I recall reading an article on the topic, some years ago. I can’t vouch to the accuracy of this. What I recall is the notion that swear words – be they scatological, sexual or blasphemous – are processed by a different and more primitive part of the brain than the words used for regular discourse and other language functions. A bit as if they belonged to the realm of animal cries of warning, anger, fear or challenge.
Of certainty, the two street persons who argued themselves hoarse during the night had a clear preference for the scatological combined with the sexual. This morning, on the walk with my dog, evidence of their disagreement consisted of a smashed bottle of rot gut. No blood and no scattered limbs.
Still. As a three am serenade, I’d prefer Drink to me only with thine eyes* to shouts of Enculé!
In Garcia Marquez’ L’amour au temps du choléra (I re-acquired the French translation in preference to the English because it cost less), the lovesick hero has serenaded the fickless one a final time before nursing his broken heart for some fifty-odd years prior to their reunion. At which point, I lay my weary head on the pillow, prior to waking to shouts of Enculé! – Enculé toi-même! – and so on.
I’ve maintained the housewarming event I’d scheduled for this evening. I know at least two grownups and three children will show up. How many others? Perhaps four or five. Which would be fine since I can seat three on the couch, one in the armchair and three more on the chairs. Fruit juice for the kiddies, beer or wine for the adults, some munchies and no smashed bottles of rotgut. Sounds like a plan for a Fall evening.
*or: the title to this post.