The Saturday Writing Quote: SI Hayakawa

“The stronger verbal taboos have . . . a genuine social value. When we are extremely angry and we feel the need of expressing our anger in violence, uttering these forbidden words provides us with a relatively harmless verbal substitute for going berserk and smashing furniture; that is, the words act as a kind of safety valve in our moments of crisis.”

S.I. Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action 66 (4th ed. 1978) (quote from Bryan Garner’s daily post on Modern American Usage)