Monday, June 3, 2013

What the fuck!

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In an age where scams occupy the powerful, outrage preoccupies the powerless, rape is fun and games for the frustrated, it has become mandatory to express our frustration with – WHAT THE FUCK!

The F word is undeniably the most explosive bomb that expresses more than any existing word in our lexicon. A knight in shining armour that comes to our rescue when our vocabulary falls short. What a fucking good job it does to give vent to our disgust! What’s more, this pint sized word is more versatile than most of our Bollywood actors with faux accents. Use it liberally to ask that pesky Romeo to fuck off! Tell your boss that you don’t give a fuck about what he thinks of your “non-performance”. Express incredulity with “what the fuck!” when you get your annual bonus, resign with your middle finger pointing northwards and stomp off with a “fuck you”!

Damn, that felt good!

Profanities have existed longer than L K Advani and his ambition to become India’s PM. While swear words like damn you, holy shit, go to hell have lost their sting and evolved as the last resort for the timid. The f word has held its sway and is now part of our everyday vocabulary.


Don’t be shocked if I tell you it originated in Germany way back in the 15th century. Yes, eff is older than our forefathers but still as alluring as the new hot new tenant in our locality.

I think a lot has to do with the taboo status it enjoys in our society that still considers sex as dirty. So dirty that it is used as a leverage to commit unspeakable violence against women and shame them. Any reference to it invites censure from the government which makes it even more exciting for the uninformed mind. So, mannequins are asked to cover-up, women are asked to stay at home and cook and young girls are made to feel ashamed of their sexuality, while the male with his out of control libido is anointed with the “poor me” status.

Come to think of it, almost every profanity insinuates illicit sexual congress with our near and dear ones. And all of them by some weird coincidence happen to be women! You want to insult a man with the vilest of abuse – call him a mother fucker, sister fucker, bastard, son of a bitch… What better way to humiliate him than shame the women of his house! And it’s invariably speculations about her dubious sexual habits that are meant to shame her the most.

For some unfathomable reason, the strong headed, ambitious, no nonsense woman is invariable dismissed as a bitch. As a woman it makes you wonder why the greatest hostility is reserved for women!

Sex is an abuse when it is used to rob a child of his/her childhood, destroy a woman’s sense of self-worth and terrorize, exploit and subjugate the defenseless. But to express incredulity and rage at the inept, corrupt and the foolish, I’m sure we can do better than SOB, mother fucker and their sundry derivatives!

In this age of the politically correct, aren’t terms like bigot, racist, rapist, homophobe, fanatic, sexist more insulting than sex-obsessed cuss words! Isn’t it sad to see the three lettered word that nurtures and exhilarates, mutate into a four-lettered one?

I understand swearing is almost a universal constant in most people’s lives - a primitive defense mechanism against helpless rage. It gives us an emotional release. Rather mumble profanities and get rid of the negativity than nurture it into a festering wound.

But while most of us may not be able to control our rage, we can certainly choose our words with care. Imagine calling some idiotic prick who smashed your car, your brother-in-law (saale)?  Or hearing a six year old scream "fuck you" because that's what he learnt from his parents!

And if you are still not willing to give up on the Germans, try their beers and sausages instead. They do a damn good job of it.

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71 comments:

  1. THANK YOU for saying this! Our abusive vocabulary just brings out the current state of our society: the brimming underbelly of unsaid things.

    Have you seen the movie "Lie With Me"? Apart from all the nudity, what stands out is the protagonist: a woman who isn't afraid of her sexuality. +1 for that!

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    1. How long can you repress what's so natural? And then there are people who are dying to pass judgement.

      N, I haven't watched the movie but read the summary after you mentioned it.

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  2. I curse a lot, I find it therapeutic. Racist, bigot, whatever ... those words serve as a useful tool to underline and highlight the message I need to get out into the world. And I effin dont care a fuck if I sound like a lady or not.

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    1. So do I. Unfortunately I have started questioning the origins of these cuss words. And most of them abuse the feminine.

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  3. Well said. Before we all end up becoming walking pressure cookers, filled with gassy rage each time we look at all the muck around us, nothing better to have an occasional release in the form of that simple four letter word!

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  4. Why do most cuss words involve a woman and her body parts? Is it because men invented them?


    It is said that engineering colleges are a hot bed for new discoveries. The grosser the better.

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    1. A propaganda so ancient that we stopped questioning it.

      Oh yes, I've heard them and most of them are so imaginative :-)

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  5. I guess your message is quite correct but then there is no suitable word for the f word! Of course mother, sister can be avoided as prequels. But f-word can remain as it is :D

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    1. Thanks to fuck off, get lost has started sounding childish :-)

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  6. I am clueless on this as I use the H word always (what the Heck)

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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  7. Few weeks back, best friend and I actually were musing as to why all the bad words have insults to women.. And really, you wont belive this, but I was actually going to write a post on 'how easily do we abuse nowadays'.. I mean the F word comes natuarally to us and do does the salaa kamini, esp while driving!!! I try the milder version of What a FISH..

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    1. But the funny thing is we end up abusing ourselves. Take for instance - Salaa(my favourite)- imagine calling an idiot your brother-in-law!

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  8. This is the first time i heard that F word is being used as a cuss. Strange it is.

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  9. Most profanities are directed at women across the globe and that is unfortunate. But I don't think that has anything to do with the taboo status of sex because, while the profanities are global,the taboo status of sex isn't. They remain the same whether it is France or Saudi Arabia; India falls somewhere in the middle of this spectrum!

    The origin being ancient may be the thing to blame as the status of women was poor allover. But how did they survive the changing times, is "fucking" mysterious! ;)

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    1. The Americans are conservative as hell. It's only in certain parts of Europe sex is not considered dirty.

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    2. Sex isn't considered taboo or dirty in USA except certain conservative Republican pockets...

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  10. Hi, I admit using the F-word but not in a way derogatory to women. I have the habit of saying, I fucked up or Fuck my silly brain. I didn't know it originates from Germany and thanks for educating me:) Nice piece as usual, Purba.
    Vishal

    ReplyDelete
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    1. So many terms and expressions in our vocabulary that are derogatory to women but we never sat down to question them.

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  11. You hit the man, he doesn't hurt. cuss him, still he will not hurt. But he would terrible hurt if you abuse women of his own bloodline. So that the most effective cusses are Mother-Fucker(मादरचोद) and Sister-Fucker(बहणचोद).

    Have you ever heard the cuss like wife-fucker(बीबीचोद),(सालीचोद),(बूवाचोद), (चाचीचोद),(भाभीचोद)or (सांसूचोद) no. Because none of these women are his direct blood.

    So, as far as the cuss are concern, not with women but the women in the direct bloodline of the men is targeted.

    My conclusion is, Indian Gaalies are not about women but only women in direct bloodline.


    Still there is a question. If so then why the daughter is dropped from abuse list. because there is no Gaali like daughter-fucker(बेटीचोद). May be she falls in exception.

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    1. I have a few UP Bihar friends who use betichod (daughter-fucker) more often than the other cuss words. Depends on the region you are staying in I guess.

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  12. Well, Purba - I think abuses are more to do with things that are considered blasphemous with respected to the popularly accepted social and religious norms because the idea of an abuse is to make the person on the other side feel disgusted. That is why in the earlier times, damn, hell etc. were abuses. Now no one believes in religion. So most of those have fallen into disuse. But still there are strong prejudices with respect to sex. Hence the abuses that make the people with the prejudice writhe.

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    1. Well, one is always learning.

      But I'll disagree with your "no one believes in religion" POV. Religion is still the opiate of the masses.

      Delete
  13. You must be feeling relieved after having let off all that steam.
    I still use bastard, kutta, kamina (inaudibly) when I am frustrated in traffic.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Traffic in India is a mess! But I've seen worse traffic snarls in Bangkok. Funny things is, no one honks impatiently, you won't hear abuses, in fact our taxi driver would take a small nap every time the traffic came to a halt.

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  14. Cussing is meant to incite and to act as a release. I find myself cussing at times but mostly I am not comfortable around extremely foul mouths especially in front of kids and elders.

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    1. The worst cuss word our Mom could come up with was "unwanted".

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  15. You picked up the golden word which is used to show off we are urban.. to express disgust... to show off English is my mother tongue .. to take our anger out ... and to slap without touching..
    No matter what, the word and its relatives are hear to stay.
    People like me are like dodos,counted in number- who go deaf ears to someone using the f word .. and find it meaningless to use them..

    ReplyDelete
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    1. We use these words mechanically not understanding their true implications. I'll call it the herd mentality.

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  16. I don't know why people have to use curse words to express anger. It's the meaning we give them that aids in the emotional release. But why, is beyond me. It doesn't change anything. And are we in today's world, so much at a loss of self control? Is self control so difficult?
    I had a difficult time getting used to this word, and I realized that I would have to put up with the frequency it was being used with.

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    1. There's so much anger, frustration bottled up inside us. All it needs is a tiny little provocation and the abuses start flowing.

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  17. I guess most of the cuss words are such because they accuse the person of incest. And me thinks since most times guys have to insult each other so these ones stuck.
    Anyway, swear words have become cool and are the in thing these days. It gets you attention.

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    1. Especially in Delhi where the well-mannered are treated like wimps.

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  18. Wow, a great post.. In my engineering, I have used enough cuss words to shame my bloodline but never thought of it this way.

    BTW.. with all the cuss words in the comments, it is a really "fuck"ed up one :P ;)

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    1. Hahaha...you can pick up a few new ones from here :-)

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  19. Damn gd! I think they are more-often used as symbols - Words used for venting ur anger, frustration or emotion what ever, without kowing their origin, meaning. You were right when u say a six year old scream "fuck you" as he thinks that's right choice of words for screaming.

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    1. It's because he knows no better. My daughter was all of four when I first heard her spewing profanities in fluent Oriya. She had picked it up from our maid!

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  20. I hate using or hearing these words. It has something to do with the small town upbringing as well. My friends who lived in the big metros or moved there to study/work can use the sex oriented cuss words with ease, but not me. I still wish we could do with stupid idiot and get away with the frustration!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The big city kills your innocence. One has to adopt a tough exterior to survive.

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  21. I can't understand the fascination with f word :-/

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  22. sometimes the amount of anger one feels can only be expressed like this. it just flows out.

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    1. Yes and you feel so brave :-)

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  23. during my academic days when i first landed up in delhi i was shocked for the first few months the amount of hindi cuss that floats around and sometimes i wonder what is the point of celebrating Rakhi or bhaidooj .well i get used to it .The F word is the unifying cutting across international dash and dots . never knew the germans came up with that or did they taught the world about the F word ha ha(just kidding ) . anyways Purba Express you ..f ..KNOW how to pick a theme and express it so f...good and i am sure everyone here agrees that you are ...f ...good . (Way to go ...good read ...( apologies that i exaggerate using the ..4 letters ok lets say #*#% ha ha )as for the sausages you remind me of that . buts its too hot in delhi here and the beer hmmm kotsberg ..can do some sausages with it

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    1. You fucking made your point, Mr Roy.

      Delhi has changed you and how!

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  24. a 5 yr old girl I know, sings shiela ki jawani with full masti, and her angrezi teacher corrects her to use the word pretty in place of sexy....what the f...
    I be careful around kids, but when I use the word to explain something abt words or whatever I happen to spit that word, my son goes...amma..u used the F word....ufff..

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    1. The more we hear it, the more we use it, the more normal it seems.

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  25. Dear Purba, That was effing brilliant. :))

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    1. I hope I didn't end up sounding preachy :/

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    2. What better topic to be preachy about. Come to think of it, it is rather one sided. But sometimes, awfully funny. When my husband was at college he was called Maader (you know my surname) by his close friends and won't tell you what the boy occupying the next room at the hostel was called but his surname was Chaudhury.

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  26. SIGH! I sometimes feel bad for myself. Now whenever I get a bit angry or frustrated, the FUCK word comes to me and I bite my lips to stop it when I notice I am in the company of my mother. Loved this post!

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    1. I have yet to use the F word in front of my parents.

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  27. Purba such is the power of your writing and imagination running riot with alluring titles that even on a vacation you managed to grab my eyeballs..... :) Here no cuss word implied! Incidentally if you have not seen this video, please do so....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D7rWLzloOI

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  28. The audio quality wasn't that good. Wish I could read the text somewhere.

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  29. This is indeed a good read. It is very true that Fuck is turning out to be an easy go to word in our scant vocab!

    It is true most of the derogatory terms used are at women. Was it ever that way cause it probably doesnt hurt that much if you abused your father/brother et al? There is no more sensitive area than mother/sister in my opinion. What do you think? :-)

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    1. A woman's dignity is still equated with the family's honour. You insult her and you insult her family.

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  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  31. Fornication Under the Consent of the King - thats the origin of the word FUCK. In ancient British empire, it was unlawful to have sex without the consent of the king. Hence every household who needed to have sex,primarily to procreate,had to be under the consent of the King. They needed the Kings fucking consent.

    As for cuss words,I hardly use them,and I find most of them illogical,deplorable, plus they are quite unidrectional.If you want to hurt another man, then be a man first and stop attacking his family - fight man to man.Simple.

    Good post.

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    1. The inherent trouble lies with our tendency to react instead of responding to a situation.

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  32. fucking good post...male chauvinism hidden in the cussing was new realization to me!!

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    1. Time to rethink how we use our words :-)

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  33. Let me play a devil's advocate here. In my opinion, using "FUCK" to show extreme reactions is acceptable as long as you are not using it all the time. For example: That concert was fucking awesome, I was fucking drunk when I wrote that :)

    And in case of cuss words being more women oriented, I think it's nothing to do with male chauvinism. Howsoever dicks men may be, they still consider that saying something against a women is bigger insult than anything else. Personally, I do not support use of such terms regularly, in fact I always find it disgusting when people in north India swear against mothers and sisters as a matter of fact.

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