4. Jesus Fucking Christ
Jesus didn't have a middle name, but he should have. And it should have been "Fucking." "Fucking" as filler tends to ruin most words. "Totally fucking awesome." Needed? No. It only serves to make one sound stoned. But with the Lord, it works perfectly. The alliteration, the smoothness of the shifts between vowels and consonants... It's divine. Perhaps literally. "Jesus Fucking Christ": Two trochees with a strong masculine punch at the end. It doesn’t so much roll of the tongue as leap from it. And the only thing better is its impact. People know where you stand when you drop it. Sets you apart from the common vulgarian. Puts the pious on notice:
It’s not that I don’t believe in God... I’d just like to think whatever cosmic force is in control is big enough to accept the rhetorical mangling of his name for dramatic purposes with a smile. If you can part the Red Sea, turn water into wine, set a plague of locusts upon the Egyptians, smite the Pharoah’s first born son, and create worldwide floods, I’m thinking a couple coarse sounding consonants aren’t going to get your panties in a twist.
Credit the immortal, omnipotent and all powerful with a little circumspection.
This one makes the list because, let's face it: We live in the Age of the Douchebag. From micro-celebrities to the cast of Jersey Shore to the pick up artist community, the Douchebag is ubiquitous. He's everywhere, at every turn, firing back Captain Morgan’s and Red Bull, blowing half his salary on an M3, and doing seventy chest and shoulder reps at the gym to look ripped before going to the club... Talking how he's going into an Ibanking gig with his 2.7 in History from St. Alfonso's State... Playing drums on his steering wheel to Chevelle. Unironically.
“Douchebag” works because this creature is so prevalent, so demanding of frequent description, that he can't be labeled with a title too harsh for polite discussion. Nor is he deserving of one. “Dick,” “Asshole” - these are terms of respect. The Douchebag wishes he were either, but his sole defining feature, the thing that sets him apart, is he's the exact antithesis of both. Like that old song “I’m just a bill,” from those “Schoolhouse Rock” shorts, he's “Just a douchebag” - a descriptive you can use on prime time network TV. He doesn't even warrant what an FCC scowl would consider true obscenity.
This is a personal favorite. No, not because it was the name of Steve Martin's mutt in The Jerk. Because it fills in an important blank where no other insult seems to fit. Consider your next office meeting - the big, department-wide one where everyone sits around a conference table, scanning Facebook on his or her Blackberry, pretending "Yes, I care about this place." You'll get bored, and scan the people at the table, running a dialogue in your head to stay awake. Perhaps a platonic variation of the "Marry/Fuck/Kill" game.
Ed? Good dude, but has no judgment at all. He's in Fatal Attraction territory banging Miriam. She's going off her meds one of these days and totally calling his wife. Kaitlin? God, I'd love to fuck her. She's got to know how tight that shirt is. Terry? Nice guy, but damn is he clueless... How does he not know Ed's also fucking Miriam?
And then there's Bob, the guy who’s talking. Always talking. God only knows what he's saying - something about what he'd change in some policy if he were designated liaison to the panel reporting to the group that oversees the committee that makes recommendations to the board that suggests changes in policies to management. "And that's why I think we need a clear and concise rule on all interoffice communications being in Times New Roman. Excepting, of course, the Pitcairn Island branch, which I believe still runs DOS..."
What’s Bob? He's nothing like any of the others. As you sit there watching the department head absorb Bob's display, pretending to be listening intently as Bob attempts to demonstrate he's executive mettle, in the process saying nothing of value (or even simple coherence), one word comes to mind. Shithead... Bob’s a shithead.
Indeed he is. And a variation of the same thought's written at the top of your department head's notes:
(Do Not) Fuck: Miriam
It's nuclear, the insult that always works. Without fail, however cool or enlightened she thinks she is, drop a “C Bomb” on her and all bets are off, all boundaries breached. Expect something thrown in your direction. Something heavy, probably sharp.
But why? What makes this little collection of guttural consonants so special? The question almost answers itself: Cunt's special because she thinks she's special. Women are told from birth that they're each rare and unique - impossible, inscrutable creatures. Cunt cuts a female down in total, in barely a single syllable. And yes, this blows their circuits. It's not that the word's too crass, too harsh, or uniquely sexist. It's that the word is simply too effective. It implodes a woman's claim to complexity - that neither she, nor any part of her anatomy, could ever be distilled to a simple descriptive that works as well as "dick."
This is an awful shame, because it's all misapprehension. Men don't use the “C Word” because it's cruel, nor do we use it to demean. It's just an easy time saver. We'd like to use a longer insult, one describing the rare flowers women, and their genitals, are. But what would that require? What mouthful of tortured language? "You know what you are, Heidi? You're a collection of aesthetically unparalleled, impeccably arranged erogenous tissues tethered to a set of awe-inducing, amazingly adapted reproductive devices.”?
No, Heidi, you’re described with a lot less verbalizing than that. And if you weren’t holding that stainless steel pen like a dagger, which driven into my eye would probably result in $10,000 of surgery, I’d be tempted to let it fly.
[There would have been five insults on the list, but Phila Lawyer lost the fifth, the cunt.]