Friday, February 3, 2012


I just read Christopher Hitchen’s essay A Very, Very; Dirty Word, published in Slate Magazine of July 2004. 

In this essay Hitchen opines on the phrase Fuck Off, claiming it was a legacy of the British Empire; attributing Fuck You and Go Fuck Yourself as the American form.  His example for this proclamation was a statement made in 1967 by the British governor of South Yemen - Denis Healey; also expletives by Vice President Dick Cheney, John Kerry and Paul Wolfowitz.   

I am not saying that Hitchen was totally out of touch with the world outside of elite Washington and Britain, and I do not know how he dissected the roots and origin of Fuck Off; but I distinctly remember Fuck You and the bird as a part of the 60’s revolution in this country (remembering Easy Rider)  – and a young girl in San Francisco yelled Fuck You at me in the airport when I returned from Viet Nam (along with: how many babies have you killed?) and I replied Fuck Off. 

Now, I claim all the variations of the Fuck word as primarily American.  

Anyone my age can remember George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say on television:
Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker and Tits.

‘The good churchgoing people’ were scandalized at Carlin’s proclamation that these words existed, much less that someone would dare to utter them in public; while the flower generation picked up on them and unpretentiously wielded them for the shock factor they knew they could effect.   

Actually this day and age I find the Fuck variations, along with bitch, cunt and bastard colorless and trite.   I actually think arcane Britain may have coined better, more colorful expressions of disgusts and contempt – Or at least the author Ariana Franklin did in her book Mistress of the Art of Death.   (If you have not read Ariana Franklin you have missed a great mystery read in the era of King Henry II - circa 12th. century.)  

In her book the female doctor Adelia is being held captive by a necked man wearing deer antlers and sporting and erection – Adelia defused the situation by unleashing a series of insult (curses): calling him a stinking crap-hound; a turd-mouth; stench-sucking lummox; dressed like a dog’s beef; son of a pox-ridden sow, and a betty-buttered mother’s boy; a jelly bag; snot-faced; arse-licking; goat fucking; bum-bellied; farting; turd-breathed apology.  (She left out Shakespeare’s cream-faced loon.)

The book is a great mystery read, but like the dictionary when I was young, I couldn’t help but latch on the ‘rude words’ section.

I know I am not the first to express this, but there are few enough words in the English language to emphasize expression, and no word should be forbidden (censored.) ... and damnit - fuck off is ours.

Or in a more British vernacular:
Off we Fuck then,
the Ol’Buzzard


  1. The problem with the overuse of many of these words is that they have nothing left when the occassion calls for something stronger. Listen to someone who uses Fuck as every second word, eg the Big Lebowski,and they sound simply ignorant.
    There is a time and a place for using the word Fuck. As Custer said Where the Fuck did all those Indians come from?

  2. I am likely one of the worse offenders for overusing the word, "fuck".

    But, trust this sometimes drunken old master sergeant - there is not a phrase in the world that communicates your feelings with the same intensity that a simple, "fuck you" does.

    Great post...


  3. or as my dear sweet departed mother would say..fuck'em all but 6 and save them for pall bearers.


COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."