June 14, 2004

How to… Swear

Well, for those who couldn’t guess, this is the predictable Lyle® post – Swearing for Beginners.
Swearing was always supposed to be the last refuge of the illiterate and ill-educated. A “Gentleman” would have enough of a vocabulary to express their frustration without resorting to a woad-coloured shade of Anglo-Saxon. Well, B*ll*cks to that. This is the 21st century, and swearing is the province of all. Chuff your equality, Stuff your Suffrage – being Sweary is the great leveller.
Even among amateur swearers, few can decry the satisfaction of the brief scream of “F*ck it!” when the Ikea Smegg wardrobe turns out to have two too few screws, and as a result is utterly screwed. (Or not – as the case may be) The swift kick to the side of the aforementioned piece of furniture is optional, and really should only be attempted if a) boots are worn, and b) the furniture hasn’t fallen apart at the volume of epithet.
And yes, I said amateur swearers. There are definitely degrees of swearydom. And I, the Reverend Lyle (ordination certificate available on request) am about to list the levels in the Grand Order of the Pejorative.
Readers of a nervous disposition may wish to read on to something else now (and in the name of all that’s Decent, don’t go to D4D. The brave ones can click on more…

OK, that’s got rid of the namby-pamby delicate souls who go “lalalalalala” at the sound of someone saying “Oh, bother”. Bless them, it must be difficult to get through modern life with a sensibility like that. However, for those reading on, it should be pointed out that swearing CAN be perceived as offensive (mainly by bleaty little halo-holding twadge-spanners) and as such certain levels should be avoided unless in extreme circumstances. For instance, there is no need to yell “Oh, you useless Motherf*ck*ng Cun+tbag Ringlicker Fudgepieces” when the local coffeeshop has run out of bran muffins, but when it comes to Virgin Trains’ Customer Services, well hey, they’re used to it. I deal with them on a regular basis…
In the Grand Order of the Pejorative, the first layer are the novitiates. Some are knowing novitiates, others are unknowing. The unknowing are by far the most common – you can hear them in any town, shopping centre, football stadium, or general everyday situation. They’re the ones who use “F*ck” as a form of punctuation, as in “That f*cking Jane in the f*cking office, she used to be a right f*cking piece of f*cking work, then she f*cking got married to that f*cking idiot, F*cking George from Accounts, and she became boring as f*ck. Still, I f*cking chatted her up in the f*cking canteen, and well, then we had to go on that f*cking team f*cking awareness course, we were in the f*cking hotel, got f*cking talking, and then Bob’s your f*cking uncle, we were in f*cking bed, making love.
Of course, novitiates are fairly tedious (and dear Christ it shows, having been bored to tears just typing that last little lots) and the lack of imagination means that general conversation with a novitiate can become an earth-shatteringly dull experience. Knowing Novitiates are slightly different, in that they aspire to increase their knowledge of the Sweary, and thus bring some variety to their lives.
When someone progresses from the level of Novitiate – mainly by showing some variety, or talent when it comes to expressing oneself “expressively”, they become known as part of the Ordo Profanisus, or “Ordure” for short. Attention should always be paid to Ordures, as they can show great talent early on, in which case progression will be swift. However, some Ordures are made to be broken, or to be perpetually doomed to stay in the Ordure. These individuals are to be pitied, as they have seen the light, and then failed to show the necessary creativity for further progression. The c*nts.
When they have proved, by way of a witnessed session of prolonged and non-repetive profanity – whether provoked through anger and frustration, or simply to get themselves through a dire day, at which point the target of ire can be anything at all – Ordurers can be promoted to become Wazzocks of the Order. Wazzock is not a title to be confused with those who practice excessive amounts of self-love. Professional self-love people are – and should always be – known as Estate Agents and Bank Managers. There is no hope for them – but they are not Wazzocks.
To hold the role of Wazzock, the swearer must maintain certain levels of variety, along with some propensity for innovation. A Wazzock can be found in a crowd of football fans yelling “The f*cking ref’s a c*nt” – note the variety, even in these six words. Emotional umbrage is transmitted, and repetition is avoided. This is the work of a true Wazzock.
In the previous example, the swearer is a Wazzock. If the same person is then seen at the end of the match walking past the police cordons yelling “The c*nt-stubbles are all in a line. Bite me, pigboys” then it is a fair bet that they are either an Artisan of the Order, or someone in search of a kicking. To be a true Artisan there is a necessity to have displayed serious levels of creativity, in creating new words that sound sweary but actually aren’t. “Twadge” and “Twunt” are exemplars of this art, as is “cock=knocker” and “snot-gobbler”
The final level – that to which all should aspire, but only Artisans can attain – is Revered Reverend. It is a role which few ever reach, and requires constant attention to sweary details. Normal swearwords are useable, as are self-created epithets that not only sound sweary but aren’t, but then become useable as swearwords in general. The ultimate authority in this endeavour is the ubiquitous email scanner. If the filters on an email scanner decide that, for example, “Twadge” is bannable, this provides instant promotion for the Artisan creator to Revered Reverend.
Email scanners are also the great Enemy of the Order of the Pejorative. The target is to manage to be as obscene as possible while not tripping the scanner and getting the content banned. While “f*ckhead b@st@rd” may be descriptive when talking about someone, the scanner is likely to pick it up. If instead the person is described as “the scrofulous mutant offspring of a crack-hoe and a syphilitic water-buffalo” then the scanner is far more likely to simply shrug its electronic shoulders and let it through.
Additionally, the talent for propagating new swear-words into the world is a speciality of Revered Reverends. The acceptance of such a word is defined as when the Reverend if referred to by a complete stranger, using the term that they have themselves created/ dispersed. Current examples of this include “F*cknugget” and “C0ck-knocker”.
Finally, a true Revered Reverend of the Grand Order of the Pejorative can be admitted to the Council for Untested New Terms. If you see a name with the letters “RR(C.UNT)OP” then be aware you are in the presence of greatness. It should not be a surprise to hear them come up with expressions/paragraphs that can make ears wilt, and Customer Service advisors give up all hope of having a good day.
So, in conclusion I’d just like to say thank you for reading, and may you all be sweary. You bunch of bull-chuffed in flagrante deviants with a preference for Hungarian cucumbers. May all your reproductive organs go square and fester at the corners in the company of a herd of depraved inbreed knuckle-dragging flatulent Millwall fans.


5 thoughts on “How to… Swear

  1. Louis de Berniere tells a great story of a chap he worked with in a garage who had honed swearing down to a minimum:
    “The f*cking f*ckers f*cking f*cked, f*ck it”

  2. Nope – never have, never will.
    But I hear it’s a very good cause of a lot of middle-class swearing.

  3. I think you should buy some Ikea stuff to qualify your statements. You can’t truly know the swearing involved if you don’t.

  4. No, but as I’m nowhere near novitiate level, I don’t think Ikea guff would actually work in that way.
    In fact, I’d probably just end up with a bruised foot, and/or doing what I normally do, and gluing the poxy thing together instead.

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