Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Her: When I first moved, I thought the place would be, like...
Me: Like what?
Her: The H-word.
Me: Hollywood?
Her: No.
Me: The Holy land?
Her: No, no! C'mon, you know what I mean.
Me: Hell, I have no idea.
Me: I thought the guy was maybe an asshole, and after I met him, you know what?
Him: He was a-hole?
Me: No, he wasn't an a-hole. He wasn't an asshole either.
Her2: Shit!
Me: What?
Her2: I forgot my keys. And I sorry.
Me: We can just go back and get 'em. No need to apologize.
Her2: I'm not talking about the keys.
Me: What do you mean?
Her2: Well, because of my religious beliefs, my values, I don't like to use that language.
Me: What language? What'd you say?
Her2: "Shit." Oh, shit. I'm sorry again.
Me: I forgive you. But were you talking to me or Jesus?
Him2: ...and then the effin' studio wouldn't pay me.
Me: Which studio?
Him2: Disney.
Me: Okay.
Him2: That's who I've been talking about all along. Who'd you think I meant?
Me: I dunno... Fox? DreamWorks? You said... Oh! You meant the fuckin' studio.
Him2: Right.
Me: But you said "effin'".
Him2: Right.
Me: Why didn't you just say "fuckin'"?
Him2: Well, that's kind of crude.
Me: Fuck yeah it is. But no one else can fuckin' hear us. Who the fuck are you gonna offend here? Me and my fuckin' virgin ears?
Him2: You can say whatever you want. I don't like to talk like that.
Me: Fine, but why say "effin'"?
Him2: What's wrong with it?
Me: I don't know if it's wrong. I was asking a serious question: Why use euphemisms? See, I find language fascinating. Not just what people say or don't say, but what they almost say. I'm not advocating that people use four-letter-words but I would advocate that people use 'em or don't. Is it that you want to say "fuckin'" but you're only going halfway?
Him2: I don't know. I do know you think about this too much.
Me: There's a reason I do. I wonder if maybe you've been affected by the media. The FCC and censorship... it's crazy sometimes. I'm finding at my TV job, the rules at what we can get away with and what's taboo, it begs to be parodied. And as a result, inherently ironic terms enter the mainstream. I remember back when Howard Stern was on "free FM", responding to critics who said he was too crude. He said "Eff them!" Now I hear that verb so often I wonder if it should be in the dictionary. Is it a synonym or does it have a slightly new meaning? I submit that when I say "friggin'", the differences in definition from "fuckin'" are subtle but distinct. Or maybe it's like the old cartoons, that represented curse words with typewriter symbols -- the percentage and asterisk and tic-tac-toe board...
Him2: Well, I don't work for television or radio or with comic strips.
Me: But you are being screwed by the studio.
Him2: The effin' studio.
Me: Right. And it's not just us in entertainment. I notice lots of people do this and it always stands out to me. Bloggers, on their own personal websites write things like "eff-dash-dash-dash". It also makes me wonder about the Jewish "Gee-dash-dee" substitution for "God", when all words are merely symbols and representations... My religious friends would probably have something to say about that. But don't get me started on the haphazard handling of political correctness regarding ethnic terms. Words are powerful, but only in as much as we give them power, you know what I mean?
Him2: All this because I was talking about Disney.
Me: Well, you confused me.
Him2: Why? You really thought I meant Fox or DreamWorks?
Me: "Effin'" sounds like "F.N.", as in maybe Fox Networks.
Him2: Oh, okay. And DreamWorks?
Me: It's DreamWorks SKG. As in Spielberg, Katzenberg, Geffen. I thought you maybe you meant "effin' Geffen".
Him2: Uh-huh.
Me: 'Cause, y'know... that rhymes.
Him2: You're effin' weird.


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