Monday, June 24, 2013

The "F word"

When I was 16, I wrote an essay for my favorite English teacher, and at one point I wrote "copulating" as a substitute for the word that was needed in that particular place. My teacher was not amused. I took care never to trespass in that way thereafter. Times have certainly changed. Until quite recently, it was rare to see the "F word" in print, and it is still not my style to use it in speech or in writing. That was just the way I was brought up. We also see "freaking", "flipping", etc. I have recently read two books by favorite authors. The first was Our Kind of Traitor, by John Le Carré. The leading character in the story is a Russian oligarch, who wants to defect to the UK with his family. It's a clever story, as are most novels by that author, but my point here is not the plot, rather the Russian's constant use of the once- forbidden word. It was cleverly used, and seemed totally authentic, but my reaction can best be described as mentally wincing at the word's constant use. I have also long enjoyed the Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell. It has been a few years since she wrote The Book of the Dead, but once again there is very liberal use of that word. Not that I am shocked, but a little surprised. O, wtf!

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