"profanity" (topic drift from Re: FPGA VAX update)

der Mouse mouse at Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA
Wed Oct 26 18:35:55 CDT 2005

>> (2) Plenty of non-"Puritanical Western Judeo-Christian" mindsets
>> include the divide between the sacred and the profane.
> But not very many attach it to taboos against particular single
> words.

Actually, the two words in question were not profanity but vulgarity,
if you want to get picky about it.  (That is, they were expressing
profane things vulgarly rather than profaning sacred things.  But note
that one dictionary entry I've seen implies that one meaning of
"profanity" is a subset of "vulgarity", so it's not totally clear-cut.)

Still, though, your point is well taken.  I haven't studied it enough
to really know precisely why the words in question are taboo.  But it
seems very likely to me that it's because of the "body = profane = bad,
spirit = sacred = good" dichotomy, and that is, AIUI, mostly restricted
to (the cultures of) the Peoples of the Book.

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