Through long training and a modicum of careful thought, I have come to believe that the use of "foul language" represents a breakdown in the expressive capacities of the speaker or writer. When the brain shortcircuits through anger, certain words come forth like water over Niagara. Yet, it seems there are many times when that one, sharp word, whatever curse word it might be, fits inside a sentence like a weene in a hot dog. No other words suit my purpose save the ones I can't help escaping from my lips. Usually, those words come back destructively, serving as new proof that "whom the gods would destroy, they first make angry".
And yet....there is so much about which anger can rise. The jerk who punishes you for coming to a complete stop at a traffic sign by barreling through the intersection. The parking space taker who, seeing you are about to park, slides in to block your car. The bank which charges five dollars to cash a check drawn, yes, on their very bank. The cell phone company that charges you again and again for a second phone you have tried for months to cancel. The list is endless.
Like Cyrano, I would seek to turn my insults into poetry and thrust my lance home to those who so eagerly wait to offend around every American corner. The problem is, it wouldn't work. They would not understand my carefully arranged and appropriately measured insult and would, instead, think they had won the battle and then prepare shove or shout more deranged invective in my direction. I despair. I weep for our mangled public dialog. And I curse, over or under my breath.
Ah, the French. They know how to do these things. Insulting each other is a national pastime, far superior to watching men hit balls with bats. There is something blocking the intestinal passages of the average French man or woman (perhaps all that cheese?) and every last one of them knows how to break it free: insult a stranger, or a dear family member, today, at once, without delay!
Our community life is deteriorating. We are sending forth new generations whose prime contact with the world has been school yard bullies, video games, cell phone texting and violent movies. Families having a peaceful dinner together is now the exception, not the rule.
We have so little regard for each other because we have been taught we don't need each other except, perhaps, as a means to measure our competitive success. Cursing, I would suggest, might be all we have left. It might be not just the first refuge of scoundrels, but an appropriate response to a world where consideration for others, any consideration at all, is taken as the wisdom of an idiot.