When did swearing become a daily part of casual conversations?

When did swearing become a daily part of casual conversations?

George Carlin could Figglefaro with the best

By: Tracy Madlener

“No f*#%ing way!”  Now that I got your attention, those were the words that got my attention while standing in line at Costco with my kids standing right next to me.  As I turned to the voice that made this comment, I looked at him, then looked at my kids, then looked at him again and said, “Really?  Can you not use those words exactly right now?”


The look on his face was of embarrassment and an apology followed in a matter of seconds, but the damage was already done, sort of.  Thankfully, my kids didn’t pay much attention to what or who I was talking to as they were most interested in the red phone that connects a customer to order a pizza and how were they going to convince me to pick up the receiver.


When did swearing become a daily part of casual conversations?  I totally get letting off a good… F%$#!!!  every now and then, provided that there are no little ears around, but what happened to creative adjectives?  Sometimes an adjective or even a made up word gets the point across just as well, for instance; FIGGLEFARGO!  See?  Same tone but family friendly.


I bet if the singers on the radio said Figglefargo in their lyrics, there might not be so many bleeps made by the radio station, which brings me to another question… When did swearing become okay to put in the lyrics of songs that we listen to on the radio usually with the family in the car?  I have to pay attention to the lyrics because even with the bleeps, you still know what the singer is saying and my kids are usually sitting right next to me.  What kind of example are we setting for the next generation?


And then there are print magazines.  There are several that I would love my oldest child to read for the great information that they have to offer, but I have read articles in those magazines that made me think otherwise.  One of them is Fast Company.  A favorite of mine because of the forward thinking and always edgy content, I know my son would enjoy it… BUT, the first time I saw f*#k in one of their stories, I was a bit turned off that language like that was used in a business type magazine, edgy or not.


I get it, I really do, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, but what about freedom of not having to listen to foul language or see the text in a place where it shouldn’t be?  Is anybody else tired of it too or do I need to just get with the times?  “No Figglefargo way!”

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  1. Dan says:

    Welcome to society. At Costco, you just have to do exactly what you did. In your car? Plug in your iPod. No one is forcing you to listen to bleeping lyrics.

    • Tracy says:

      Thanks for the welcome Dan, as yes, it seems society has drastically changed over the years and I don’t quite recognize it! I don’t feel forced to listen to or to read anything that I don’t want to, but I do like to listen to new music… I just don’t do it when the family is in the car.

  2. Thea Bredie says:

    There will always be dirt around us, and mud and noise. Even if we don’t seek it and usually avoid it, it may enter our (auditory) ‘space.’ We can show others how to diminish its impact and growth by not adding to it and buy not seeking it out, perhaps even by creating beauty and harmomy?

    • Tracy says:

      I’m constantly teaching my kids that words are powerful, good or bad. I’m not interested in seeking negativity in our lives but as you have pointed out, it happens. Creating beauty and harmony is always the goal in my household, but unfortunately, not all households have the same goal or maybe it’s never been taught. Thanks for commenting Thea. : )

  3. Dan says:

    While I understand trying to protect little ears from swear words. I think perhaps the bigger issue is that perhaps adults cannot control their anger, or moreso cannot figure out better outlets for anger. For all intents and purposes a swear word vs a emphanism such as fudge, well I don’t see a whole lot of difference because there is still potentially the same anger behind the words. Other than the fact that kids will indeed get in trouble for saying certain swear words at school. In some cases they get in trouble no matter what susbtitute word we use. So I propose that what we are seeing more these days is not people swearing more as much as it is people not channelling their anger in useful ways. Of course talking is perhaps more useful than other forms of anger. I don’t really know.

    • Tracy says:

      Good point Dan… that didn’t even occur to me! More anger management classes perhaps? lol BUT, the person at Costco wasn’t angry, he was dropping the F bomb as an adjective. Hmmmm… Thanks for sharing your views! : )

  4. Prem Gaire says:

    I can totally understand this debate and your reason to avoid such words, especially in front of kids. However, a matter of fact is that hiding something isn’t a solution especially with children. One day, they will learn such words no matter how hard we try to avoid them do so.

    In my opinion the better approach is to let them know such words, and ask them not to use them and/or not get offended whenever someone else uses those words in front of them. Now one question remains – when to do this type of counselling? I think the beginning of the adolescence is the right time. Providing proper care and counselling is the only way to make our children more ethical and more responsible in their actions.

    PS: I enjoyed your article. Thanks!

    • Tracy says:

      I get what you’re saying Prem G… I don’t want to hide it, I know cuss words will alway be there, but we have a choice in the words that we choose and that’s what I teach my kids. Thanks for commenting! : )

  5. I am guilty of losing control of my vocabulary sometimes for even mild outbursts but I AM working on it. I get a lot of funny looks on the golf course when I miss a putt and as I am wheeling around, exclaim loudly ‘Sunny Delight’ with a negative intonation……..

  6. Tracy says:

    Sunny Delight?? lol Good for you Jeff! : )

  7. Jason Ramsey says:

    Great post Tracy, glad to see that you’re still writing, love the site too!

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