But I'm writing now about another Madisonian: "Mr. Right", a fine columnist for our fine free weekly, the Isthmus. His latest column (here) is about the f-word. Specifically, he got a letter from a guy worried about being sent to "language jail" for using it at work. Wow, that's an image I don't think I'd thought of before. If you google it (using quotation marks to get only the exact phrase), you find very few uses of this.
More importantly, Mr. Right nails the answer here (as he often does on a wide range of topics, it seems like). Here's an excerpt:
Send you to Language Jail? F**k that! If the vice-president of the United States, one Richard B. Cheney, can use the F-word on the floor of the United States Senate, as he did in 2004 when Senator Patrick Leahy asked him about Halliburton's contracts in Iraq, then it's hard for me to imagine a place where you shouldn't use it, with the possible exception of church. For the fact is, the F-word, which long ruled as the King of All Cuss Words, the one that had your mom racing to the bathroom for a bar of soap, is on the decline. And by that I mean it gets used in mixed company so often these days that it's starting to lose its power. For instance, on "Deadwood," HBO's potty-mouthed Western, it gets used 1.48 times per minute.That's not just right, it's smart … although fup-ucked doesn't work for me. And oh yeah, I don't know if the count is real, but the Deadwood thing is out there: Click here.
And we know that because someone was fup-ucked enough to count the number of times, then post it on the web, complete with ten-minute breakdowns. But they needn't have bothered, because we're going to be hearing a lot more of the F-word in the coming years, each instance sapping its strength a little more, until all that's left is a word that means "darn" or "very," as in "Darn you!" or "That's very awesome!" Still, I have to hand it to the F-word, it's had a long, noble reign. …
… I don't know, we just seem to like to set aside certain words, endow them with special powers. They're "The Words That Shall Not Be Used." And I can't wait until we land on the next one so I can let it slip at staff meetings.
Kudos, Mr. Right!