Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Thursday, June 21, 2012

You sir, are a whoreson zed! Shakespeare's insults

I am bored with the F-word. I have heard it used too many times in too many dreary ways for it to have any power any longer. And when it is used as part of an insult, the person hurling the invective often descends into word salad, sputtering the expletive over and over without a hint of art or grace.
I admire someone who can curse with conviction and originality. (The movie Sexy Beast offers a very good example of fluent cursing.)
Shakespeare's curses are marvelous things, layered and nuanced and pointed as a dagger.  Take "whoreson zed' for example. "Whoreson" has the advantage of combining the notion of bastardy with the ever-popular "son of a bitch." Then add "zed" and the insult takes on an extra gloss of intelligence--especially for Americans, since we don't use the word and it sounds exotic.
It certainly sounds more insulting than calling someone a douche-bag.
I'm not the only one who thinks we need a better caliber of swear. Check out a couple of offerings available on YouTube.
Here's a woman named Simone Haruko sharing her 50 favorite Shakespearean insults (including "Thou whoreson zed."
Here's TedEd's deconstruction of a couple of Shakespeare's famous insults in a way that makes you want to now more.

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