Home Uncategorized “F—!” WTF? The F Word Comes Into the Mainstream

It didn’t start with Melissa Leo on the Oscars. But when she dropped the F bomb during her acceptance speech two weeks ago, everyone sat up and paid attention. But frankly, the F word has made a big leap into the mainstream recently. Cee Lo Green has had a big hit with “F— You.” Then Gywneth Paltrow jumped in and the song had to be cleaned up to the soccer mom-ish  “Forget You.” But the Cee Lo version is the one everyone wants whether or not radio plays it. Lily Allen has her song called “F— You,” not to be left out. I do think all of them got the idea from Aimee Mann who warbled “You f—ed it up” in one of her early songs.

Then we have Enrique Iglesias, eking out yet another nasal, tonally indifferent song with “Tonight I’m F–ing You.” Hate it, but it’s catchy as hell and not nearly as good when it’s “Tonight I’m Loving You.” F that! Soon comes a Broadway play, believe it or not, called “The Motherf–cker in the Hat.” The New York Times just puts an underscore in place of the offending word. And there’s more: Green Day‘s new live CD is called “Awesome as — ” you know what.

It’s nothing new, really. One of Harry Nilsson‘s best songs, from the early 70s, was called “You’re Breaking My Heart (So F– You).” Rappers and hiphoppers have long used the F word and lots worse in their material. Of course, most of us don’t hear that stuff, so we have no idea how bad it’s gotten on CDs with the “explicit language” labels. This is different. Now the F word is out in the open. Of course, newspapers and magazines and legit websites won’t print it. Gawker doesn’t mind; they’ve been obsessed with something called a “f—saw” for weeks. I’m pretty sure it’s just so they can use the word; it builds traffic, no doubt.

Is this turn of events a good thing? George Carlin must be smiling. Wikipedia has a fairly good entry on the word, and I’m sure the OED does, too. But it’s coarse, and vulgar. It’s meant to shock, although by this time how shocking can it be? Using ‘f–” is, I guess, the last taboo since thanks to talk shows and South Park there’s nothing left really. (Bestiality? Incest? Necrophilia? Old hat.) Shocking?  For Melissa Leo, it was an exultation. For the so-called songwriters, and maybe even the playwright, maybe a little lazy with a language that has so much more to offer. Better to keep it to the web standard: WTF?

2 replies to this post
  1. Although there are some people at the networks who are shook up about Melissa Leo dropping the “F” bomb in her Oscar acceptance speech, these same networks, ABC included, accept millions of dollars in advertising revenues from drug companies advertising erectile dysfunction drugs. They then run them in prime time. Can you hear the children? “Mommy and daddy, I know that ABC did a wonderful thing in bleeping out that naughty word Melissa Leo said, but can you tell me what a four (4) hour erection is?”

  2. If George Carlin is “up there somewhere, looking down on us and smiling” over the widespread use of the F-word, then his whole theory on the afterlife is all F-ed up! Yes, its overuse has caused the F-bomb to turn the corner from shocking everyone who hears it to making the person who drops it look like kind of a douchebag.

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