Although I wrote the script for this a while prior, an intriguing occurrence has transpired on Wikipedia: That regarding the naming of the recent weather system affecting Scotland, officialy Cyclone Friedhelm, but more popularly referred to as ‘Hurricane Bawbag’. Interestingly, and perhaps somewhat predictably, the main drivers for a change in the article title to its official name has not come from editors within Scotland, but from mostly US-based stakeholders. Unfortunately, they appear not to have dealt with Scottish people before, let alone Scottish nerds: You push an issue with a Scot, and they’ll stand firm. You push an issue with a Scottish Nerd, and you are looking at a full fortification with justification pulled from the very documents you are attempting to effect the change under. Seriously, just go look at the discussion page: It’s hilarious.

At the heart of the issue is the core fact that some words in the Scots dialect are simultaneously more and less offensive than their equivalents in the English language. The main contention with Hurricane Bawbag being the perceived indignity Wikipedia would suffer over having a page effectively titled ‘Hurricane Scrotum’ (the fact that the weather system is not, in fact, a Hurricane also has quite a lot to do with it). Bawbag, in the Scottish vernacular and as applied to the cyclone, is not merely a childish curse word. It is a perfect summation of the Scottish peoples’ attitude towards the storm. Where other countries might lament the chaos it has caused, Scots instead anthropomorphise the destructive weather as a kind of vagabond, a careless, senseless lout who cares not the trouble he causes for others: He is not truly malicious, he just enjoys causing trouble. He is, in essence, a ‘bawbag’. Cf jerk, dumbass, wanker.

The reason I bring this up in the rant is related to my use of the word ‘feck‘ in today’s page. This comic has an interesting spread of readers, with the general share being, in order, The USA, Australia, The UK, Germany, Norway, Sweden. So naturally I was apprehensive about using the word ‘feck’, given its close proximity to its more profane cousin: Not particularly because I fear insulting the readership; I try to use swear words only where appropriate, and never to excess. The first f-word in Elf Blood is being reserved for a very powerful, special moment that will benefit from reserving its usage until that point.

It then struck me: I could use this as an opportunity to educate people about the wonderful word ‘feck’! It is often used as a replacement for the other word, primarily by the Irish, but its usage in Scots originates from a different source but can often be heard decorating the language here and there. It is a wonderful, glorious word, and like the Irish and Scots who employ it it’s rarely deployed in a hostile manner (It’s when we’re extremely polite to you that you should be worried). It’s chummy, it’s matey, it’s a word that you could go down the pub with and share a drink and a laugh with. The fecker’s feckin’ lighthearted, and imparts a kind of jovial, roguish air that you’d be feckin hard-pressed to emulate through any other means.

So go, for feck’s sake, and spread the joy of the word (where appropriate). Use it with pride, educate people in the vernacular, and employ the sheer versatility of the word in your lexicon henceforth!

Just don’t feckin’ tell anyone I told you about it, ‘kay?