From a Steven Pinker essay on the emotional power of swearing:
As it happens, most expletives aren’t genuine adverbs, either. One study notes that, while you can say That’s too fucking bad, you can’t say That’s too very bad. Also, as linguist Geoffrey Nunberg pointed out, while you can imagine the dialogue How brilliant was it? Very, you would never hear the dialogue How brilliant was it? Fucking.
When one of my friends mentioned that it was Fleet Week in San Francisco, and that the Blue Angels would therefore be coming to town, I immediately got on the highest horse I could locate on such short notice. “It’s unconscionable,” I complained. “Does it make any sense for jet fighters to fly in close formation above a densely-populated city? No, it does not. Can you imagine if an accident happened? I don’t think I could ever watch the Blue Angels. I’d feel horribly guilty.”
By the time I wound up in San Francisco this afternoon, I had forgotten this conversation entirely. So it came as a complete surprise when, as I walked south along the Embarcadero, I heard a thunderous roar overhead. Looking up, I saw four jets arcing through the sky in a diamond formation, maybe a half-wingspan apart; they swung out over the water, then curved around and flew over the Financial District.
I still think it’s completely reckless to conduct an air show above downtown San Francisco. However, I am forced to concede that it is also totally awesome.