NYU ITP 4-in-4

The Dirtiest Word Known to Man Vs. The Happiest Word Known to Man

For my last five in five projects, I wanted to do something completely different from anything I had done thus far. As I’ve been focused mainly on making physical things, and finishing the Arrow Flag kept me up half the night, the thought of touching any sort of material or doing any wiring made me cringe a little, it was more then clear that an alternative form of expression was necessary.

Anyone who has ever spent time building anything knows that frustrations can mount quite quickly during the process. If you’ve ever spent anytime in the P-comp lab on the ITP floor, it’s more then likely that you’ve heard people venting these frustrations, often in the form of loud expletives. Swearing, for whatever reasons, is probably one of the most common forms of expression on the planet. Profanity almost always captures the listener’s attention, and nearly always conveys a definite mood or point.

I am no stranger to foul language, and often surprise myself with my mutterings when a task isn’t going as easily as I had originally hoped. Last night, while finishing up my project, I found myself repeating a series of words over and over and over again. At one point, around 4 am, the words seemed to blend into their own incomprehensible sound, forming the ultimate dirty word.

Today, for my last 5-in-5, I decided to keep things pretty simple and recreate a vulgar blended word for all to hear. After spending some time search for a definitive list of ‘swear’ words, I found that the most comprehensive and respected collection seemed to belong to the late George Carlin, from his routine “Seven Dirty Words You Can Never Say on Television.” For those of you not familiar with the routine (and you really should be), Carlin also lists three ‘auxiliary’ words in addition to the original seven, all ten of which are guaranteed to get you in immediate trouble with the FCC. I won’t repeat the words by themselves, but you can find the list on Wikipedia, ihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7_words, if you are interested). Some of these curses are far too harsh for my usual repertoire, but I decided to include them in this project nonetheless.

Next, I recorded myself saying all of the curses in Audacity, edited them, and then layered the sounds on top of the other. The result is completely incomprehensible, but, by my reckoning, should in fact be the dirtiest word known to man.

Take a listen, and don’t worry, it’s impossible to make out individual profanities: The Dirtiest Word

As a counterpoint, I also poked around the net for the ten happiest words in the English language. There were no definitive sources on this, but I did come across several message board/blog postings, and self help pages, listing ‘happy’ words, so I used a medley of the ones that came up the most frequently.

The words were:


This, by all means, should then be one of the happiest sounds you’ll ever hear;

Take a listen; The Happiest Word

Anyway, I have to say that I was shocked by how similarly the audio collages sound. I expected that the ‘dirtiest word’ would have much harsher ‘R’ and ‘U’ sounds, but instead has a sort of ‘shhhhhhh’ sound. The happiest word just sounds like a bit of a mess, really no surprise given the tonal variation amongst the samples used.

This project, though finished for today, feels like something that would be fun to explore much further.

In the mean time, feel free to drop as many D bombs as you’d like,

And I wish you a “???” day.


August 1st, 2008


Add your own

  • 1. John Dimatos  |  August 2nd, 2008 at 11:02 am

    “Some of these curses are far too harsh for my usual repertoire”.

    yeah i forgot, you grew up in a nunnery.

  • 2. Daily DIY Network - Scien&hellip  |  August 4th, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    [...] final day of 5 in 5 was happy-dirty, telepathic, deliciously chilly, retro-reflective, recursively meta, southwardly mobile, [...]

  • 3. 5 in 5: Day 5 | Abiyaa&hellip  |  August 4th, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    [...] in 5: Day 5 The final day of 5 in 5 was happy-dirty, telepathic, deliciously chilly, retro-reflective, recursively meta, southwardly mobile, [...]

  • 4. sid  |  August 5th, 2008 at 4:50 am

    You missed hilarious! I feel double sided happy and dirty

  • 5. web browsers  |  June 24th, 2013 at 12:27 am

    The 1999 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica quoted some fascinating research
    that supports the model I propose:. Here’s a list of alternative browsers that you might want to download and check out. Tools ->> Options ->> Privacy Tab ->> Settings button.

Leave a Comment


Required, hidden

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Daily Posts

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • feed


    type and hit 'enter'