it is meanness and pain, then that’s a problem, regardless of the actual words used. In truth, it’s a lesson we all need to learn, myself included.


George Carlin



There is a lot going on in this bit!

-Among the first is the quandary of how a being can be all knowing, all powerful, and all good, and yet sentence human beings, who are flawed by his design, to an eternity of suffering.

-The monetization of faith.

-Going back to the supposed omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent nature of God. If that is true, what the hell is going on? How did humanity become such an unhappy and unsuccessful enterprise? Given the widespread existence of poverty, disease, greed, corruption, and violence, even if God exists, why should anyone be impressed?

-Worship as a form of reverence. George talks about worshipping the sun, but he is really just talking about appreciating it as the all giving life force that it is. No need for supernatural phenomenon or life-after-death resurrections, just an appreciation for life.

-The paradox of prayer and God’s plan. God, being omniscient, knows what is best for you, and, being omnipotent, can make that happen for you, and, being omnibenevolent, desires what is best for you. So God needs no input, and your trust should be entirely in God’s plan, irregardless. Yet, prayer exists, and prayer is the often the asking of change, which suggests that they prayer believes God’s plan could be improved upon. Seemingly disrespectful in itself, made even more egregious by the fact these suggestions of improvements to God’s perfect plan occur, in their greatest frequency, on his day of rest.

– Prayer versus action. Instead of praying to a mysterious man in the sky, why not simply ask somebody on Earth for help? God works in mysterious ways, but Joe Pesci doesn’t. You want a problem fixed? Call a human with the tools. Perhaps a reference to the idea that if God exists, he equipped the earth with the necessary means to all possible ends, and so he expects you to make things work on your own.

-The equivocation of God, prayer, and religion with superstitions regarding shooting stars and four leaf clovers. Do humans just have a natural tendency to assume random events in the universe are directly related to themselves? Could we be that egotistical?