The AtlanticThe Atlantic

An ode to swearing

By James Parker

14 Feb 2023 · 2 min read

Editor's Note

Swearing is pretty prevalent in modern society. Have we been desensitized? An Atlantic writer argues that the use of a well-timed swear word can remind us of the power of language.

The swears are here, the swears are there, the swears are fucking everywhere.

You’ve noticed it, I’m sure. How it started with the band names (Fucked Up, the Fucking Champs) and then migrated into the mainstream: Go the Fuck to Sleep, the self-help books about unfucking yourself and not giving a fuck, and the ever-growing tolerance for _fuck_s on TV, such that we seem to be moments away from having a weatherman tell us that there’s an absolute motherfucker of a cold front coming in. Aren’t we completely fucked-out, at this point? Desacralized, desensitized, fucking numb?

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