Profane vs Profanity?

My love for creative profanity has been well documented in some of my earlier writings (although my satirical skills are still in their infancy, thus explaining my joyful potty mouth.) But, seriously Peeps, is there anything more entertaining then well crafted insults that ignore the boundaries of good taste?

Is profanity limited to the bad words your mother  washed your mouth out with soap for using (mine sure did,) or words the FCC  says are naughty? (Google the late George Carlin’s bit on the 7 dirty words… Not now, later. And when you do,  remember cable didn’t exist at the time; everything was broadcast.) But what separates the artfully profane from casual swearing?

Because here’s the thing, you can be profane without ever uttering a naughty word.

Wow, did I just blow your mind?

So Candace, you may ask, what do you mean by profane? Go ahead, ask….

Okay, so here’s my take… Being truly profane is more nuanced then just casually dropping the F-bomb. In fact there’s nothing casual about it (being truly profane that is;) it takes thoughtful consideration to get the most bang for your eloquentatious buck (if eloquentatious isn’t a real word it should be, and I’m copyrighting that motherfucker right now.)

But first,  consider profanity vs profane. Although the words are similar, they aren’t quite the same (first off, one’s a noun and the other is not; it can be a verb or an adjective, but that’s not the point.) Profanity is vulgar or irreverent words and gestures…

…like flipping off the lick-knob driving the speed limit in the freeway’s passing lane instead getting the fuck out of your way. So when you go to pass him on the right and the felcher  speeds up,  you flip him the fuck off…fucking felcher.

 Where as,  something that’s  profane is also obscene. It’s a meretricious, over the top excess of gluttonous, concupiscent consumption. It offends our sensibilities. It hits us in the gut, making us gasp and shudder; violating commonly held social or religious  values and beliefs…(style points will be awarded on a sliding scale for vulgarity and irreverence.)

Consider below one of my favorite vitriolic rants of all time:

“Curse the blasted, jelly-boned swines, the slimy, the belly-wriggling invertebrates, the miserable soddingrotters, the flaming sods, the sniveling, dribbling, dithering, palsied, pulse-less lot that make up England today. They’ve got white of egg in their veins, and their spunk is that watery it’s a marvel they can breed.” (taken from  a July 3, 1912 letter Edward Garnett received from D.H. Lawrence after Garnett  rejected his manuscript  “Sons and Lovers” )

Just look at all those wonderful descriptors. There is so much going on here that it gives me wordgasms… so I often read it multiple times… (Wordgasm another lovely non-word, but not one I  can take credit for.)

Jelly-boned, slimy, palsied, pulse-less  belly-wriggling sniveling, dribbling, dithering–they paint quite the picture.

And even better, the nouns: swines, invertebrates, soddingrottersmiserable soddingrotter. I’m not entirely sure what are soddingrotters or why they’re miserable, but they sound nasty… Soddingrotters… It just rolls of the tongue like phlegm.

But it’s that last sentence, that final slam that elevates it to the sublime.

“They’ve got white of egg in their veins, and their spunk is that watery it’s a marvel they can breed.”

By insulting someone’s  spunk (aka jism, cum, man juice…) he crosses an invisible boundary into shudderland. Spunk-talk makes (most) people uncomfortable. His words are intentionally obscene; and therefore, profane.

Profanity doesn’t have to be profane. Sure, there are many vulgar, fun to use words that are obnoxious, but profane… not all of them. Take the word fuck, offensive when used well, but more times than not, it’s neutral. “Did you try that new restaurant? Their desserts are fucking awesome.”  It needs help getting its profane on. While Felcher on the other hand, derived from felching, is fairly profane all on its own:

felching, n. the act of licking fresh semen out of a vagina or anus; American(I suck a mean dick and I’m not afraid to swallow, but felching just doesn’t appeal to me.) Munier, Alexis (2010-09-18). The Big Black Book of Very Dirty Words (p. 126). F+W Media, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Now the N-word (you know the one) is so profane, I’m averse to type it out even as part of an intellectual discussion. It’s that emotionally loaded (and if it’s in of the lyrics of your favorite hip-hop song and you’re an older Caucasoid such as myself,  you should probably just mumble that part… unless you’re trying to be profane.)

In the next post I’ll discuss different types of insults and their construction.


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