Sunday, 13 January 2013

From debunkingchristianity  1st December 2012
Hi Bernie,
                     Steven Pinker has shared some clever ideas about swearing in his book, " The stuff of thought ", chapter 7,  " The seven words you can't say on television ". He starts, " Freedom of speech is a foundation of democracy, because without it citizens can't share their observations on folly and injustice....However the U.S. supreme court recognizes 5  kinds of unprotected speech; Fraud and libel are not protected...advocacy of imminent lawless behaviour and " fighting words " are also not protected....The fifth category  -obscenity - seems to defy justification  "
    I think Pinker sort of just accepts swearing is part of life and isn't really a problem in moderation. p370, " If an overuse of taboo words, whether by design or laziness, blunts their emotional edge, it will have deprived us of a linguistic instrument that we sometimes sorely need "
p371 Pinker quotes Philip Larkin's " This Be the verse " of 1974 :
           They fuck you up, your mum and dad
           They may not mean to , but they do
           They fill you with the faults they had
            And add some extra, just for you
  I think an alternative to obscene language is to speak of your emotions, " It makes me livid, how annoying, that's frustrating, it's worrying, I feel upset about that "
Or to be specific about the idea or action in question, " I find that point of view sickening ", " I once supported an idea that i am now embarrassed by "
  However "F off" is so much quicker and easier to say. But then the recipient could transpose it into the long hand that probably would have been said if the speaker had taken the time : " Sorry, not interested, don't want to hear any more of that point of view because I find it offensive / boring / bugging"
I wrote an more ideas about this at expressingemotions-

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