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
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
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.) Britain
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,