Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Digital Preservation of Swear Words

One proposal for the new digital brains is monetizing word use. The new mechanical mind will let you browse the internet in your brain; GoogleBooks will let you do a month of research in minutes. Similarly you’ll have every word in the dictionary at your disposal. But the ability to think certain words, and think them strongly enough to form sentences that you can speak, will cost you. It’s a preventive measure against the kind of people who turned “shit” from a word used when the bank foreclosed on your house to a word used when you stubbed your toe. Everyone will be born with an allotment of ten free swears. In your life you may swear up to ten times at no charge at all, with the idea that you’ll save them for when your father is hit by a bus or you discover blood in your stool. Times when swearing is absolutely appropriate. Fur for every swear over the initial ten you’ll have to pay one hundred credits, equal to the wage of a middle class worker for two and a half days. With cussing being so expensive, it will be similarly rare, reserved only for extreme cases, and so will remain associated with the emotional extremes it deserves. The big problem with this legislation is, as one Representative put it, “the fucking wealthy will swear as much as they fucking want while everyone else is fucked.” But new legislation within this bill will bridge the gap. The wealthy will still be able to afford cussing, but any individual who swears will be charged an additional fee for every individual who hears them. So when Paris Hilton the 3rd hops on Youtube to swear with impunity, she’ll pay another week’s savings for every hit the video gets. With digital brains, everyone who hears the swear will automatically be registered with the central database. The math is infallible. Swearing in film is expected to likewise plummet, as no studio wants to spend more for one “fuck” than it did paying the actress to perform the act on camera. So it will be for the millionaire and the bus driver. If you dislike the proposal you can still tell the Parliament to fuck off, but in a few years it will cost you.


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