Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Swear code

On CNN today, an article about the swear (or curse) words invented in the original Battlestar Galactica series. One of these, "feldergarb" as in 'load of feldergarb' didn't make it to the new series but another one 'frack' or, apparently, now spelled 'frak,' did. This one is used appropriately thus: 'frak off.'

Our household was already up with all of this. We had come to an agreement with the children that they could use the word 'frak' in polite conversation rather than its illrupted but equally meaning cousin. Of course, we didn't adopt feldergarb but instead the Orkan (a la Mork & Mindy) phrase, "shazbot" to be used in the form 'load of shazbot.' This has worked quite well in both giving them (and I guess us) something to say and also in highlighting the paradoxes of swearing (you know, why the frack to people really care anyway?) and coming to no apparent resolution in explaining that.

This reminds me of a plan a friend of mine's parents undertook to deal with this. They made up their own swear words and told their children never to say them. That, of course, meant that they said them all of the time. But the genius of this was they never said the culturally recognised swear words and it was only years later that their children saw through it all.