From “O Fortuna” to “Anaconda”: A playlist of musical profanity

Almost everyone swears, or worries about not swearing, from the two-year-old who has just discovered the power of potty mouth to the grandma who wonders why every other word she hears is obscene.
Philosophy News image
Almost everyone swears, or worries about not swearing, from the two-year-old who has just discovered the power of potty mouth to the grandma who wonders why every other word she hears is obscene. Whether they express anger or exhilaration, are meant to insult or to commend, swear words perform a crucial role in language. But swearing is also a uniquely well-suited lens through which to look at history, offering a fascinating record of what people care about on the deepest levels of a culture–what’s divine, what’s terrifying, and what’s taboo. One of the best ways to observe how our cultural standards on profanity have evolved is to look at the music we have enjoyed and the lyrics that have provoked censors, parents, and the general populace over the past several centuries. In the playlist below, profanity expert Melissa Mohr highlights some of the most shocking songs from modern history. “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana Though the music was written in the. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

blog comments powered by Disqus