So my Dad read my post about our visit to the Grange ['Mermaids and The Aristocrockery' - July 10 2008] and berated me for resorting to the use of the ‘f’ word. It demonstrated, he said, a paucity of vocabulary. He objected to what he saw as its gratuitous use.
I, obviously, disagreed. I chose the word and the moment to use it very carefully and would argue that no other word at that point in the post would have been as effective.
I have to confess that I adore slang and swear words when they are used well. I love the film ‘Snatch’ which is an orgiastic concerto of foul language. I don’t like swear words used violently or with hatred but I love them used comically or for dramatic effect. The 'f' word is so satisfying to say or to hear when deployed by a skilled practitioner.
The self-same dad, so infuriated by my cussed ways, also taught me ‘Old words are best. Old words when short are best of all.’ Few are shorter or older than the word ‘fuck’ which first appeared in the English language in the early sixteenth century.
I feel the need to celebrate the most stunning uses of the 'f' word in the ‘arts’. I’m starting a list of the truly inspired uses of the 'f' word - where to remove it would fatally damage the impact of the context:
Here we go with my first two - please send me your favourites too:
I’ll try and find the clip but when Ray Barboni (played by Dennis Farina) arrives in LA to look for Chili Palmer (John Trovolta) his sycophantic limo driver tells him ‘They say the smog is the reason we have such beautiful sunsets in LA’.
Later, when Ray Barboni is talking to Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman) he repeats the nugget he has heard from the limo driver, but with feeling:
‘They say the fuckin’ smog is the fuckin’ reason you have such beautiful fuckin’ sunsets in LA’
John Travolta (again) is at Jack Rabbit Slims with Uma Thurman. She orders a five dollar shake which he just has to try. Here’s what happens:
I’ll post some more as they occur ;-)