Sunday, November 04, 2007

THE FINE ART OF PROFANITY

There's a real art to being a good swearer. It's a tightly nuanced balance between timing, the unexpected, intonation, and a special intent that betrays a subtext ranging from mischief, to hard sincerity, to anger, to seduction, or perhaps to irony. And above all, I feel it's important that there's a comforting sense of you being given permission not only to say fuck or cunt back, but also to engage in actions that might otherwise not be appropriate.

The risk is that it's all too easy tip over into sounding trite or come across as ugly, or worse, just plain inarticulate; and therefore it's a rare rhetorical quality to find in a person.

Now, I like it when a man can do that, and to me, when a woman can do that, it's particularly attractive.

I've been fortunate enough to have a few friends with this elite skill, though one such expert practitioner of the profane that some of us (in the UK?) might be familiar with is Daisy Donovan, the TV comedienne and actress, daughter of Terence has it, thereby portraying that promise of intelligence, of unfettered imagination, of freedom to be herself. What more could you want?

You can enjoy seeing her in action in the recent black comedy Death At A Funeral where she's well cast in a role that, as far as one can tell, is pretty faithful to her real life persona.

7 comments:

G said...

what is also rather appealing is to hear the elderly swear, especially old woman.

swearing also seems to take on a finer artform in American gangster films.

You know you're a fuckin' mumbling stuttering little fuck, you know that?

The site below has some glorious examples of Joe Pesci in fine form -

http://henancius.martin-scorsese.net/pesci/jpgoodfe.html

William Bennett said...

yes, I guess we all have our own tastes in the matter and the 'Goodfellas' mobster style strikes me personally as essentially an aid to inarticulacy with merely an intent to intimidate

joseph said...

absolutely; and what a shame that the rich vocabulary of, say, 17th to 19th century english language swearing has devolved into the tedious cliches of the present day. while i certainly admire a talent for inspired cursing, dirty talk has never been hugely appealing to me. what i find so attractive about daisy donovan are her wit, intelligence and sense of humor. these are among the very sexiest attributes a woman can display, from my perspective. it's very frustrating that her work isn't more accessible in america. 'death at a funeral' received pretty dismal reviews in america; was there anything enjoyable about it besides ms donovan?

Jeff said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gershon_Legman

Kai said...

Just noticed that Glengarry Glen Ross is among your favorite movies. Now that one contains some real first class profanity, most notably in that one proceless scene featuring that Blake character berating the staff.

Miss Kerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miss Kerry said...

The fine art of swearing is a definite quality that one cant but adore in someone well versed in its linguistic tongue trippings.
One of the finest moments I can recall, was finding out a close personal friend, balanced his cut glass english accent, with a equally charming ability to write/talk the foulest smut as well as a well turned phrase.

The fine balance of profanity, charm, culture and sheer obscene delight in using ones words well, is a rare taste.
On finding Peter Ca
paldi's wonderfully amusing work in "The Thick of it," I remarked to myself that if he ever decided to become a whore, I'd clearly fork out the cash, no matter how pricey just to see what he could come up with for sex.