Stephen Fry on the Joys of Swearing.

It pretty much goes without saying that I’m a cusser — that much is obvious just from the title and tagline of this blog — it’s one of the few vices I have. It’s a habit I’m not at all ashamed of and which I take a certain amount of enjoyment in engaging in. So does Stephen Fry it would appear as he discusses in this clip from the celebration of his 50th Birthday in 2007:

For the record, I do swear to make up for a stunningly small vocabulary. It’s the only way I can sound anything close to eloquent. Fuck.

As found over at Pharyngula.

16 comments

  1. He gave some anecdata that I’ve long believed myself and always wondered if it’s true. It has been my experience that the biggest swearers are often possessing great vocabularies themselves. Someone should do a study.

  2. I observe that Fry & Laurie achieved their humor using a minimum of actual swear words and that part of the amusement lies in their clever euphemisms. Furthermore, Fry swears very little in his defense of swearing, using it very selectively for wry emphasis. I do not, therefore, take his argument as a defense of the mindlessly ever-other-word cussing that I hear dribbling out from the most benighted of my adolescent students, who wouldn’t know their pimholes from a fusker.

  3. Work in a prison – you could surface roads with the language from both sides of the door.

    Re the court clip – One of the funny things is when I read the court transcripts – and imagining some judge in wig and gown saying things like “You then told the officer to ‘Shove it up your fucking arse, you wanker’” in that dry method judges have.

  4. Heh. Swearing. I have definitely been accused of swearing too much. Over the years I have come to swear less, due to the general aging of my…um..what was that word? Er, my fucking ability to care if other bastards like my word choice or not.

    Damn. I USED to have a vocabulary.. Guess the swearing allowed it to get rusty. Well, that and the god damned marijuana.

    Shit.

  5. I prefer to use words which sound as if they SHOULD be swearwords but aren’t, then watch the listeners do a double take ;-)

    J.Peasmold Gruntfuttock (a pheasant plucker ) ;-)

  6. I have no fucking idea what this wanker is talking about. Oh, is he British? That certainly explains his lack of English vocabulary. ;)

    Peace.

  7. Swearing is fucking great.

    Censorship is an outrage. It is a person who knows more than he thinks you ought to. Not only is he saying “I do not find this worthy to hear” but he’s saying that you wouldn’t either.

    I would prefer someone to say what they mean. If I don’t like it, I know to avoid them. If they censor themselves (or someone else does it) then the truth is being obscured, and I can’t make an informed judgment.

    Censorship is telling someone else what they can say using my sensibilities as an excuse. I find that insulting.

    Swear… or don’t as you see fit. I’ll decide if you’re a tosser or not regardless.

    Fuck!

  8. I learned the effectiveness of the f-word after my youngest came home from college. You can call attention to the seriousness of your statement or shock the piss out of someone with it’s use. So there Fuck!

  9. Fry and Christopher Hitchens had a great debate with a couple of Catholics a while back, which is on youtube, over the question of whether or not Catholicism is a force for good in society. I would recommend that to anyone who has not seen it.

    The attempts to stop “bad language” and the efforts to try to make people feel bad for using it are rather hypocritical; I seriously doubt that many people get through a week without cursing, if any. But “Judge not lest ye be judged” has certainly disappeared from the conservative and Religious Right vocabulary.

    “Yes, you can prick your finger, but don’t finger your prick!”-George Carlin, RIP

  10. One of my favorite swearing stories came from the Christian sociologist, Tony Campolo. He used to give a lecture – to Christian audiences – that opened like this:

    I’m going to tell you three things. First, 30,000 children starved to death last night. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. Third, you’re more upset that I said “shit” than that 30,000 kids died last night.

    What a great way to tell his audience to get their priorities right!

  11. I do swear to make up for a stunningly small vocabulary.

    Does that mean that you are definitely going to improve your vocabulary?

    English is such a confusing language!

    ;)

    Peace.

  12. @ Will

    Well said!

    By the way. Let me throw in a “shit” for good measure, to walk on the joke’s grave a little

  13. Please head on over to Toomanytribbles. There’s a great speech by Steven Pinker on the subject of swearing.

  14. @ the chaplain, love that story! Thanks for sharing. I find myself having to moderate how I talk around friends because some of them that don’t curse much seem to be more at odds with my mouth. But then I figure we are all adults, fuck it.

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