Lockdown 2021: Day 10

by Pseud O'Nym

You know that feeling you get when something you’ve been looking forward to, only for it to massively disappoint you? Netflix’s ‘A History of Swear Words’ gave me that feeling yesterday.

‘A History of Swear Words’ is a six episode series with each episode focusing on one swear word per episode, and the first one exploring the word ‘fuck’  Or f**k, as the programme description has it, adding that fuck ‘ is the silly putty of the English Language, our most malleable swear word can refer to sex, rage, confusion, excitement and whole lot more.’ They stressed repeatedly how fuck was the most offensive of swear words, in a classic case trying to convince us of something we know to be patently untrue. We know what the most offensive swear word is, and it’s so offensive that by ignoring it, the series only highlights this fact.

The rest of the series focuses on ‘sh*t’, ’bitch, d**k, Pu**y and damn. Fucking hell! Is damn a swear word? Are they taking the piss? Clearly, as piss isn’t even mentioned and neither is arse. Additionally, they only focus on English swear words, which is a shame, because other languages have much more wonderfully descriptive and offensive swear words. I went to a Catholic boys school, which means I can – or could before my brain injury fucked my speech – call your mother a whore and worse in Polish, question your fathers sexuality in Greek, your sisters dubious morals in Nigerian and your brothers flagrant opportunism in Turkish. The most offensive swear word I’ve ever used – well two actually – is Italian and I never thought that bad until, that is, I used it in an argument with an Italian. It was the verbal equivalent of throwing a hand grenade into proceedings, which would’ve been useful for me to know before I casually pulled the pin. Big mistake.   

‘A History of Swear Words’ is billed as a comedy, but with pretensions towards being a serious documentary, complete with academics on hand to provide some spurious credibility to proceedings. I had intended to watch it with the sound off and the subtitles on, to see how they’d cope, thinking that’d be the funniest thing. But the biggest joke of all was how they managed to avoid mentioning the most offensive swear word of all.

Which is what I thought the proramme makers were a bunch of.

There could only be one choice clip to accompany this post, couldn’t there. The first time I heard this, I was fifteen, had just bought the album, thought I was alone in the house, had it on full blast, went to the toilet, only for it suddenly to be turned off. Mum had arrived back. Comedy genius’s or not, swearing was swearing but this was off the scale..