Warning: Contains Language

Jon at Facedown in the Gutters makes a cogent and important point: Saying "Frak" when you mean "Fuck" is just plain stupid.

For those not in the know...well, back in the day, there was "Battlestar Galactica." It starred Ben Cartwright and Faceman from "The A-Team" in velour spacesuits, and was not very good. Now and then, the characters uttered the word "frak" in a sort of general cursing kind of way. A few years ago, somebody decided to remake "Battlestar Galactica." The new one stars Lt. Castillo and the lady from Dances With Wolves and it is thoroughly awesome. The writers of the new one, drawing on fond memories of the old one, naturally brought back the word "frak." In the new one, it's clearly the "Galactica" equivalent of fuck. They say frakking, and mother-frakker, and "Frak you!" and other stuff that makes its nature as a vulgar word completely obvious. Internet nerds have picked up on this and use the word "frak" all the time in, as Jon observes, Ain't-it-Cool talkbacks and other thoroughly lame contexts.

Just say "fuck," nerds. "Frak" isn't cool, it isn't funny, it isn't anything but dorky as hell. Fuck is a good word, even though it's a bad word. No, I don't use it in polite company or when writing academic papers or anything like that. But in a casual sense, it's a great word. Deployed with style and panache, it can be cool. Used with timing and flair, it can be funny. For example, two of the funniest moments from two of my favorite movies:

The Stranger: I like your style, Dude. Just one thing, though.
The Dude: What's that?
The Stranger: Do you have to use so many cusswords?
The Dude: What the fuck you talking about?
The Stranger: Okay, Dude, have it your own way...

Otto: You pompous, stuck-up, fuck-face, dick-nose...
Archie: How interesting. You're quite the vulgarian, aren't you?
Otto: You're the vulgarian, you fuck!

(That's The Big Lebowski and A Fish Called Wanda, respectively for the cinematically illiterate out there.)

Maybe I'm the vulgarian, but I find the f-word funny as hell. It adds such lovely weight and emphasis to any sentence. It conveys so much with just four simple letters. It can be a noun, a verb, an adjective, an interjection...creative users can probably even make it into a conjunction or an adverb. Actors as lowly as Sly Stallone and Schwarzenegger have practically built careers on it, and actors as acclaimed as DeNiro and Pacino have used it no less often. Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Eddie Murphy practically raised its utterance to an art form. Minds as great as Carl Sagan's have pondered it - in The Dragons of Eden, he muses on the implied "I" of the phrase, "Fuck you!"

Cole Porter once claimed that "good authors...once knew better words," but I donno. I've read Chaucer, and that dude could make a sailor blush. Filthy mouth, that Chaucer. Or filthy pen, anyway.

The title of this post, by the way is lifted from the title of Neil Gaiman's audio-book story collection. I don't think he uses the f-word all that much. Even so, you should check it out, as it's pretty fuckin' good.