Doesn't it seem a bit disproportionate, though? It does to me. I too
am curious what aspect of the human condition causes us to attribute
so much power to these words. The word "fuck" for example - though it
has an accepted definition in common use its meaning is entirely
contextual. It doesn't even convey a useful concept, therefore. So,
why is its presence in speech (or writing) so important to us?
Why does a "wardrobe malfunction" produce a massive
including congressional investigations? Beats
me. Probably has something to do with the Puritans and maybe that
repression amplifies the response.
Having said that, I do live in a less prudish part of the world (more
sex on TV, more tolerance for public nudism, less sensitivity to
obscene language). Even here, scatological references don't have much
place in public discourse - you might occasionally hear 'Scheisse' from
a politician's mouth, but it's an exception.
An interesting question is why modesty
it lives on, and whether it will survive the Internet. It seems pretty
deeply rooted, but I think that question belongs on a different list...
Peter Stevens, CSM, CSPO, CSP
tel: +41 44 586 6450