One song in Kanye West’s new album raises a question: Is “damn” no longer a curse word? Has it ceased being considered profanity?
I was shocked to learn that many younger people, including one particular friend whom I truly respect, do not consider damn to be a curse word. I was shocked and appalled, but then I remembered…
As a word nerd, I was flabbergasted when I realized that, according to the dictionary, the word “literally” can now be used figuratively. Today, you can say, “I was literally dying laughing,” and be speaking correctly.
You can. I can’t.
But it gets worse. One of my pet peeves, for years, has been Christians using the words “incredible” and “unbelievable” in reference to God and His acts. I mean, come on, do you really want to say that what God has done can’t be believed when your point as a Christian is to help others believe?!
But, according to my recent venture into one of the newer dictionaries, this usage is now perfectly acceptable.
For others, of course. I can’t do it.
And finally, I remembered a point at which an older friend proofed a book I was writing. I had used the word… hm… maybe it was “geez.” I honestly don’t remember what it was, but he took time to gently explain to me that people from his generation saw it as a euphemism for an unacceptable word. I didn’t know it had been used that way, had that connotation, but because I respect his generation I took it out.
Which brings me back to the original question. Has the word “damn” been overused to such an extent that it, literally, is no longer only a curse word, no longer considered profane?
For me, never, but I’m forced to admit that language changes as time passes and, though it’s hard for me to accept, it may very well be so.