I love Lieutenant Debra Morgan. She gets things done, she grapples with love, she catches killers, she agonises over miscarriages of justice. And she does it all with a horribly foul potty mouth. As you’re no doubt aware, the sister of Michael C Hall’s moonlighting murderer, Dexter, is portrayed by actress Jennifer Carpenter. Some personal off-the-cuff favourites are “Holy frankenfuck!” (in response to something going awry), “So, Miami is the haystack and the ice truck’s the needle, right? Brother, I just found the fucking needle!” (a moment of triumph) and “Oh, sweet Mary, mother of fuck, that’s good!” (on the receiving end of an excellent latte). What, from a personal perspective, is so awesome about Deb’s vernacular is perhaps not her use of metaphor and ironic biblical references, but the delivery. Let’s face it, it’s empowering to blow off some four-letter steam.
Which begs the question, is it more entertaining when someone else does it? Having grown up with a father somewhat active in the local community, my younger brother and I grew up with a maddeningly confusing approach to etiquette. Dad was incredibly well-behaved whenever we did something naughty; the first masculine swearing memory I have is my best friend’s father admonishing her for being a “little sh*t” (he was trying to put a microwave down on the kitchen bench and she wouldn’t remove her hands). Mum, however, has always been a study in profanity, with a lovely speaking voice. “Hon, you’re really not going to get that finished unless you pull your ******* finger out!”, “[in the car] Oh, ****, crunch, where did that come from?”, or just “Jesus ****!” My brother, let’s call him Lincoln (I can hear him cursing that from the southern hemisphere) is a model service-orientated employee and a hit with the ladies – or so I’m told – but his yapper – sheesh. Another intriguing subject is a beautiful friend, let’s say Sibylla. She is a golden-haired, unwaveringly pleasant lass. Sadly, I missed her 21st, but apparently, and I would have paid to see it, she hopped up on the venue’s bar at closing time, exclaiming “Alrighty, where do you **nts want to go?”
Entertainer Jim Dale notes, “I’d rather get a good clean laugh with good material, than an easy laugh by swearing or shocking. That’s not clever or comedic, anybody can get a laugh that way, it’s too easy.” George Washington was a bit stiff, but then again, he was the Prez: “The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.” For my 21st century money though, I think I’m with Gordon Ramsay who surmises, “Swearing is industry language. For as long as we’re alive it’s not going to change. You’ve got to be boisterous to get results.” In the end, Miami Metro is the best (fictitious) police department, Mum and my bro do make me laugh, and by all reports, my friend got everyone up and dancing the night away at an undisclosed location.