Freedom of Expression and the Word Fuck

As I am writing this I have to clarify my situation. I am a business student who loves the English language. As a business student I did not start fresh but already had experience in full-time employment. I worked in different environments, from dirty ones to offices and white shirts over the years. Everywhere I worked people swore. Mockery, sarcasm and cynicism were often aptly accompanied with profane language such as fuck.

The act of swearing is a method of venting one’s frustrations and one’s happiness thus I for one appreciate swearing when I need to express myself. From taking a walk to smoking a cigarette to profanities people all have their methods to deal with daily situations. Thus I find it strange that some people consider the act of swearing to be negative behaviour. Swearing can be unpleasant for some people yet it is just a verbal way to express oneself. Fuck is an English word that expresses an emotion and as such is acceptable for that purpose.

Principally, as an individual raised in Western Europe with Western values I find that everyone is entitled to freedom of expression. For me that freedom extends to all words one prefers to use as it is up to me to listen or to ignore the message. Additionally when someone is motivated and gives reasons for his or her message there is always the option to ask questions. One can say “fuck yeah, I love … because …”. One can also say “fucking hell, I do not understand why … does this and that etcetera” and the message is clear enough.

The perception of fuck as negative language is something I disagree with completely. Fuck is the kind of word that reinforces a message. It is a versatile enough word to not be pigeon-holed by its popular use in swearing. Often when a word is perceived as ‘negative language’ it is due to people connect it to its popular usage, stereotypical use and their own linguistic preferences. A typical example is the word shit. Shit means excrement, faeces, digestive droppings, object(s) or simply nothing at all and then ‘shit’ acts just like fuck. Language is language and how one uses their given verbal language is up to that person.

Fuck and formal language do place one in a difficult situation. In formal events it acceptable to say “how amusing” instead of saying “fuck this bullshit”. Formalities and their conventions always depend on the given context. Because the given context can be delicate it is accepted to avoid everything that can disturb the formal event. In formal events the avoidance of swearing makes sense. There are plenty other ways to express satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

Politically correct and diplomatic language used in everyday situations by officials and influential people is also mostly devoid of any kind of swearing. When officials and for instance politicians address minorities, social issues or human rights the words are always carefully chosen. It is understandable to do so. Though when the subject matter is about confirmed criminal or anti-social behaviour it sometimes seems unnecessary to not address it directly. I believe an official or politician who genuinely swears more than a slick politically correct speaker.

Fuck and censorship are also important to address. The act of censorship for politically motivated reasons is one of the things I wholeheartedly despise. Additionally censoring swear words because they are culturally offensive when it come to artistic work is just as despicable. Sometime political and cultural values in society overlap and certain art is censored. When art in question is available as a good or service that can be optionally consumed or ignored the censorship does not make sense. A point in case is music with swearing in which the swearing itself is removed. Let the consumer or appreciative decide as everyone can choose for oneself.

In short fuck is one of my favourite words in the English language. I use it express how happy or unhappy I may be. With regards to freedom of expression people swear and they have their reasons for doing so. The notion of negative language does not make sense to me. Formal events of course require avoidance of formally unacceptable language. Political correctness is sometimes too correct for me as I value honesty more than hiding behind diplomatic formulations. When political and cultural correctness lead to censorship I fail to see the point of even tolerating the artistic expression. Fuck like many other swear words expresses an emotion and is an integral part of the English language.

In addition I have to mention that after reading among others Orwell’s “1984”, Huxley’s “A Brave New World” every form of banning linguistic expressions strikes me as a suppression of freedom of expression. I a world where people are not allowed to express themselves in their choice of words it seems to better to be silent and to rebel. Therefore my last sentence is dedicated to one of my favourite words. Fuck is a fucking great word.