What do Isiah Thomas, Al Sharpton and this creepy dude all have in common? They all think cursing is the bee's knees! And we think we can all generally agree (except maybe for Jim O'Connor) that there's a certain joie de vivre in cursing, as long as it's not overused. But as the Times pointed out recently, three of the Top 10 pop hits a week ago all have curse-laden choruses that can't be played on the radio. So is cursing becoming too normal?
The New Republic argues that language is ever-mutable, changing before our eyes without us really noticing how much it's changing. If anything, the issue is not that the swearwords are appearing too often; it's that they are losing their meaning: "Taboos once kept English curse words truly profane, but the cult of authenticity key to modern Western identity has vastly weakened those taboos. Hence in recent decades, the grand old four-letter words and their ilk have been swept into the vanillafication hopper." As LCD Soundsystem might put it, they're losing their edge.
And yet, there is at least one great exception to this argument, one word which carries its weight and causes controversy everywhere it goes: the N-word. The recent brouhaha over the sanitized versions of Mark Twain's classic Huckleberry Finn certainly bears this out. But what about all the other fun words which are sprinkled throughout our everyday conversations?
The book Trends in Teenage Talk: Corpus Compilation, Analysis and Findings, analyzes teenagers' use of language, and in particular, the development of each generations unique uses of "slanguage". They have a fun listing comparing the top ten most used curse words by teens in the east coast of the US and the UK: the top ones for east coasters were "fuck", "shit", "god", "hell", "jesus christ", "bitch", "ass", "damn", "piss(ed)", and "goddamn." We're surprised certain words aren't on here (dick, motherfucker, asshole), but that study was from 1999. So we thought we'd do our own informal survey, and ask: what's your favorite curse word?