I have to swear or I pretty much turn blue and stop speaking altogether to the sound of cracking cartilage. But New Zealand is a gentler etymological clime than Australia and I find myself, generally speaking, to be the foulest mouth in any given room roughly 90% of the time. As do my characters. Several people, on reading the book for the first time, have commented on the broad spectrum swearing that kicks off on page one and doesn't stop till the last shots are fired. I wasn't particularly aware of the combined effect until my lovely assistant chuckled something about counting all the fucks and perhaps measuring the distance to the moon with them laid end to end. Thusly, according to Word Counter Widget we have within The Blackthorn Orphans;
(fuck is probably just a component of fucking which would render this statisic a little less impressive)
fucktard- 1 (and glorious it is)
motherfucker-1 (I find that hard to believe)
bastard - 18
bitch - 59 (for shame)
cocksucker - 2 (lol)
dick - 29
tits - 4
merde - 7 (trés exotique)
arse - 43
arsehole - 12
crap - 16
other - ?
Sounds excessive, but I assert profanity's value as palate-cleansing soul-exhaust and rage-defuser and would argue that if you had lived through two and a half millennia of fuckery (forgot that one too) you'd feel the need on a regular basis. Nicety would be out the fucking window. Who swears and who doesn't is always interesting, though. Some characters can barely struggle through a sentence without decking the halls with boughs of effwords. Others are more circumspect, if still no stranger to the Fbomb but of them all, those with the least regard for societal convention barely say shit the whole time. For some reason I find it difficult to make the worst of them swear. Why is that? Possibly because I'm of the school that finds it hard to trust a wight who doesn't curse. There is a definite mistrust of the calculation required to suppress profanity, the expectation that this is some kind of merit in itself, and also a boredom with those who are never inspired to say cocksucker loudly. Examples leap to mind from all directions; you just know Hitler didn't swear that often, if at all, and he was batshit and a fucking bromide. Politicians; Tony fucking Blair, Thatcher… another couple of shiny-arsed shitposts who never said cock. Or that dick in the doco we chuckled through recently, The Business of Brussels, an EU lickspittle driven to petulant distraction by anticorporate protesters- they were bothering 'high VIPS!'
How rude! And you know that guy never says cock if he can help it. The people who impress me most disagreeably are so often verbal abstainers.
It might be in regard to perspective, and the lack of it as demonstrated by our relative utterances. People who say fuckamamie know it isn't the end of the world. People who refuse to are often of the opinion that it is, which is why we should question their judgement. It is often argued that profanity is the handmaiden and personal trainer of actual physical violence but that's bullshit too. The inverse is the reality. How many people, deprived of the ability to tell someone to go stick their head up their arse would eventually be tempted to actually implement the suggestion? Think about that carefully.
Some argue, particularly in respect to fiction, that profanity is mere verbal flatulence and not a necessary part of characterization but this rationale is as indiscriminate as the usage they are supposedly decrying. The argument that those who swear cannot express themselves in any other way or lack the vocabulary to do so is rendered oxymoronic in the the context of 600+ pages of shameless verbiage. Fuck is an ornament to prose as much as 'coruscate' or 'antinomian'. Should speculative fiction (what a stupid fucking term that is) suffer such petty restriction? Is feral expression not the whole fucking point of the exercise? Restraint and politenessness is the burden of kitchen sink amdrams and chickflicks and Jennifer fucking Aniston etc.
Neither CS Lewis nor Ashton Smith ever said fuck on the page and I have respect for their shit, a lot more than for Tolkien's, but he was another species of abstainer who's plastic-mound themeparks and traction-frame stylings make me want to stab myself in the fucking eye with a pen. I don't think I've ever been shooshed more than by the various Middle-Earth jihadis of my experience, but then I've never understood their peculiar criteria. Strange days when my game-addict nephew will while away a happy afternoon blowing heads from pixelated shoulders but cannot understand my objection to LOTfuckingRs because not one of the characters calls someone an arsehat, despite an embarrassment of opportunities, or snaps and uses a fucking hobbit to plug a friend's explosive dysentery. There is a wide, fuzzy streak of potato-faced prudery running through fantasy which is why I have always cringed at the appellation. These days it's probably part of the stampede toward YA and I know that puckering probably moves units, but really? No swearing or sexy times ever? I weep for the future.