While under the influence of drink and perusing some Yes threads on Facebook for someone to argue with I came across an interesting comment; that a Scottish poem from the 1500s contained the first written example of the word ‘fuck’. This briefly sobered me up enough to do a quick google to clarify this amazing revelation. Unfortunately as I suspected it wasn’t quite so cut and dried as that but there was enough information to suggest that once again we were ahead of the game in world culture.
I couldn’t help but think that Visit Scotland were missing a trick. Sure we gave the world television, the telephone, antibiotics and a whole warehouse full of consumer goods but being the home of Fuck? An ad mans dream and the commercials would be 24 carat gold.
Picture the scene. A fishing boat is silhouetted against the setting sun on Loch Fyne, pipes play a lament in the background. Cut to a young man sitting on a hill staring across Glencoe shrouded in mist, fade to a couple strolling through fields of purple heather and laughing, switch to the piper standing atop Eilean Donan castle. A throaty voiceover cuts in….
“Scotland. Fuckin gorgeous eh?”
Imagine billboards in America with the legend:
“Told your boss to fuck off? Don’t mention it, our pleasure. Visit Scotland”
“Scotland. We give a fuck, but in a nice way”
The truth is we love to swear. Most of us are aware enough to know when and with whom it is appropriate. The advantage we have over almost every other nationality is that we are incredibly imaginative about it. On the same night I discovered the ‘fuck’ reference I came across examples of such audacious sweary word-smithery that I guiltily laughed out loud, though admittedly I didn’t feel that guilty.
Our profanities are as varied in tone as they are in structure.
The word fud has a massive invisible full stop after it which says ‘checkmate’. When someone calls you a fud you know that is the endgame, the coup de grace. There is simply no adequate response short of physical violence, it is the obscene bullet to the brain and you know you have been bested by a superior linguist. You retire and mentally take ‘fud’ with you.
Fanny is another one. It has a certain beauty because it manages to convey inadequacy, despair and disdain all at once. Most commonly used by the type of people who would struggle to define the meanings of inadequacy, despair and disdain but used effectively nonetheless. The classic “What a fanny” will never go out of style.
There’s more, much more but to list them and their varied uses would take longer than I have.
To close, I’ll leave you with this handy phrase for the next time you’re out canvassing.
Don’t be a fud, vote Yes.