I am a wide-eyed enthusiast for censored profanity.
The biggest reason, I suppose, for this enthusiasm is that I believe it achieves the opposite of its intended effect. Rather than obfuscating an unsavory word, a big ol’ bleep circles it, highlights it, and sends your brain scurrying back to the obscenity file to figure out which word belongs there. Whenever I hear a bleep, I usually end up repeating the sentence a few more times after the fact because hearing a bleep that is otherwise apropos of nothing is jarring and bleeps up my contextual understanding of whatever scene I’m watching.
Thankfully we seem to becoming more grown up on our scripted shows where you find fewer characters talking in euphemisms and like elementary school librarians. Characters on The Walking Dead frequently say “bullshit,” “asshole,” and “goddamn” which is fitting considering these assholes are struggling with all their bullshit interpersonal problems when they should be focusing on the goddamn zombie apocalypse of more pressing concern.
You’ll typically find bleeped profanity on reality shows where television producers have yet to exhaust the public’s appetite for gawking at narcissistic imbeciles debasing themselves for unseemly notoriety and what I presume is ultimately small amounts of money.
I was reading this recently because I evidently have no taste (nor anything better to do at work), and I was struck by this transcribed sentence from a character named Knight from MTV’s The Challenge:
“If somebody goes against us, be ready to get a mental bleep. Because I am going to bleeping bleep with their brain, nobody can take it, so I am just going to keep bleeping with people how I do.”
Unless you’re a Quaker or something, you can probably guess what words have been replaced with bleeps. However, this brings me to my other favorite element of censored profanity: Absurdist Mad Libs! I like to look at that sentence and pretend I’m Kristen Wiig’s character from Paul, the recently freed Christian fundamentalist who has a tenuous grasp on the correct utilization of expletives. So, I just substitute in my own favorite dirty words and have a private little chuckle.
“If somebody goes against us, be ready to get a mental blowjob. Because I am going to buttrimming fuck with their brain, nobody can take it, so I am just going to keep dogshitting with people how I do.”
See, way fun. You can even keep it simple. Later in that same stupid article, he transcribes Nany’s remarks: “That’s bullbleep, that’s bullbleep…” which goes to “That’s bulltits, that’s bulltits…” in my head.
The next time you find yourself trapped under something and there’s nothing on besides some godawful Real Housewives episodes while you await help, try feeding your own diseased imagination with misplaced profanity.
It’s some bleeping fun bleep!