Tag Archives: profanity

A Philosophy of Profanity

I heard a bizarre story on NPR yesterday about 15-year-old McKay Hatch who started the No Cussing Club. It has 30,000 members worldwide. Hatch has appeared on TV with Jay Leno and Dr. Phil, and the kid has a book coming out. All centered around the idea of not swearing.

I don’t get it.

Now it’s no secret that I’ve pushed the boundaries of acceptable language and paid for it. For quite a long time I’ve questioned what defines profanity and defended certain uses. In the end, I’ve concluded that cussing is a cultural issue. Swear words are culturally defined and vary between societies. What people considered profane a few hundred years ago is standard English today. What’s taken as normal conversation here could be incredibly offensive in another part of the world.

“It just makes me feel really offended and stuff,” Hatch says. “It just doesn’t make me feel good.”

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