John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Don’t Show this Post to Your Kid

Posted on April 29, 2013
“Fawk you.  Fawk off.  Fawk this and Fawk that.”

Fawk (or Fuck, as most people say it) was the primary expressive word of my college roommate, who happened to be from Boston.

It was my first real face to face meeting with somebody who regularly used the F-word in daily conversation.

“Fecking great.”  “Fecking fantastic.”  “For feck’s sake.”  “Ah laddie, you are fecked now.”

My second time I was exposed to a constant barrage of the F-word is when I traveled to Ireland.  The Irish say fuck (or feck), a lot.

Fuck is a great word, and yet it not to be used in polite company.

Fuck somehow maintains an elite status of the words that you are  not supposed to use, especially if you are on television, unless of course, you are on cable television.   Then you can say it all the time.  Fuck is the lion in the animal kingdom of swear words.  It is the king of the Swear words.  The C word is not to be used ever.  And I mean it.

You can use "fuck" on occasion.  You just have to be careful about it.

I thought about the strangeness of the word “fuck” when David Ortiz, the Red Sox slugger, let fly with the word that shall not be named when addressing a stadium full of the Bostonians in the days following the Marathon Bombing.

Big Papi’s rallying cry was simple but direct:  "This jersey that we wear today, it doesn't say 'Red Sox,' it says 'Boston.' We want to thank you Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, the whole police department for the great job they did this past week. This is our fucking city."

It was a cry from the heart, and for most Bostonians who use the word fuck as if it were a synonym for “and,” it was pitch perfect.

According to Wikipedia, “Fuck in its literal meaning refers to the act of sexual intercourse. It is an English word that is often used as a profanity, either to denote disdain or as an intensifier.  The origin of the word is obscure. It is usually considered to be first attested to around 1475, but it may be considerably older. In modern usage, fuck and its derivatives (such as fucker and fucking) can be used in the position of a noun, a verb, an adjective or an adverb. There are many common phrases which make use of the word, as well as a number of compounds incorporating it, such as motherfucker.”

Fuck is a very useful word.  As the Great Wiki points out, “The word is one of the few that has legitimate colloquial usage as a verb, adverb, adjective, command, conjunction, exclamatory, noun and pronoun.”

Despite its usefulness, fuck is not held in high esteem by the government.   While the FCC gave Big Papi a break, it hasn’t always looked the other way.  Bono and NBC had to defend themselves against government regulators when he used the word “fucking,” on a live telecast of the Golden Globe Awards.   Cher and Lionel Richie both had to defend themselves all of the way to the Supreme Court for using the word on television.  They escaped without having to pay a fine, but they had to pay the costs of the court fight, not only with money, but also with reputation.

You don't win many brownie points for saying fuck on the public airwaves.

I have young kids and I don’t really want them to start spouting off swear words before they hit their teen years.   But that doesn’t meant that I don’t let fly a few “fucks” every once in a while within their earshot.  I know it is not polite.  But shit happens.

I am not in the camp that if everybody starts saying “fuck this” or “fuck that,” Western civilization is going to start collapsing.   And I think it is somewhat ridiculous that the penalty for knowingly putting fuck on the public airwaves can be pretty expensive.

That being said, I would recommend that you keep your “fucks” to yourself if you are around school children.   Let them learn how to properly swear from their friends, not from their parents or friends of their parents.

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