The History Of The F Word
In the past there were many words that were considered bad. Some of them are not used anymore, but others still exist. One of those words is the f-word. When it comes to using the f-word nowadays, some people think that they have no reason to use it because it’s been banned from movies and TV shows. However, this isn’t true!
There are plenty of examples where people still say “f–k” or “motherf–ker.” The word has even been used in songs.
There are two reasons why people use the f-word today. First of all, it’s a common swear word. Second of all, it’s just fun to say! If you’re going to say something bad, then at least do it with style! You might want to consider using another word instead if you really feel like saying something nasty.
Why Is The F-Word Bad?
Some people argue that the f-word is bad because it’s vulgar. They claim that it’s rude to say the word out loud. While this may be true, it doesn’t make the word bad. What makes the f-word bad is when people use it as a way to insult someone else. For example, if somebody says something like “You’re so stupid,” or “Your mother would beat your s–t.” In this case, they are being mean.
But what if someone says “Your mom is so stupid,” or “Your mother would beat your s–t.” There are two types of insults here, but they aren’t considered bad. Instead, these insults are meant to be funny. That’s because they’re not really targeting someone specifically. In this case, the word “f–k” is no longer an insult.
Instead, it’s just a descriptor.
The F-Word Meaning Bad
When you use the f-word, you are being mean. You are insulting others, and this is a bad thing to do. When you mean “f–k” in an insultive way, you’re saying that the person you’re insulting is bad in some way! This is not okay to do. Another way to say something similar while being nice is by saying “You suck.
The f-word meaning bad is not something you should be saying in polite conversation. It’s possible to get your point across while being a little more tactful. If you’re telling a dirty joke, then the word “f–k” will probably fit in pretty well with the rest of the joke. If you’re just telling a story, then it’s best to leave the word out.
Was The F-Word Used In The 1700s?
People like to joke around by claiming that the f-word wasn’t used in polite conversation until fairly recently. In fact, some people seem to think it only became common after the Vietnam War. While it’s true the f-word was considered inappropriate for a long time, it still saw a lot of use among the less proper of society. For example, it’s been found in literature dating back to the 1700s.
That being said, it’s undeniable that the f-word has gotten more and more common as time’s gone on. It’s still not okay to use a word like this in most formal situations. You might be able to get away with it if you’re in a band, or something similar. Other than that, though, you should probably hold back from using it. After all, you never know who might find it offensive!
F-Word In The News
The f-word has gotten a lot of coverage lately, for all the wrong reasons. That’s because in recent years it’s been the center of some pretty high profile court cases. Comedians have been taken to court for saying the word during stand up routines. Some music artists have even gotten into trouble for singing it in songs!
These cases are all fairly infamous examples of the f-word meaning bad. After all, people claimed it was inappropriate for a reason. Still, these court cases are pretty fascinating anecdotes about the f-word, and all the history behind it.
First Incident – Pacifica Foundation V. FCC
The first of these famous cases goes all the way back to the 1970s. That’s when a radio DJ by the name of George Carlin released an album called “Class Clown.” The FCC soon got wind of one of the jokes on this album. Carlin had talked about a list of words you couldn’t say on the radio. These words were known as the “Seven Words You Can’t Say On TV.” Carlin proceeded to go on a rant, saying all of these words over and over.
Some people listening to the radio found this hilarious, while others were angry that he was being so vulgar. It didn’t matter which one they were, though. What mattered is that people were offended by Carlin. The FCC soon got a bunch of complaints, which led to an investigation. They then ruled that the joke was indecent, and fined the radio station that had aired it.
The station decided to fight the fine, and took it all the way to the Supreme Court. They claimed that by penalizing the station for something so small, the government was violating freedom of speech. The Supreme Court didn’t see it that way though, and ruled that FCC did not violate the First Amendment. Carlin’s use of the seven dirty words on the radio was ruled indecent.
Carlin, for his part, claimed that he made the whole thing up. He said that he had just included those words in his act to see how people would react to them. He never actually played the bit on the air, but by the time he found out people were mad, it was too late. The damage was already done.
Second Incident – Pacifica Foundation V. FCC 2: Electric Boogaloo
This next case started a lot like the last one… With a George Carlin album! This time, Carlin’s album was called “Occupation: Foole.” It included a segment by Carlin discussing the seven dirty words, just like he did on “Class Clown.” Of course, as you might expect, this got attention from people who were offended.
Once again, the FCC fined a radio station for airing Carlin’s bit. Once again, the station decided to fight it in court. This time, though, the court ruled in favor of the station. They claimed that the FCC did not have the right to limit speech in this manner. They claimed it was a violation of the First Amendment.
This case has become pretty important in terms of free speech law. It has even been cited in more recent cases, such as the case where a police officer won a settlement after swearing on the job. Still, it doesn’t mean you can just go on the air and drop the F-bomb whenever you feel like it. The FCC does still have limits on speech, they just have to be a lot more careful about how they do it.
Third Incident – CBS V. FCC
This incident started with a TV movie called “Porky’s Revenge!” It was a raunchy comedy that was all about Porky Pig attempting to have the Russian National Hockey Team eliminated so that the U.S. could win the Olympic Gold. At one point, there was a scene where one of the players walks in on a couple having…
Well, you can guess what they’re doing.
Not long after this movie aired, the FCC started getting complaints. In fact, there were so many that the complaints alone warranted an investigation. They soon found out that the movie contained a brief glimpse of human genitals during the scene in question.
You might be wondering how this could even happen. The show was rated TV-G, which is the most family-friendly rating you can get. Well, the director claimed that he tried to get it changed to a TV-PG, but that the request was lost in the mail. The censors at the time claimed that this was a lie, and they had proof that he knew the movie was going to be rated TV-G when he submitted it.
Once again, the courts ruled against the FCC. The appeals court claimed that even if the TV-G rating was a mistake, it wasn’t bad enough to warrant an investigation.
The thing is, the higher-ups at the FCC didn’t really care about any of this. They claimed that they had been investigating the network, not the movie. They claimed that by making this movie, the entire CBS network was breaking FCC regulations and would have their license revoked.
The courts didn’t buy this argument, either. They claimed that the movie was a special case that didn’t reflect on the entire network in any way. Of course, this didn’t stop the FCC from periodically harassing the CBS network over this movie for years to come.
Fourth Incident – Super Bowl Babies
Do you remember this Super Bowl?
If you don’t, don’t worry. Neither do I.
For some reason, the FCC decided to make a big deal out of the fact that the Super Bowl was rated TV-14. They claimed that because of this, there must be massive levels of profanity and violence in the game. Despite this, they didn’t actually find any. They did, however, decide to fine the NFL a record $500,000 dollars, which works out to roughly $1 for every person that actually watched the Super Bowl.
The NFL didn’t take this lying down. Their legal team tore the FCC a new one in the courtroom and forced them to return the fine. The kicker is that the game was on CBS that year, so technically they won their lawsuit against a network other than their own.
The court returned the fine, but this was still a big blow to the FCC’s reputation. They were now seen as an organization that used loopholes and technicalities to deny due process. They were also seen as petty and frivolous. It didn’t help that after the Super Bowl incident, the FCC found even more profanity in other programs.
At this point, it seemed like the FCC was just trying to get attention. This didn’t change until the final incident.
Fifth Incident – Janet Jackson and Super Bowl 49
For those that don’t remember, there was a similar incident during the last Super Bowl. During a halftime show, singer Justin Timberlake accidentally exposed singer Janet Jackson’s right side boob for a nanosecond. The rest of the performance was fine, but this one moment caused massive outrage.
To this day, I still don’t understand why. This was on network TV, not cable. It wasn’t like a bunch of kids were watching, as the Super Bowl has a fanbase consisting of people from ages 3 to 83. Most of which were either rooting for or against the Patriots at that time.
Regardless, the FCC decided to throw a flag on this incident. They claimed that this moment of nudity was inappropriate for television and fined CBS $550,000 dollars. This is the largest fine in American television history.
The NFL and its players’ union were furious over this decision, stating that the FCC “has set a double standard” as basketball players regularly expose their buttocks and get away with it. Others complained that this was hypocritical as you could watch gruesome footage of people getting blown up by land mines on TV, but god forbid you see a boob.
I’m not defending either side here because I think they’re both wrong. While I agree that the FCC is a bunch of hypocrites that shouldn’t exist in the first place, I also don’t think Timberlake should’ve been so careless. This didn’t hurt anyone, but it did cancel CBS’s contract to air UFC fights (It went to Fox instead).
But anyway, this leads us to the incident that ultimately caused the FCC’s downfall.
Sixth Incident – End of the FCC?
This one actually isn’t on TV. Instead, it’s on the Internet. A long time ago, there was a man by the name of Robert Hawley. He was a politician that wanted to run for Governor of Missouri, but he suffered from a speech impediment.
He stuttered and tripped over his words a lot during his campaign speeches and other events. He sounded like Carrot Top doing stand-up. As a result, he never got very far in politics. This incident probably would’ve been forgotten, had it not been for the creation of the Internet.
Soon after it’s invention, the web became home to a lot of flash animations. People were able to create “cyber cartoons” that could be watched for entertainment purposes. One of these cartoons featured a stick figure representation of Hawley struggling to get his words out. He’d try to start a sentence, mess up, then repeat this process over and over again.
This became a popular animated cartoon called “Stuttering Bob”. In later years, more cartoons were made using the same character, but the name was dropped as a way to differentiate it from the original.
The whole idea of such a silly cartoon floating around in an ocean of cat videos may seem odd, but it’s really not. This was during the infancy of the Internet, when people were fascinated by everything computer-related. In addition, there wasn’t any real competition from other types of media like there is today. If you wanted to see something funny or interesting, you went online.
As the years went on, society got lazier and more cynical. The “funny” part was dropped in lieu of more cynical content. Instead of being happy and laughing at the cartoons, people now liked to watch stick figures die in horrible ways.
The animations were no longer just drawings moving across a screen. Some of them were created with programs that made them look like they were 3D, while others had unique effects applied to them. Despite the increased quality and graphic depictions of violence, people still enjoyed watching these cartoons.
Maybe it’s because people secretly hated each other and enjoyed watching the misfortune of others. Maybe it’s because the cartoons were just so terrible and graphic that it became a form of entertainment in and of itself. Whatever the reason, these videos became extremely popular online.
This type of online video is called “frag movies” because of the word’s association with video games. When you kill an opponent in a first person shooter, the act is called “fragging”. When a cartoon character gets killed in a video, it’s called “fragging”.
These cartoons were so popular that people began making them for a living. There were even companies that hired people exclusively to make these videos. Some companies, like the one that Carla worked for, did both animated and live-action frag videos. It wasn’t uncommon to see a live-action character get killed in one of these movies.
This type of entertainment was extremely graphic and very realistic looking. The cartoons were also getting worse and worse as time went on. It went from killing video game characters to killing babies to killing homeless people to killing pregnant women to killing children… you get the idea.
These movies would’ve never gotten any kind of attention from the moral guardians of the world, had they not started using real people in their videos. It started out with using people with public domains like celebrities and characters in popular video games.
Eventually, though, people wanted to see their favorite movie stars get killed in horrific ways. The company that Carla worked for met this demand. As a result, their videos became extremely popular.
The most popular one featured the main character from the movie Avatar. (For those of you who don’t know, it was a movie about blue people floating around in space.) In the movie, the main character has to turn against his allies and fight against them in a war. It’s a very emotional scene where the character has to lay traps for his friends in order to win.
In the frag movie version, however, the main character ambushes his friends and quite graphically shoots them all in the head. People loved it.
By that time, Carla had been working for the company for over ten years. She had managed to save up quite a bit of money, but she hated her job more and more every day. There was no shortage of people who wanted these types of videos made, so she always had work.
Sometimes, she had to go out and film these things herself. She hated that the most. By this time, she was in her mid thirties and was uncomfortable with the idea of going to places like crack houses and skid rows to film people for these movies.
One day, while she was at work, she got an idea. She was reading a news article about a bunch of teenagers who murdered an old man for his car.
She thought to herself, “Why can’t these idiots make these movies?
They have the hearts for it.”
Carla had the idea that maybe she didn’t have to go to where the lowlifes were. Maybe the lowlifes could come to her. She remembered a documentary she saw once where a filmmaker found a bunch of people who wanted to be in rock band, so he made one with them.
Sources & references used in this article:
Functional words, facts and values by AW Cragg – Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 1976 – cambridge.org
Lenition and contrast: The functional consequences of certain phonetically conditioned sound changes by N Gurevich – 2013 – books.google.com
Sex and other reasons why we ban books for young people by M Smith – The Conversation, 2015 – dro.deakin.edu.au
The dirty words you cannot say on television: Does the First Amendment prohibit Congress from banning all use of certain words by SL Reinhart – U. Ill. L. Rev., 2005 – HeinOnline
Response: A True Vulgarity by RD Lustman – Stetson L. Rev., 2007 – HeinOnline
The use of swear words in twitter/Devi Rajeswari Sivaraj by S Devi Rajeswari – 2016 – studentsrepo.um.edu.my