As my Dad will tell you, I sometimes have a mouth like a long distance truck driver. Yep, I can swear up a blue storm with the best of them. But also being a writer and a pretty intelligent person (sorry, I just am), I’ve always thought it funny when people say that those who swear only do so because they have inferior vocabularies. Um, nope. Not remotely true. In fact, undoubtedly, my vocabulary is superior to theirs.
So it was with glee yesterday I came across this older video of Stephen Fry, the British actor, writer, producer and director who is one of the most intelligent and most well-spoken men in Britain today.
It’s a video on Stephen Fry’s opinions about swearing, and a video where he quickly squashes the idea that swearing has any bearing on anyone’s level of intelligence.
“Swearing is a very important part of one’s life. It would be impossible to imagine going through life without swearing, and without enjoying swearing,” says Fry.
Fry then goes on to talk about people who say swearing is a sign of a poor vocabulary.
“It’s just utter nonsense. The people I know who swear the most tend to have the widest vocabularies, and the people who say swearing is a sign of poor vocabulary usually have a pretty poor vocabulary themselves. The sort of twee person who thinks swearing is in any way a sign of a lack of education or a lack of verbal interest is just fucking lunatic”.
And, yes, I do tend to agree with Stephen Fry on almost everything he says anyway (the man is a bloody genius, so it’s hard not too), but on this I could not agree with him more.
Because, sure, while I might spend some of my time calling idiots the wankers, tossers and twats that they are, or telling one of my close friends to fuck off when they’re being jokingly offensive, I can still rustle up a humongous vocabulary when it comes to writing an article, a speech or a novel with no effort at all.
Now watch Stephen Fry talking about the joys of swearing below. Lovely, lovely man.