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Standardized curse symbols

...so you know what the !@%$#%@ they're sayin'
  [vote for,

Curse words are some of the funniest words in the English (or any other) language. It's fine if an author wants to abbreviate a long string of profanities to a bunch of %'s and #'s, but I'd still like to know what words are actually being spoken.

I propose that a Standardized Curse Symbolism (SCS) be developed; in which it is dictated that (I can't list the English translations here without damaging the family appropriateness of this site), e.g.
#!@ means _______
%$^ means _______
%$# means _______

There would also be a lot of "null" strings, so that you could safely extend a small expletive into a row of at least 6 or 7 punctuation marks without making the language any more filthy than it already was.

Thank you.

phundug, May 19 2003


       Consider. Why do authors use masked curses in the form of symbolic notation? I believe, (a) to indicate that cursing is being performed, but (b) without revealing the nature of this cursing, and so (c) avoiding reducing the literary level of their work to the profane.   

       Identifying curses with particular symbols removes the element of ambiguity; that is to say, the symbols cease being representative of general cursing and in fact become specific curses; that is, they carry meaning, rather than indicating merely mood. Which is the end the author was avoiding by using the symbolic notation.   

       Original nonetheless.
Wicker808, May 19 2003

silverstormer, May 19 2003

       Summed up very nicely [Wicker808].   

       "I can't list the English translations here without damaging the family appropriateness of this site"   

       Are you fucking serious!
RoboBust, May 19 2003

       That's news to me, too.   

       If you're going to curse, curse. None of this $#!^ shit.
waugsqueke, May 19 2003

       Per Wicker, once you have a one-to-one correspondence between curses and symbol strings, you destroy the whole point of using them (symbols). Symbols allow people to indicate swearing without specifying the swear words, a useful literary trick when you are writing for a large cross-section, and is primarily used in comics, where the tender ears of children MUST be taken into account. Witness their very witty use in the Asterix cartoons.
DrCurry, May 19 2003

       Asterix (or the authors thereof) extends this usage with little pictograms of skulls, thunderclouds, shaking fists etc. and is a classic example of how something potentially offensive can be expressed in a comical manner.
egbert, May 19 2003

       kwailo, that sounds like the Old Duffer from The Fast Show.
egbert, May 19 2003

       In the comic art lettering world, these symbols of cursing are often called maledicta and, when used alone without other words, maledicta balloons.
bristolz, May 19 2003

       If each maledictum (thank you, bris - I live and learn) denoted a specific swear, you could chain them together to form the most beautifully vitriolic %ing invective.
friendlyfire, May 19 2003

       They have an aural equivalent too - as in Monty Python's "You can't play this song on the radio"
hippo, May 19 2003

       //but I'd still like to know what words are actually being spoken//   

       Obligatory George Carlin “7 Dirty Words...”   

       $#1+, P155, FUCK, c~n+, C0ck$~ck3R, m0+#3rF~ck3R, and +1+$. (7 punctuation marks it is)
Shz, May 19 2003

       Tits is a dirty word?! Rude in some contexts, maybe, but it's not in the same league as those others. Well, maybe piss.
DrCurry, May 19 2003

       //where the tender ears of children MUST be taken into account.// I know of at least one 2 year old who has told the family pet to "fucking rap it" so it seems that DrCurry's opinion is not universally held.   

       On the off topic subject of Asterix, foreigners (i.e. non-Gauls) have their swearing represented by the same symbols drawn in a slightly different manner, which is a neat underlining of the universality of swearywords (which went right over my 10 year old head the first time I read the books).
my face your, May 19 2003

       You write astoundingly well for a 10 year old.
bristolz, May 19 2003

       Well, that's just my mental age.
my face your, May 19 2003

       Anyone else ever have the pleasure of teaching VMS fork processing? It’s very hard to explain a ‘fork queue’ and the ‘mother forker’ without laughing.
Shz, May 19 2003

       What's this, [phundug]? Are you implying that we should watch our language? Well, that's ridiculous. We don't fucking swear!   

       All joking aside, I've noticed that many Halfbakers cuss like sailors, and enjoy it. And have you looked at the sex ideas lately?   

       Family appropriate? Hah. I laugh.
Eugene, May 19 2003

       Wait.. I think I got off track...ok, yes, the idea is good. I want to know what's being said. Croissant.   

       But wait again. The reason the word is censored is because the *publisher* (not the author, in all likelyhood) censored it, and you're supposed to get the word from context. Isn't this just an alternative to context? Is it better? I mean, on the one hand, it could help with clarity; on the other, it could expose little kids who read thriller novels to dangerously dirty words! But if they know the code, they know the words anyway. Hell, most kids do know 'em!   

       Fuck it all! Down with censorship!
Eugene, May 19 2003

       // Family appropriate? Hah. I laugh. //   

       That's right: So far, I still consider this site to be family appropriate...for my family, anyway :)   

       Also, 2 words, gentlemen: Null Strings. Only a fraction of the !$@#%@#'s (e.g. maybe just those starting with a "!") will really mean something. If the writer really meant to indicate just general obscenities, he can use any of the other formats. But when a writer specifically means "What the !@#$@#%@!@# are you talking about", but only writes "What the !@#$@#%@!@# are you talking about", I feel disenfranchised and aggravated.
phundug, May 20 2003

       I get annoyed when people miss out the question mark at the ends of questions too.
hippo, May 20 2003


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