Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The F-bomba

I just finished Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. She annoys me. But she reminds me that I'm supposed to love annoying people. So I guess that's a good thing.

The book was recommended at the publishing conference I went to at the beginning of the month. A presenter was talking about developing books for non-churchgoers, and one of her principles was to "Use the full range of the English language." The example was Lamott's conversion story, in which she feels pursued by Jesus for weeks, and finally surrenders by saying "F--- it. Come on in."

I have to admit, that's one of the best examples of the sinner's prayer I've ever heard.

On the other hand, I have a deep and abiding dislike for the F-bomb. It technically isn't a violation of the third commandment, but it is verbal violence. And very misogynist, dehumanizing verbal violence at that. If you read Spanish, I highly recommend the essay by Octavio Paz, Hijos de la Malinche, in which he discusses the Spanish equivalent, chingar.

If you don't read Spanish, perhaps Special K will summarize the argument.


Special K said...

Oh my goodness! What are the odds of the book you just finished being the exact same (and only) book I've read for pleasure since I started my new job?! Interestingly enough, I loved it. I wept. Then I laughed. Then I laughed while crying and was one big mess. It definitely wasn't a bus book.

As for the f-bomb, I hear it countless times everyday. I still disdain it and all it represents, but I think I'm sadly becoming numb to it.

As for Anne Lamott, I just picked up her most recent book (Grace) at my local library and can't wait to find time to start it!

Special K said...

As for Octavio Paz, I'm not done yet with the loooooong article, but I've repeatedly asked my roommate to not use that word. She says they say it all the time in Mexico (and therefore meaningless?), but I say it's the most vulgar, sacred word in South America that not once in nearly 9 months abroad did I ever hear spoken, even by the worst groseros!

Pirate Jimmy said...

As a linguist you full well know that power can only be granted to words by the audience.

Pirate Jimmy said...

I came to the conclusion, perhaps a wrong one, but my conclusion is that anything said in anger is as bad as anything else said in anger. Whether it's the f-bomb or saying "fudgesticks" or something else, it's not the words; it's the emotion driving the words.

Special K said...

Small world just got smaller. The book I'm currently reading is Muy Macho, a collection of 16 latino authors writing about their experiences with macho in their lives, for the good or the bad, and how it pervades latino culture. It's a great read, and one essay speaks of that ch-bomba and Octavio Paz's essay addressing it. What are the odds of that?! Felicitaciones, Chaka, for tying together all my literary adventures of late!