Raunch Review: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Raunch Review: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Raunch Reviews is a series about profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not. In this series, I examine the faux-profanity from various works of sci-fi and fantasy, judge their effectiveness, and rate them on an unscientific and purely subjective scale. This is Raunch Reviews, welcome.

Raunch Review: Fantastic Mr. FoxThe Author: Wes Anderson
Work in Question: Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Profanity: “cuss”

Okay, before we get into this one, I think it’s helpful to see it in use.

It’s hard to look at Fantastic Mr. Fox and not address the aesthetic aspects. It’s a technical masterpiece which tells a simple story based on a Roald Dahl novel from 1974. “Cuss” never appears in the original source material—this is a product of the screenplay. Like most Wes Anderson films, there is as much style as there is substance, and there are layers that shouldn’t be ignored.

“Cuss,” in this case, is fascinating. It’s used as a profanity; it assuredly runs the gamut and replaces other much more offensive words—but never of the same type. At one point it’s an oath, a vulgarity in other moments, and it can even be licentious: it doesn’t matter, and that’s the point. “Cuss” replaces everything. But it does this in a way that is more amusing than offensive. Where “frak” was a clear attempt to get around censors, and “shazbot” was goofy foolishness played for laughs, “cuss” ends up being a subtle (and effective) commentary (that also happens to be played for laughs).

“Cuss” by itself means nothing outside of its recognized definition. But when it describes nonsense, it becomes nonsense. It becomes a parody; it pokes fun and recognizes the absurdity and duality inherent in language, and in this way it transcends faux-profanity.

So, where does that leave me in a series in which I rate the effectiveness of faux-profanity? “Cuss” is effective as commentary, but as profanity, it falls short. And I think that’s the point.

Score: No Score, you sly fox 😒


🤬 Previous Raunch Reviews

Have a suggestion for Raunch Reviews? It can be any made up slang word from a book, television show, or movie. You can email me directly with your recommendation or leave a comment below. I’ll need to spend time with the property before I’ll feel confident reviewing it, so give me a little time. I have a lot of books to read.


Friday Link Pack 03/21/14

The Soviet Edition of The Hobbit Has the Best Gollum

It’s time to share a few interesting links I have found throughout the week. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Let me know!


The Apartheid of Children’s Literature
Poignant article from Christopher Meyer’s discussing the noticeable lack of non-white protagonists in children’s literature. (Thanks to Sky for letting me know about this.)

List of Animal Sounds
A comprehensive list of animal sound in the english language. Handy resource.

Publishing is a Lottery & Publishing is a Carny Game
Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath analyze and discuss the state of the publishing industry. It’s a long and thought provoking article and I highly recommend every writer indie or otherwise giving it a read.

Honest Tolkien Covers
Because really…


Amazing Illustrations from the Russian Edition of the Hobbit
Such an awesome style. Really love the take on all the characters. I agree with the article’s title: best gollum. Easily.

Rod Ruth – Creatures From “Science Fiction Tales and More Science Fiction Tales” 1973-74
Great assembly of Rod Ruth’s amazing vintage monster illustrations.


FieldCandy’s “Fully Booked” Tent
Because who doesn’t want a tent that looks like a book? (Thanks to Sky for sending this in me, he was on a roll this week.)

Americans – why do you keep refrigerating your eggs?
Answers to a fascinating question that I’d guess most American’s didn’t even know existed.

Rear Window Timelapse
Footage from the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock film Rear Window spliced together into one awesome timelapse.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family
Fun fact, the first line from this creepy little tale will be the epigraph for my next novel: Old Broken Road. Madness is scary.

Farewell Gif of the Week:

buwah!? ear-ear-ear-earthquaaaake!