The F-word is everywhere

In previous essays on language, I have offered these justifications for dropping the occasional f-bomb:

1. As an authentic expression of realistic human speech.

2. As a single, shocking, almost-out-of context blow to the solar plexus.

3. As a neutralizer to the poison of piety, fastidiousness and erudition.

4. As a way of defining character.

None other than Theodore Bernstein, the influential style czar of The New York Times, once published this opinion: “There is not … a single transitive verb in respectable or even in scientific language that expresses the idea of the slang verb f—.”