Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Profanity 101, or Why Johnny Can't Curse

Earlier this week, a new book was brought to my attention:
English as a Second F*cking Language : How to Swear Effectively, Explained in Detail with Numerous Examples Taken From Everyday Life. The book is not only selling briskly, but it received a laudatory plug by the Pope, Stephen King. His blurb, placed over the book's title, is, "Great f---king book!"

The book jacket copy reads, "In the English language, swearing is essential to effective communication." It purports to teach "the basics of swearing," refers to its curriculum as "ESF-L" and offers a "final f--king exam to test your swearing skills."

Has our educational system sunk so low that people actually need a Berlitz course in cursing? Especially at a time when, thanks to the ghetto manners that have infiltrated our popular culture, America already is awash in profanity? (Full disclosure: When alone, I utter more epithets than Al Swearingen with Tourette's Syndrome.)

Americans are so dumb, I wouldn't be surprised if half of them failed the "final f--king exam." If the teacher had to curve the f--king grades. And if many examinees used cheat sheets or worse, Cliff's Notes for ESF-L.

Imagine taking that report card back to Mom and Dad. "Johnny, you failed cursing again! What the fuck is wrong with you, you fucking moron?"

"Sorry, mom."

"We've done everything -- we hired a tutor, bought you that swearing tutorial, and sent you to Cursing Camp. And you let us down. You dumb shit. You'll never make it on Wall Street."

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