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March 28, 2007


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Or in Italy combining the name of a holy figure with something scatalogical or some not-pleasant animal.

Pig Madonna is a particular favourite.


I have never heard that expression.

Didn't Inspector Clousseau use the expression pig-dog? So that pig becomes some kind of profanity?

And, I've never understood why the English think 'bloody' is a bad word.

Anthony Paul Smith

Bloody isn't so bad as fanny. God, they go in an uproar when you say something about fannys. Granted it would be the equivalent of someone saying "He hit me right on my pussy!"


given italy's (at least in the south) rather pagan or pre-christian christianity, i'm not sure 'pig madonna' is so oxymoronic. as along the lines of threatening figurines of saints with obliteration if they do not 'successfully' answer a prayer


My mum claims that "bloody" was originally short for "by our lady," and hence blasphemous. Though she also says that "Gordon Bennet" (a phrase I've never heard used in real life) is equally blasphemous, because it's short for "God and St Benedict."

But I don't think "bloody" really counts as a swear word anymore. "Bugger" appears to have been downgraded too, although it's a bit of a grey area - you seem to be allowed to use it on the radio and TV, but only as long as you have a northern accent.


"You daft bugger" is less rude than "bugger that", which in turn is less rude than "bugger you", which is still less rude than "...so I buggered him".

Other variations: "you bloody buggering bastard"; "oh, buggeration!", "he's buggered it up again", etc. simply use "bugger" as a substitute for "fuck".

It is not uncommon to say of some painful experience that it "hurts like buggery", even though buggery practiced with due care and preparation ought not to hurt at all.


Interestingly enough, popular American films still stay conspicuously away from the "C" word (as do I). It has a particularly odious and aggressive ring to it. The notorious and effective exception is in Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs when Hannibal Lechter's cell neighbor ("Miggs" or "Multiple" Miggs sp?) says to Clarice Starling "I can smell your cunt." Lechter asks about this, forcing Starling to repeat the word -- which she strains to do -- and he responds "I, alas, cannot."


Fanny just seems a bit of a silly word, and an ugly one at that. I don't think it is effective for a good swear.

Regarding bugger, I LOLed out loud at the post, particularly "buggeration". If an alien came down and you wanted to describe english swearing that would be the example you would give. It has kind of been downgraded to pre-9pm usage as has bloody (which I thought was blood-of-Mary). Bloody I could use in front of pretty much anyone. As I said in my previous post, my parents get really mad at fuck, but use bugger themselves all the time - particularly my dad loudly shouting it in a northern accent. Which seems an odd acceptance, considering the equally sexual derivation of that word.

Nothing can beat the infamous Curb Your Enthusiasm line "car wash cunt" when delivered in a over harsh way. Genius!

Some linguist has doubtless researched all this, but I tend to think the more religious the country the more blashemy in the swearing. England is a weird case, as we arent that religious, but went through that weird 19th century time when we went for things like Gordon Bennett etc to "hide" the blashemy from God. Because, surely, the replacement swearword signifies what it replaces, it should be considered just as bad (though after a time, perhaps, the original usage is forgotten and it ceases to be blashemous, in the instance of bloody for example)


My Southern Baptist mother had an eagle eye--or ear--for hidden blashphemy. Gosh, golly, and gah were not permitted insofar as they were clear substitutes for the lord's name. Darn was also a problem. With this background, I sobbed the first time I heard her say 'damn.'

For those for whom buggery is a vocabulary feature: does anyone ever find the term homophobic? perhaps implicitly as it relies on an assumption of a primary distaste for taking it up the ass?
But, this may not follow insofar as saying 'fuck all' does not require a primary distate for fucking, although it does seem to associate it with some kind of aggression


In high school I had a Mormon friend who refused to swear. So, when he wanted to say "fuck" he'd say "flip," when he wanted to say "fucking" he'd say "flipping." I didn't get it - "flip" was just "fuck" by another name. He didn't see my point.

In a tagential discussion in lecture a couple weeks ago, I referred to the "men's rights" organization that advertises a "men's help line" (it's a rural county I live in; I teach in the city) as a "bunch of fucking idiots." They seemed to think it was funny.

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