REVIEW: Watch Your F*cking Language by Sterling Johnson

Paperback, 112 pages
Published November 3rd 2004 by St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN: 0312318715 (ISBN13: 9780312318710)
original title: Watch Your F*cking Language: How to swear effectively, explained in explicit detail and enhanced by numerous examples taken from everyday life
2 stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
Let the squeamish beware!
Watch Your F*cking Language takes a no-holds-barred approach to taboo words and expressions. It shows you how to use them to your advantage — and have fun doing so. Building on the lessons learned in English as a Second F*cking Language, this book emphasizes traditional English swears as well as powerful (and hidden) expressions from other cultures and languages.
Through numerous examples, it puts the real language of real people into context:
FLOYD: I just heard a Dan Quayle speech. It was really f*cking confusing.
RUBY: I just got back from a Mongolian cluster f*ck. It was really confusing f*cking.
The name of the game is communication, and Watch Your F*cking Language shows readers how to hammer home their messages with confidence and gusto.
Among its features:
*Numerous examples of proper (and so-called improper) usage
*An Idioms section that emphasizes the niceties of swearing
*A “Need to Know, “Nice to Know,” and “Forget It” system for identifying swear words
*A Final F*cking Exam

My Thoughts:
There were some nuggets of awesomeness throughout what was largely a mediocre – and relatively nasty – book. After having read his first book, I expected this one to expand in a good direction…i.e. creative and magnificent swearing. Well, it did expand, but mostly in areas related to crass & vulgar slang for various body parts and sexual acts. THAT might be “swearing,” but I’m more inclined to call it nasty language. A good swear does not make you throw up a little in your mouth at the mental picture it creates. If done well, it is magnificent to the point of awe, and should rightly elicit a response of “WOW!” or utter speechlessness. The tripe that Sterling Johnson discusses in this book is for people who can do no better than parrot gross language about their anatomy and bodily functions.

This was (again) a great idea executed very poorly. It’s base…and gross…and except for the occasional goodie, mostly definitely not funny. Especially…ESPECIALLY…if you have read the likes of Geoffrey Chaucer, Shakespeare, and myriad other phenomenal authors, whose awe-inspiring swears are worthy of any top ten list. Listen to George Carlin, a man who could swear with enviable ease. There are certainly others, but Sterling Johnson is most assuredly not among them.

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