Thursday, February 18, 2010

LKB

I often wonder - are swear words used because their meaning is offensive (or) are they used to flag the recipient and make him aware that he is being sworn at. The key question is do swear words need to have an offensive meaning in order for the swearee to be offended? To go a step further do the swearer and swearee need to be aware of the meaning of the swear words in order to give and take offense respectively? Anecdotal evidence suggests that this is not the case.

Consider the honorable rikshawman. He says LKB with so much spashtam that you want to stop and admire the raagam and bhaavam with which the word was said. He says 'L' (pauses) 'K' (pauses) and 'B'. The pause he puts are apparently for grammatical precision and is a key indicator that he is a puristic. Nobody else says it this way. An english-educated person can never be so eloquent. A college-going engineer is not necessarily this precise and classic. He often says it quickly with no respect to the 'kalachaaram' of the word. That is because a college student picks up this word because he is required to. Otherwise his social skills are brought into question. The rickshaw-kaaran, on the other hand, uses this because he needs to. Very similar to why silk-smitha had to show 'kavarchi' because the story demanded it. However, has the rickshaw-kaaran paused to wonder about the expletive he just ejected into the outside world. What business does a rickshaw-man bred and steeped in thamizhnes have with a indhi word. isn't it a 'vada mozhi sol'? All he ended up saying was - pubic hair

pubic hair.

Really! How offensive is that? All he ended up saying was that the other person was a curly hair that will rarely get shaved, oiled, or combed. Sort of like the hair on T.Rajendar's or Thyagarajan's head. So what? Where is the offense here? Who would be offended at being curly, unoiled, and un-combed. How is this word different from 'left monidal shoulder clavicle' (LMSC). All it needs for LMSC to be a swear word is silly 'vilambaram'. Advertisement that it is a "bad word". It need not have an offensive meaning at all. It need not mandatorily have any meaning at all. It should just be a group of words. What makes it a horrible swear word is a simple recognition that a person shouting LMSC is intending to offend. This is all the recipient of LMSC needs to know in order to be offended. The meaning of LMSC is immaterial. If its widely regarded as a swear word, people will use it all situations ranging from fights to mafia wars to office meetings (in order to appear casual and informal).

On the subject, have you wondered why all swear words are creatively limited to just sex. The most commonly used phrase by human beings is "What The 'act-of-having-sex'". It is often abbreviated as WTF for added effect. Humans say "oh! act-of-having-sex! I forgot my pencil box". Otherwise they say "The movie was act-of-having-sex awesome". They agree with other humans by saying "the-act-of-having-sex yeah!". Somehow the 'act-of-having-sex' has become an easily leverageable word. It can be used as a swear word by calling someone a "person who indulges in acts-of-having-sex". Or can be used to appreciate with "you are the-act-of-having-sex (add_gerund) good".

The offensiveness of a word can only be increased in a specific dimension. It is by pulling relatives in the mix. Sisters, mother, father, source of birth is the general direction in which the swearer progresses in order to increasingly offend the swearee. The closeness of the relative is directly proportional to the severity of the insult. Look at this situation (audio not safe for work) where the swearer insists, quite strongly and repeatedly, that a particular gentleman's reproductive organ is in reality a property of the gentleman's sibling. Which is why I think swear words will never be popular in the simian world. Or for example: I am pretty sure if Hyenas began to speak they would not be offended by these swear words at all. They would probably use words like "person who never had sex" "celibate" or "person who only marries once" to offend their fellow hyenas.

I suspect swear words will decline and become extinct among humans as well. How long can the same set of worlds continue to be cool? In a hundred years when it has penetrated into daily vocabulary and is used in contexts like "Do you 'person-who-has-sex' take Elizabeth as your 'act-of-having-sex' wife" the words will loose its sheen and probably will be discarded for more creative insults. I wonder what those insults might be though. Probably the generation gap will not allow me to appreciate the beauty of it.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

LOL.. Hilarious!

Vijay Ganesh said...

Does an MBA does this to people ? Seriously you must be good at this.

tsp said...

Well, if you've read Clockwork Orange, you'll know swear words of the future.

Dr.Dheep said...

the youtube link was funny. :) whats ur take on 'how can she slap'?

Khalil Sawant said...

I came across irrational ones like BKL (Behen Ke L***), where L stands for the same thing as LKB

They are losig their sting.

Alan Smithee said...

Start at 1:20, if you are impatient.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D7rWLzloOI

Maddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thetalkativeman said...

In future swearing might become euphemisms drawn from the tech world. An example of one existing euphemism is 'brain freeze'.

-"What a bluescreen-er that guy is!"
-"This segfaulting car won't start"
-"You are such a PC"

blackaccord said...

I don't know if swearing will ever turn out to be an uncool thing.. I remember watching 'Burn After Reading' at the cinemas and there was so much crowd reaction/applause every time John Malkovich swore.. I guess some swear words will just be added as part of common usage... A few months back Roger Federer got so much criticism for saying 'I don't do that shit' in the middle of a game..

Anonymous said...

Interestingly when you type lkb (expanded form of lkb) in google suggest it does show in up the suggestion list. Google doesn't show up swear words in the list. This can only mean that inspite of so many desis working in google, google inc has failed to recognize lkb as a swear word !!

MS

Babs said...

Hilarious post maams...ha ha ha...

We used to have swearing competition at Seethakathi Buhari Aleem Men's Hostel...I won the competition one year (I cannot share that word rather sentence here though it doesn't have any bad word besides 'mastrubate' but the meaning is worse and makes u think about it....) :-D..I can email u if u r curious..

Alan Smithee thanks for that link...that was bloody hilarious, he did not even smirk the entire narration till the last moment..

blackaccord, that was one funny movie and Cohen bro's created such classic scenes which were so apt for WTF words and JM utter that with such conviction....his pauses were perfect like the Rickshawala as hawkie mentioned

Good work dude, keep it coming

Anonymous said...

Babs, I think you've already mentioned that swear sentence in one of Hawkeye's blog comments....If I'm right, I believe you said something to the effect that "his (I don't know who he is) dad could've rather masturbated instead of having sex and giving birth to him". Wasn't that right? :-)

Babs said...

Anon I'm sure u r from SBOA?..:-)
I don't think I shared that in a public forum, but may have in a private group (yahoo) :-D..
something on those lines yes, but more crude and harsh in tamil....

ms said...

'heck' took a hundred years to become 'hell', and 'blithering, blooming' were phased out only 40 years ago to give us 'bloody'. 'fiddlesticks' took the longest to go public as 'f***'. since gay is okay and procreation is passe, i am thinking along the lines of "you're such a google", "go google yourself!"what an iPod", "we're microsofted", "i billgate you not!"

Venkat said...

>>Sort of like the hair on T.Rajendar's or Thyagarajan's head

you don't see the offense there ? i'd hate to be called or compared to anything of T Rajendar