Friday, April 3, 2009

Expressive Language

This has been at the back of my mind for at least a couple of weeks, but it really hasn't been ready for a blog. What the hell, like my stuff is up for a Pulitzer anyway.

I periodically find myself looking for alternative phrasings to expressive statements like "thank God" or "bless you". A lot of people use god-related wording when expressing emotion: heavenly, divine, etc. And devil references can indicate strong negative emotion or playful or deceitful trickery: "damn him to hell", "he's a little devil".

Secular intense negativity is pretty easy as that's what swear words are for. Yet somehow damn is a greater curse when it is goddam! Yet I have trouble coming up with superlative secular positive expressions. The only one I could think of today was "orgasmic" to describe some great food. (But then SurferJesus told me to stop fucking his casserole.)

It's fun to come up with mocking secular alternatives to an enthusiastic "praise Jesus" or "it's heaven on earth", but I am unable to come up with useful daily alternatives.

I'm not suggesting that God is necessary for intense enjoyment outside of sex (btw, "oh god, oh god") but instead that religion has successfully co-opted our positive emotional language to make a profoundly happy secular person sound as corny as someone trying to use "gosh", "darn" and "shoot" to avoid swearing.

EDIT: It looks like Faithenate covered religious language expression about a year ago.

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