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Old 07-18-2014, 10:47 PM   #1
Doppleganger
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That word

You know the one.

"crap"

I won't even say it in casual conversation, because for the longest time to me, it's always been a vulgar word on the level of "dick", "pussy" and similar other explicits that I wouldn't use. It's certainly not on the level of curse that "shit" and "fuck" are, but then again it also lacks the comedic bite of those words. In a middle ground where it's too obscene to use in ordinary conversation, but not powerful enough for shock value.

But is it really considered a curse word? This is of interest to me, because in some cartoons when I was younger I heard it dropped (Hey Arnold!) and it was shocking. People talked about it in class. Homestar Runner was also famous for Strong Bad saying it all the time too.

The thing is, if it's really an "okay" word why is it that whenever it's said, it's spammed? In the aforementioned Hey Arnold! episode, it was dropped a ton of times. In H*R it's also used frequently as well, as much as possible for Strong Bad. I just saw this JibJab classic and wouldn't you know it, it's spammed and doesn't even get used in any other videos. It's like every time it's ever invoked is as if to go "hahaha this isn't a curse word, we're going to rub it in the face of everyone who thinks so!"
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Old 07-18-2014, 10:50 PM   #2
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Crap is at best a euphemism that has been moved down the treadmill a little bit.
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Old 07-18-2014, 10:57 PM   #3
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All of these words are part of my normal vocabulary. You can ask anyone in skype, they'll all agree with me. So, to me, "crap" is nothing. The only words I'll really abstain from saying in a serious context are racial slurs and that one that rhymes with runt, because, as a Bostonian, I have at least a little bit of class.
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:09 PM   #4
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It's never been a problem for me. Despite both "dick" and "cock" being vulgar to me personally I have always considered "crap" to be "shit"'s harmless little cousin, like "poop"'s older brother.

I don't swear, and I've never heard "crap" being an issue. Could just be the way it's used in my area, as basically a stand-in for stronger words - same with "hell" and "heck".
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:16 PM   #5
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Some day I'll thaw from my cryogenic time capsule and find a world where everyone casually calls each others fucks and cunts all the time and new more horrible terms will have been invented to be the vulgar words of the future.
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuckle View Post
It's never been a problem for me. Despite both "dick" and "cock" being vulgar to me personally I have always considered "crap" to be "shit"'s harmless little cousin, like "poop"'s older brother.

I don't swear, and I've never heard "crap" being an issue. Could just be the way it's used in my area, as basically a stand-in for stronger words - same with "hell" and "heck".
For a bit of context, I've been using a 'profanity filter' after getting tongue lashed by a soccer mom when I was in 9th grade, for telling one of my friends to shut up in front of her elementary school kid. That, and an incident where I said "OH SHI-" in class (stopping before I enunciated the "t") and everyone thought I cursed at the top of my lungs.

Another one that's been weird is "boobs". I've always used breasts, or some euphemism like "chest". But when ChaosRocket was more active, she'd always insist people use "boobs" and reserve breast for "chicken breast". But I've never been comfortable saying that, ever.
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:47 PM   #7
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My general list of vulgar terms has pretty much still been the same as George Carlin taught us back in 1972: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Loki View Post
Some day I'll thaw from my cryogenic time capsule and find a world where everyone casually calls each others fucks and cunts all the time and new more horrible terms will have been invented to be the vulgar words of the future.
The first part of this about the fucks and cunts is completely true in my life.
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Some day I'll thaw from my cryogenic time capsule and find a world where everyone casually calls each others fucks and cunts all the time and new more horrible terms will have been invented to be the vulgar words of the future.
I welcome you to the wonderful world of Australia, where we are all fucking cunts (Those words are used pretty liberally here, depending on where you are).
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:05 AM   #10
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I'm shocked that "crap" is considered vulgar by anybody.
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:15 AM   #11
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"Shit" is considered the kind of vulgar that is basically fine to mutter under your breath even in relatively formal company in India. I have never heard anybody out of my best friend actually say "crap" but that's more because nobody uses it than it's really vulgar.

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Old 07-19-2014, 12:37 AM   #12
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I don't think that children today will understand what you're talking about with the word "crap" being vulgar. I had forgotten myself about how it was a big deal back in the early 1990s when Bart Simpson would say "crap" in early episodes of The Simpsons. But even back then, I don't think crap was that bad. I think that in the early 1990s it was in this weird place that was somewhere between the words "hell" and "shit" in terms of vulgarity. A young enough child would be admonished for saying any of these, but only "shit" would land him in the principal's office. And as time went on, "crap" slid closer and closer towards the "hell" end of that spectrum. And both words slid closer and closer to child-safe words like "heck" or "shoot," respectively.

In 2014, I feel like "crap" is an eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever-so-slightly ruder way of saying "poop." I would be surprised if the word doesn't appear in modern children's literature, be it Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, what have you. I think "crap" is less offensive for a child to say than "damn," and that both are far less offensive for an American child to say than the example you provided in "pussy." (I feel like the term is automatically one level less profane when Brits say it. But when it's an American saying it ...! )
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:43 AM   #13
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I don't say "hell" either. I've always said heck. It even drives me to ostracize my regional dialectic, "hella".

It always bothers me when I say these funny words in public, but no one comments on them outside of California.

"Gosh diggle dang!" is like something out of Roger Rabbit. I'm not looking for admonishment, but some recognition would make me feel better. Don't tell me I made a life decision on the personal whim of some holier-than-thou!
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Old 07-19-2014, 01:27 AM   #14
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Don't tell me I made a life decision on the personal whim of some holier-than-thou!
If the"holier-than-thou" person you mention is the overreacting housewife, then I apologize, but you have. I respect you for choosing to be polite and not swear though, I would never be able to do that.
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:31 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki View Post
Some day I'll thaw from my cryogenic time capsule and find a world where everyone casually calls each others fucks and cunts all the time and new more horrible terms will have been invented to be the vulgar words of the future.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PikaGod View Post
I welcome you to the wonderful world of Australia, where we are all fucking cunts (Those words are used pretty liberally here, depending on where you are).
Also Scotland.

On a similar note I distinctly remember certain cartoons using 'heck' in place of 'hell' in a way that was really unwieldy. Like being in a pit of flames with actual Satan right fucking there and still calling the place 'Heck'.
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:35 AM   #16
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Answering the OP, in my world "crap" is the kind of swear word that you would tell a five year old not to say but that's really about it. It's very much at the lower end of what is offensive when it comes to talking about faeces, with "poop" somewhere near the bottom, "shit" somewhere further towards the other end of the spectrum and "Rick Perry" somewhere at the far end.

Really though it's all just down to sensibility and culture. For example, I once referred to a politician as a "bloody Tory" and the American I was talking to was able to translate Tory, a common British nickname for members of the Conservative Party, but had no idea that I was being rude about the person because"bloody" was just a way to cook steak to them. Now, I have a high threshold for this kind of thing and am fond of using swears in word play i.e. bouchedag, but there are some people who really can't even deal with you 'taking God's name in vain' or using pseudo curses like "Shoot" or "Jesus Wept".

What I personally find more important is the way in which we use gender assigned words to insult people and how there are different levels of seriousness. For example, I might call Dave a "total dick", using slang for part of his genitals, but that would be much less serious than referring to Hana as a "total cunt" (indeed many Americans I know would consider that to be completely unacceptable). In the English language this is broadly speaking the trend, and it goes beyond simply swearing, so for example to say someone has courage you might say they have "balls" where they're a "pussy" if they are afraid. This directly leads to the idea that femininity or the female sex is weaker than masculinity or the male sex. Now this is more sophisticated an issue in languages that assign genders to things but it's a reason that we shouldn't use such terms in English. By saying that someone is a "pussy" or by using words like "gash" or "axe wound" (my favourite) to severely insult someone we reinforce the patriarchy that there is across the world.

Now, that said, as a cisgendered heterosexual white guy in perfect health I consider it inappropriate to use the words "nigger", "fag", "tranny" or "retard" in any context other than one in which you're talking about language. Referring to someone in those terms or variations thereof is completely unacceptable. But that's because society has taught me that. As mentioned above, I routinely use gender assigned swear words or insults, referring to people (admittedly of either gender) as cunts all the time. That shouldn't be ok and yet I do it because it's a habit and everyone around me does it. On the other side of the coin, words like "spic", "polack" or "cracker" simply don't mean anything to me. They're not insults. But if you said them to some people they'd go crazy. That last one is interesting because it's an insulting term for a white person, but I mean, if someone said it to me I'd be completely unphased because it simply has absolutely no value to me as a term.


Swearwords are weird.

EDIT: Man British swear words are sweet.

Last edited by Mercutio; 07-19-2014 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 07-19-2014, 09:21 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
The thing is, if it's really an "okay" word why is it that whenever it's said, it's spammed? In the aforementioned Hey Arnold! episode, it was dropped a ton of times. In H*R it's also used frequently as well, as much as possible for Strong Bad. I just saw this JibJab classic and wouldn't you know it, it's spammed and doesn't even get used in any other videos. It's like every time it's ever invoked is as if to go "hahaha this isn't a curse word, we're going to rub it in the face of everyone who thinks so!"
I think this is the really interesting part of your question, Dopple. Crap is not really a curse word, just like heck or dang are not really curse words, but they do stand in for curse words, or at least they do in the examples you've given. I think this usage of the word is similar to when shows depict a character becoming drunk after consuming a lot of ice cream, or soda, or whatever. For the child watching the show, it's amusing because something repetitive and silly is happening, but for the adult watching, it's amusing because they realize that soda = alcohol, crap = shit. In these sorts of contexts, crap is really just a way of saying shit without the child realizing it.

I think Spongebob did this in the most on the nose way possible in the "Sailor Mouth," where a dolphin noise is a curse word and antics ensue because Spongebob and Patrick have no idea how incredibly insulting they're being. Naturally, the dolphin noise stands in for "fuck" or something like that.

South Park's parody of this technique is also pretty great, because in natural South Park style they critique a run-around way of saying a curse word by just saying the curse word.


On an unrelated note, you guys still actually call each other names? Weird. What's the point?
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:46 PM   #18
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Polack used to be an ethnically charged racial slur, but then it aged out. I say it all the time when referring to Polish-Americans simply because it's a more comfortable way of saying Polish-Americans Who Do Not Live In Poland Nor Have They Ever But Still Retain Some Stereotypical Traits And Shared Heritage From People Who Have Immigrated To The US.
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:50 PM   #19
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I grew up in a pretty strict environment and "crap" was always seen on the same level as words such as darn, dang, heck, and jeez.


At worst there was a time in which someone I knew only considered it "rude" and preferred the term "crud" instead.
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:24 PM   #20
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[To those around me] "crap" was always seen on the same level as words such as darn, dang, heck, and jeez
More or less this. I don't swear but I do say crap and I don't consider it to be a swear or that bad of a word. I say it when something startlingly bad happens, so I guess it's basically I use it context when others people might swear.
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