There's been a big publicity campaign going on here lately sponsored by the Catholic Church. It seems they want their words back. I don't know if this is unique in the world, but all of the "curse" words here in Quebec are actually artifacts from the church.
If we stop for a moment and look at English, all of the curse words seem to center around body parts and functions. By naming someone a specific orifice, you can essentially say that you don't like someone (Asshole! Cunt!) or suggest that someone is a coward (Pussy!). When an unfortunate event occurs, one is likely to shout out a bodily function (Shit!) or the act of coupling (Fuck!)
But here in Quebec, you might hear something like this:
Q#1: Chalice of the Tabernacle!
Q#2: What's wrong?
Q#1: Host, I can't find my wallet, sacrament. Have you seen it?
Q#2: It's right here in plain view! Tabernacle, you're an idiot!
You see, chalice, host, sacrament and especially tabernacle are quite offensive terms when used blasphemously.
So the Catholic church has decided to reappropriate its words and has created a lovely billboard campaign to do so. You can read more about it here.
I think it's amusing because words are just words, even faggot and nigger. And words only have power if you let them. So don't let them!
Still, it's funny to ponder what these billboards might look like in English.
It's only excrement.
Everybody's got one, just don't be one.
That could be your mother they're talking about.
Anyway, they have made the town buzz about it the last few weeks because it's highly shocking to see these words on billoards. It's like when I first saw a huge display for Fcuk perfume. I was so shocked, and even a little irritated.
My favorite off color expression in Quebec has got to be "Go (take a) shit!" This is something like "Go to Hell" in English. Apparently shitting is highly unpleasant here. (Could it be the poutine?)