Pretend curse words

So, I’ve been reading this entertaining but really odd (young adult) book to David– Leviathan by Scott Westerfield.  Its an alternate history of WWI in which the Allied Powers rely on bio-engineered technology, e.g., giant whales and jellyfish turned into killer blimps and the Central Powers rely upon sophisticated machine technology.  Anyway, one of the interesting features of the book is that it has characters who frequently swear, but since it is a YA title, they swear in words that don’t exist, e.g., “Barking spiders– I can’t believe he shot me.”  Or, “man, it smells like clart in here.”  Its an interesting sort of psuedo-realism.  I wonder if this is a growing trend at all.  Naturally, this makes me think of Battlestar Galatctica’s infamous frak, which, while jarring, I do think contributed to the air of verisimilitude while still being basic cable friendly.   If you’re a fan, too, you’ll probably find this little video below as funny as I do:

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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