Literature

Very Bad Words

Matt Fidler

+19 FANS

As long as there’s been language, there have been forbidden words. What gives these words their power? Why are they considered “bad”? Producer and Host, Matt Fidler, reaches out to experts, linguists, and historians to explore these words and their c...Show More

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35: George Carlin's Last Words

27:31 | May 9th, 2018

On this episode of Very Bad Words, we put the last four words on George Carlin’s list on trial. Are these two 4-letter words, and two compound unequivocally indecent under all circumstances? With dirty words educator and linguist, Randall Eggert, and...Show More

42: The N-Word

41:04 | Jun 27th, 2018

Guest Producer Stephanie Billman helps guide us through the feelings, emotions, and history of the most violent, loaded word in the English lexicon, The N-Word. With guests Dr. Neil Lester, Dr. David Pilgrim, Marcie Brown, Malik Crumpler, Dardalie Br...Show More

41: Constructed Curses in Sci-Fi & Fantasy

29:15 | Jun 20th, 2018

Nerf-herder? Frack? Farking Zarquon? Guest producers Forrest Phillips and Emily Block guide us through cursing in fictional Worlds. Special guests include Marc Okrand - creator of Star Trek’s Klingon language, David J. Peterson - creator of Game of T...Show More

40: Minicast - Conversational Klingon

04:35 | Jun 13th, 2018

Matt talks to Marc Okrand about cursing in Klingon. The fictional Star Trek language that has become nearly as popular as the franchise itself.

39: Euphemisms

31:55 | Jun 6th, 2018

Certain topics in our society aren’t considered proper to talk about. To make it easier to talk about such sensitive subjects, we have invented terms that dance around the issues, instead of facing them directly. Join me and guests, Steven Pinker, Ph...Show More

38: Minicast - The "D" Word

06:21 | May 30th, 2018

In this week's minicast, Matt reflects on a death that is close to him and how we use or don't use words about "dead". We talk a little with Rabbi Physllis Sommer to help explain.

37: The Poo List

30:16 | May 23rd, 2018

Are you allowed to play swear words in scrabble? And if you really can, why aren’t they listed in the official scrabble player’s dictionary? Competitive scrabble players Stephan Fatsis and Brian Richgrubber tell us how it happened and why this is imp...Show More

36: Minicast - The Accepted Slur

06:07 | May 16th, 2018

In this minicast, Matt ponders why it's not okay to use the phrase, "Jew them down" ,but it's okay to say, "I've been gypped". Both words are considered offensive in their communities, but even people that we don't expect still use the word "gyp". We...Show More

34: Minicast - An American Comic in London

07:02 | May 2nd, 2018

George Carlin laid out the 7 words that can never be said on television, but of course he meant, American Television. In today’s minicast, Matt talks to British linguist, Damien Hall, to find out if those words are just as taboo in Great Britain.

33: Yo Mama!

22:45 | Apr 25th, 2018

On this episode of Very Bad Words, we are talking about Yo Mama! We bring in producer Joaquin Cotler and his interview with blues singer and historian Gaye Adegbalola to explore the connection of the phrase “Yo Mama” to the classic dirty blues song "...Show More

32: Minicast - Terms of Abuse

07:57 | Apr 18th, 2018

On this minicast, Matt talks to one of our listeners about how terms of abuse are used to dehumanize certain segments of society.

31: Cock-a-doodle-do!

24:46 | Apr 11th, 2018

There are many ways people refer to the human penis, but one word sticks out as the most vulgar. Join us as we learn about the other c-word, its complicated origins, and why it doesn’t mean the same thing to all people. With guests: Mark Morton, Emil...Show More

30: Minicast - Superman is a D*ck and Batman is an A-Hole!

07:16 | Apr 4th, 2018

Matt talks to Superhero PhD, Peter Coogan about why Superman is a d*ck and a Batman is an a-hole. It you have one, you must have the other.

29: Swearing is Good Medicine

23:40 | Mar 28th, 2018

In this episode, Matt tries to find out if a study saying that swearing has an "opiate" like effect on pain is valid. He calls in journalist Jeff Harder, doctoral Northwestern student, Jim Kloet and pain psychologist Dr. Samantha Rafie to help him fi...Show More

28: Minicast - Matt Vists a Karate Dojo

05:22 | Mar 21st, 2018

In this Minicast, Matt goes to a Karate Dojo to chase a story about swearing and pain.

27: B!#ch is Back

37:13 | Mar 14th, 2018

Is the B-Word the “most stinging word that we use carelessly”? To explore this, the word’s history, and other questions regarding this common expletive, we talk to Shannon Dea, associate professor in philosophy and women’s studies at the University o...Show More

26: Minicast - Reclaiming B!#ch?

14:16 | Mar 7th, 2018

In this Minicast, Matt briefly chats with Shannon Dea about who gets to reclaim words like "slut" and the B-word.

25: Minicast - What's coming up on Very Bad Words

15:10 | Feb 28th, 2018

Matt is back after a break with a bunch of new topics around swearing and taboo language. In this Minicast, he lets you all know a little about what he has coming up for Very Bad Words.

24: Minicast: Do the Irish really swear more than the rest of us?

18:33 | Dec 13th, 2017

Matt tells a story about his foul-mouthed Irish friend and wonders what you would like to get out of the new season of Very Bad Words.

23: The Other F-Word

42:09 | Nov 15th, 2017

Matt is joined by Dan Savage, creator of "It Gets Better" and Savage Love to talk about the cultural impact and reclamation of the Fa-word. He also talks with Mark Morton, author of Dirty Words: The Story of Sex Talk, to discuss the origins of the ac...Show More

22: Minicast: Friend of Dorothy

15:40 | Nov 8th, 2017

Contributing producer, Stephanie Billman, tells Matt the ridiculous story of the FBI’s hunt for “Dorothy”.

21: Tourettes

38:20 | Oct 30th, 2017

In this episode, Matt speaks to both the director of a camp specifically for children with Tourette Syndrome and the Tourette’s Hero, Jess Thom to dispel the idea that it’s just the “swearing disease”.

20: Minicast - The Swearing Lady

14:13 | Oct 25th, 2017

A friend tells a story about his childhood fascination with Tourette Syndrome.

19: Censorship of a Masterpiece

35:42 | Oct 18th, 2017

Matt follows the story of the banning and unbanning of one of the most notorious books ever, James Joyce’s Ulysses. He speaks with Lisa Flannigan, Director of the 2017 Bloomsday Festival in New York City and James LaRue, the Director of the Office of...Show More

18: Minicast: Fairy Tales

18:42 | Oct 11th, 2017

Matt chats to James LaRue about why the most commonly banned books are fairy tales.

17: Profanity & Parenting

34:27 | Oct 4th, 2017

Matt talks to kids, parents, and the ”psychologist of swearing”, Dr. Timothy Jay, to find out just how bad it is to swear around your kids.

16: Minicast: Matt's Mom

14:11 | Sep 27th, 2017

We meet Matt's mom and talk about how she would swear around him growing up.

15: What an A-hole!

39:18 | Sep 20th, 2017

In this episode of Very Bad Words, Matt talks about A-holes with UC Berkeley Linguist and author of the book, Ascent of the A-Word, Geoffrey Nunberg.

14: Minicast - Pain in the Donkey

13:58 | Sep 13th, 2017

Matt chats with Geoff Nunberg about the differences between British “arse” and American “a$$”.

13: The Sacred & The Profane

33:51 | Sep 6th, 2017

In this episode of Very Bad Words, Evelyn Dean-Olmstead returns to help Matt explore how religion and mothers shape the way we swear. Guests: Anton Bonnici, Francois Gratton, Evelyn Dean-Olmstead

12: Minicast - A Really Bad Spanish Word

15:01 | Aug 30th, 2017

Matt talks to Evelyn Dean-Olmstead about one of the most offensive words spoken in Spanish.

The F-Word

24:08 | Aug 23rd, 2017

Matt talks with a number of people about everyone’s favorite swear word, including author of the book The F-Word, Jesse Sheidlower and radio colleague Andy Mills.

On The Next Very Bad Words: The F-Word

04:14 | Aug 16th, 2017

With the help of her parents, executive producer Jill, tells a story about her using the “F-word” as a young child.

Swearing in Foreign Languages

30:08 | Aug 9th, 2017

We learn about swearing in German, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, Farci, and Tummel. Linguistic Anthropologist Evelyn Dean-Olmstead helps us make the connection between taboo and the culture that created it.

On The Next Very Bad Words - Swearing in other languages

03:38 | Aug 2nd, 2017

Matt talks to Tara Clancy about being sworn at in Italian by her Grandmother.

The C-Word

29:31 | Jul 26th, 2017

On this very special episode of Very Bad Words, Matt is joined by co-host Katrin Redfern to explore one of the most controversial and misunderstood words in the English language. The C-Word! They reach out to women like Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy R...Show More

On The Next Very Bad Words - The C-Word

05:11 | Jul 19th, 2017

Matt's cousin talks about comedian Bill Burr and the C-Word.

WTF FCC?

24:24 | Jul 12th, 2017

What are the rules about swearing on television and radio? What can you actually say on the air, and how are these decisions made? Do these rules change as times change? On this episode of Very Bad Words, we learn how George Carlin’s bit about the 7 ...Show More

On The Next Very Bad Words: WTF, FCC?

00:40 | Jul 5th, 2017

Next week on Very Bad Words, we hear about how a famous comedian unintentionally changed the FCC's language policies forever.

Crossing the line in comedy

25:48 | Jun 28th, 2017

For years comedians in comedy clubs have been pushing the lines of what could be said in the public arena. Lenny Bruce was arrested multiple times for doing just that, and George Carlin was imortalized for same thing just a decade later. But swearing...Show More

Talking $h*t

27:31 | Jun 14th, 2017

Very Bad Words is the podcast about swearing and taboo language. On this episode we explore the origins of one of the oldest swear words in the English language, shit. We talk with linguist Geoff Nunberg and “the psychologist of swearing" Timothy Ja...Show More

Coming June 14th!

00:30 | Jun 7th, 2017

Promo for the podcast Very Bad Words, coming out June 14th.