Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fricking Fracking Fixtures

Two questions from Michael Schmidt.  First,

"Frack" a suitable substitute for the expletive "fuck," and "frickin'" (or "frikkin'") is a suitable substitute for the participle "fuckin'". Why, then, is "frick" rarely used as a substitute for "fuck" and "frackin'" hardly ever heard in place of "fuckin'"?
"Frack" is not merely a non-offensive version of the f-word, but historically was derived from the irregular German verb "fricken" which means to benefit (as with a friend).  It is conjugated:

ich frack             wir fricken
du fracksts          ihr fricket
er/sie/es frack     sie fricken
            Sie fricken

The "frack"/"frikken" distinction thus traces back to the first person singular/third person plural difference in the present tense of the etymologically prior formulation.  The past participle, of course, is "gefruckt" which coincidentally was Herman Goering's dying word.

Why are all the so-called "bathroom vanity light fixtures" offered for sale, both at the local home center and online, so frickin' ugly?
They are not only ugly but ugly in the same way -- bulbous and clunky.  Fashion trends in clothing change very quickly, architectural fashion not so much.  In the great McMansion build-up of the 1990s, mass produced status homes were pressed out of cookie cutters quickly and cheaply (in terms of quality, not price) and the standard builders grade fixtures became the standard image of what a bathroom would look like.  As such, it is what people expect and thus all we get to "choose" from.