American slang is really funny. Especially when they want to swear, but can’t since it wouldn’t be proper. In this case, they use similar-sounding, but inoffensive words like Gosh, Darn, Heck, Sheesh, Jeez and Fudge.
So Heck is where you go if you don’t believe in Gosh. You’re basically darned for all eternity. Jeez, you’ve really fudged the Sheesh up this time.
For some reason, it’s not dirty if you say these sweet versions, even though you’re obviously expressing and using the meaning of the Dirty Seven Words.
Interestingly, “sucks” wasn’t considered dirty at all at first. As it was just a “nonoffensive word for suction” which then started to gain a slang meaning related to fellatio. But with increased popularity and usage, it has outgrown its sexual connotations, and is now considered a a “PG“-phrase.
Actually, the American film rating system gives an idea of how bad the various expletives are. The exact criteria are not known, though some general guidelines seem clear:
– if a film uses “one of the harsher sexually-derived words” (such as fuck) once, it remains eligible for a PG-13 rating, provided that the word is used as an expletive and not in a sexual context;
– if such language is used more than once, or once if in a sexual context, it usually receives an R rating;
– a reference to drugs usually gets a movie a PG-13 at a minimum, though a few movies were rated PG for mild drug references;
– a “graphic” or “explicit” drug scene earning a film an R at a minimum;
while total female nudity is permitted in an R-rated movie, any display of naked male genitalia will (usually) result in an NC-17 rating. Non-sexual male nudity is the one exception.
It could be fun to dub a film like Pulp Fiction so that all the expletives would be substituted with these acceptable words. Of course, there’s still the graphic drug scenes, violence and sex, but at least they can’t fault the language…