‘On the couch’ with Jasminda


DEAR Jasminda,

I am trying to settle a score.

Is the word bullsh-t offensive or just vernacular?

Ditto for other commonly used swear words.

Miss Wendy P.

Dear Miss Wendy,

I am having trouble imagining a Miss Wendy saying anything offensive.

The name reminds me of that lovely lady from Romper Room, although I think that was Miss Kim.

We shouldn’t let names confuse us, however.

I do believe Miss Kim swore like a trooper and chain smoked once the cameras stopped rolling.

I mean, who wouldn’t after years of trying to get kids to balance bags of rice on their heads or having to listen to that repulsive milk slurping noise when they had their refreshments.

Holy sugar.

Back to your question.

I think, like most things, swear words in moderation can be used to great effect.

There are some situations where a well-placed swear word is absolutely necessary to get the intended meaning across.

If you were snorkelling at Fly Point and a dark shadow approached that had a distinctive shark shape, you possibly wouldn’t be saying ‘oh darn’, into your snorkel.

This would sound like ‘glop dlop’ to the shark anyway, due to the effect of speaking through a tube underwater. Instead, what he’d more likely hear would be ‘hoblo flug, whobla flugging hlop.’

He wouldn’t understand that either, so you’d probably still get eaten, but at least you’d feel the momentary release that well-placed swearing offers.

On the other hand, people who feel the need to litter every sentence with swear words are just lazy and disingenuous.

Some songs and movies would only be half their current length if they took out all the expletives.

These words become so commonplace that they no longer have any impact.

It’s a bit like tattoos.

A few strategic, meaningful ones are interesting, but when entire bodies are tattooed there is no delineation and therefore no impact.

So, is the word bullsh-t offensive?

I guess we will find out when this Jasminda column either does or does not appear in this week’s paper.

Carpe diem, Jasminda.

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