Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Having the Appearance of Cussing, but Lacking the Power Thereof...

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Here's an interesting article on pseudo cussing. BYU is, not surprisingly, mentioned:
With cable television liberally salting shows with the four-letter word that starts with F and government regulators effectively banning the same word from broadcast airwaves, a new middle ground has opened where euphemistic substitutes for the term flourish. In fact, popular culture in general is taking a shine to the cutesy, sound-alike cousins of the expletive, which are popping up on radio and television, in ads and offices, on playgrounds and at home.
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Even toddlers are picking up the lingo. "A woman told me her 2-year-old told her to 'Shut the frickin' door,'" said Timothy Jay, author of "Cursing in America."
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Euphemisms such as "flipping," he says, are viable alternatives that traditionally protect listeners from the offensive word and protect speakers from breaking a taboo.
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Among Mormon students at Brigham Young University campuses these days, "fetch" is one substitute for the curse word, but not as popular as "flippin', freakin' and freak," says Kay Ushijima, a BYU student preparing a senior thesis on the topic.
Mormons are supposed to avoid even "the very appearance of evil." So what's the alternative? Aren't there some non-profane, non-vulgar, non-obscene exclamations out there? What about quoting Robin's expletives from the old Batman TV series ("Holy diabolical plot, Batman!")?

I served as an LDS missionary in the Taiwan Taipei Mission, where a favorite exclamation was the Chinese phrase "Zao gao!" (literally, "messy cake"). It seemed innocuous enough.

On a final note, the website of the Tabernacle Baptist Church of Lubbock, Texas seems to take the (messy) cake when it comes to avoiding cussing. They even find "Holy cow!" out-of-bounds:
Holiness is an attribute, a perfection of God in which we view God separated from all sin (morally and spiritually). A cow has no soul, it is a-moral and is without a I spirit. These kind of words have a way of making light of God's character. There also is nothing Holy about smoke. It too, is a euphemistic way of using a word with a wrong intent to make it seem acceptable, and with lightness (in vain).
(Cows don't have souls? Ah, never mind, that's a discussion for another day.)