As with most cultural pseudo-controversies, I’ve been fascinated and annoyed with both sides of the “naughty words” hullabaloo. Steven Pinker offers the best popular analysis I’ve seen, in The New Republic.
The response is not only emotional but involuntary. It’s not just that we don’t have earlids to shut out unwanted sounds. Once a word is seen or heard, we are incapable of treating it as a squiggle or noise; we reflexively look it up in memory and respond to its meaning, including its connotation.
(via Daring Fireball)