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The Power of Obscenity

Is it really bad language?

By Samantha ParrishPublished 9 months ago Updated 9 months ago 4 min read
Screenshot from “The People Vs. Larry Flynt”

Growing up, we're taught that obscene words are bad.

What I’m about to share about obscene language is a different side than the repertoire the language is defined as.

When I was in school, when my classmates would cuss it was some form of pride or street cred. If someone said “crap” in fifth grade they were considered a hero because they had the courage to say a word we all knew was bad. Crap was the crudest word around in fifth grade...

…Until middle school.

When I got to sixth grade on a scale of one to 10, it was like a 100. Hearing my classmates say words more obscene than crap just blew my mind. Every single word was said that I knew about.

In time, those words ended up becoming a part of my pallet of vocabulary. You’re going to pick up words a part of an environment, that really isn’t bad and it can’t be helped.

But it is frowned upon if someone says a word that shouldn’t be used.

I had to face facts that I have a potty mouth. There are certain words that I do like to use when it does help out a statement that I’m saying, I’ve learned how to use these words and I’ve used them carelessly in my childhood, but that was natural to figure out how you want to use words in your vocabulary part of your identity. Cuss words should be treated the same way as any other words and vocabulary, it all depends on how you use it.

When I began writing my books, I was very unsatisfied with the first story that I was creating, it didn’t feel real or genuine, but when I finally took the cap off the bottle and incorporated the words I normally use, writing became easier for me. I realize that I shouldn’t feel shame for knowing how I use these words and that I don’t use them carelessly, I use them strategically. I didn't count on being a writer that creates characters that cuss, not for the shock value.

Doug Walker of Channel Awesome said this,

“Shock value only has meaning if there’s intelligence behind it.”

We look at vulgarity as a lack of class or a character. But really, if someone’s gonna use that word, the F-bomb, the S-word, or others. There’s a reason why someone had to go to a link to use that word but it had to be used.

On RuPaul’s drag race, there was a comedy challenge that the drag queens had to put up a very good standup routine. One of the drag queens consistently kept using the F-bomb to make things funny and one of the comedians that trained them had to give them a piece of advice to say, “the F-bomb can only be funny if you’re gonna use it, you can’t just say the word and think people are gonna laugh.”

Samuel L. Jackson is a man known for his career of unusual or tough characters. People have associated him with the many F-bombs. Not many know that he suffers from anxiety. He admitted in an interview he uses the F-word to help himself remember his lines.

There is a film that provides the perfect information to correctly teach people about obscenity in our society. In the Milos Forman film The People Vs. Larry Flynt, the idea of obscenity is challenged. Larry Flynt was taken to court on numerous occasions for his magazines to his potty mouth. He said he had a right to show anything under the power of the first amendment. He fought for our right to show anything we want, we live in a world where we can look at obscene things or make the choice to not look at them.

It's as simple as that.

As my friend, the great poet Rob “Ace”Holmes said,

“The curse words bridge the gap in vocabulary…it just shows how powerful language is to get a point across…if you learn how to make it work for you…Sometimes you do need that one word or a couple of words to get the point across.”

Obscene language is a part of our human language, people can choose not to listen to it or they choose not to say it, but the people that do say it, they have a right to say it. They get their point across.


About the Creator

Samantha Parrish

What's something interesting you always wanted to know?

Instagram: parrishpassages

tiktok: themysticalspacewitch

My book Inglorious Ink is now available on Amazon!

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