Fuck. What a word. Easily the most expressive word in the English language. Did you hurt yourself? You probably just screamed ‘Fuck.’ Looking forward to something this weekend? Then you probably told your friends you are “really fucking excited for the weekend.” See a hot girl or guy? You’re probably thinking about fucking them. It goes on and on and on. You hear the word everywhere. I mean, everywhere. It’s inescapable. Sure, it has its place, but I think the boundaries of the word “fuck” are well known at this point.
So why is the MPAA so strangely strict about its usage?
The MPAA’s old fashioned view towards my favorite word has long been a thorn in my side, and Mark Harris over at Grantland wrote a nice article today regarding the absurdity of it, and provides some examples of how society isn’t nearly as appalled by the word as governing bodies might think they are. But as with many issues plaguing America (though this one is admittedly minor), this is another example of society moving quicker than our adaptive skills. Perhaps, once upon a time, the word carried such a negative connotation that it would be considered, not only offensive and crude, but also detrimental. But I strongly believe the only thing keeping that belief alive is the subconscious ignorance towards the advancement and liberalization of society that has further accepted the concept of freedom of speech, especially in regards to art form.
The word “fuck” isn’t simply a word that expresses vulgarity; it’s a term that generally indicates brutal honesty. It’s a word that’s often used during visceral reactions to both physical and emotional pain. It’s a word screamed in anger. It’s a word generally used as an adjective to enhance the emphasis of a phrase. Regardless of what old fashioned people might think, the word has become dominant in the lexicon and the absence of the word in our art does not depict our society accurately.
Harris discussed the difference in response to the R-rated version of the hit movie The King’s Speech and the PG-13 version, which eliminated the “fucks” that caused it to be rated R in the first place. Though he didn’t really discuss the fact that the PG-13 version came out LOOOOONG after the original, therefore there was general interest fatigue, I believe his overall point was correct: the elimination of the word had the opposite effect of its intention. The Weinstein Company figured the PG-13 rating opened the film up to new audiences that were offended by the word, and refused to let their children see it because of it. But it didn’t, and as Harris hypothesized, it actually may have alienated audiences. Why? Because audiences don’t want something censored and homogenized. They want something honest and true. Is this a sign that families are ready to accept the word as a part of life, and trust their kids to understand its nature? Maybe. Is it a sign that we, as society, are mature enough to judiciously utter it properly? Probably. But, if nothing else, it’s just another piece of evidence that suggests the public isn’t scared of the word, or horribly offended by it any longer. And for the ones that still are, they are in the vast minority. And this isn’t a sign of the downfall of society; it’s just one of societal evolution in a world that has grown to accept that fact that it is a word that has taken on different context over the years. It’s not simply just an offensive word any longer.
So, sorry traditionalists, the word ‘fuck’ is just a part of our lives now. Sure, it still may be considered vulgar by some, I understand it’s still not accepted in certain arenas, but simply attempting to eradicate it (when our culture has completely absorbed it) is foolhardy and dishonest. Not to mention impossible.
So, let’s just officially embrace it. Long live “fuck!”