75: Curse Levels

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Curse Levels
I find so much fun in language.
Title text: I find so much fun in language.

Explanation[edit]

In this fourth "My Hobby" strip, the hobby is mixing curse levels. Curse words (aka: swear words/profanities) are disrespectful words that are typically impolite to use in public. As noted in the strip, there are "levels" of curse words ranging from those "mild" words that are more acceptable to use, to those "severe" words that are considered very impolite (the milder curse words can be used on network television in the US, for example, while severe ones can not). One usually uses milder cursing because either they personally don't feel comfortable using the more severe words, or because it would not be appropriate in the context (such as on network television, in the presence of children, etc.) Thus, mixing mild and severe curses in one usage does not usually occur, as the effect achieved by keeping the one curse word mild is negated by using another that is severe.

In a mild curse, "gosh-darned" is typically used as a minced oath of "God-damned" when the latter would be inappropriate. This is mixed with "cunt" — a vulgar term for the female genitalia, considered the most offensive swear word in many English-speaking countries.

Transcript[edit]

My hobby: mixing curse levels
Cueball: What a gosh-darned cunt.


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Discussion

I'm sorry that I don't know who to attribute this to, but I once heard a comedian refer to someone as a "mother-effin' fucker". - 108.162.242.10 22:32, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

It should be noted (or I feel compelled to point out) that the word "cunt" is not seen as all that bad in Great Britain. It's something closer to damn or even just a term that's used in the U.S. like "douche" or others. "Stop being such a cunt, Gary." It's not really all that bad.108.162.246.108 00:23, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

I'm British. The last comment is dead wrong. Far from being “not that bad” it’s basically the polar opposite: pretty much the most shocking and vulgar swear word there is, in a class of its own far beyond other swear words.
I think you're talking about Australians.
Not that either perspective is particularly relevant, since Randall is American. However, for what it's worth, every reference I've ever seen to British use of the word says that it's more mild than it is in America. Maybe you just live in a weird region where that's not the case. Or maybe all those other people are wrong and it's become a weird urban myth. I guess I'll never know, unless I do, at which point I will.162.158.126.28 02:17, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
It may be milder than it is in America, but it's still about as strong as it gets. Maybe Brits are just generally more tolerant of swearing in general. It also depends very much on context and inflection - the offense would usually be much greater if it was said in an aggressive manner, than it would be if used in the way that the first commenter did. It also depends on where in the country - in Northern Ireland, for example (which, granted, isn't actually GB, but still) it doesn't seem to be considered anywhere near as strong as it is in most of England.141.101.76.16 15:44, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
Going to have to disagree here. 'Cunt' is a one of the most offensive swear words, although vulgar language is probably a little less offensive in Britain given the frequency of vulgar language. Beanie (talk) 14:13, 16 March 2021 (UTC)
It is definitely different in Australia. While it's still the rudest swearword, it is ONLY a swearword, which is why it seems less rude. Australians (and presumably Britons) don't put as much emphasis on swearwords as some sort of terrible thing, compared to Americans. This difference has been expressed quite succinctly (by @thomas_violence on Twitter) thus: "I love little cultural differences, like how Americans are super offended by the word cunt but here in Australia we're super offended by school children being slaughtered with automatic weapons".