Foul language, like a lot of other things in our society, is on the decline, according to the editor of Maledicta, the International Journal of Verbal Aggression. And that's a bad thing, he believes, because a society that cannot vent its frustrations verbally will do so physically, and that means violence. In fact, the editor, Reinhold Aman, who can hurl invective in 200 languages, believes the nation needs a how-to book on billings-gate, and he's working on one, "Name Calling Made Easy." "
Oh, the need is there," he says. "We have a rich vocabulary of a good 2,000 earthy epithelts, yet we are reduced to a bare handful in everyday use. You know the words -- the dirty dozen. "That wouldn't be so bad, except that in the past 10 years they have become so overused they have lost sting. Words that were once taboo are now commonplace at dinner parties. Have you noticed violence increasing? Well, that is one reason." He quotes Sigmund Freud: "The first human who hurled a curse instead of a weapon against his adversary was the founder of civilization." The world's champion cursers are Hungarians, who rely on a combination of blasphemy and family insults, Aman says. But while a "Hungarian can curdle your blood," the cleverest are Yiddish speakers: "May you inherit a shipload of gold; may it not be enough to pay your doctor bills," for example. In the United States, only Southerners offer any real eloquence: "Yo' breath is so foul it would knock a buzzard off a manure wagon."