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"/>In Defense of Profanity - Ann McMaster M.A., L.P.C.


In Defense of Profanity

Background: Growing up, profanity was considered punishable by quarantine. Included in all the normal profane words were: darn, damn, and “buns” (when referencing a person’s backside). My mother’s oft-heard litany, “Profanity is the effort of a feeble mind to express itself forcibly.” (Spencer Kimball quote I know by heart.)

When traveling with my grandparents and great aunt, “gosh” and “golly” were apparent substitutes for taking the name of the Lord in vain – an especially heinous sin.

In college, I heard profanity bandied about with great freedom, which took a bit of getting used to. One day, my good friend and boon companion from junior high days, with a backstory similar to mine, in a car by ourselves, windows rolled up, started screaming the “bad words” as loudly as possible, then collapsed in paroxysms of laughter. I waited to be struck dead. Nothing happened.

It was a bit confusing, cuz no punishment was meted out. AND, I hadn’t suddenly turned into a slut.

From the viewpoint of several decades later, having given myself the right to say any word I want, I have concluded that, certainly, words have power …and they are only words. I have the option of choosing which words to use at any given time. That is Mastery of my own mouth. And I do love the words s**t and f**k. They are literally and truly organic – and offer relief from utter frustration or boredom or stuckness, etc. (They also suit my inner rebel.)

3 Responses

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    Thank you for sharing this, Ann. I enjoy that freedom of expression too. And now, if my verbal release is met with real or feigned offense, I can smile at the thought that Ann McMaster and Mark Twain might well have said the same thing.

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