According to reports, the opening of the film Gone With The Wind was delayed for a time by the last line of the film, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Said by Clark Gable (Rhett Butler) it put the ultra religious and conservative populace into a tizzy with that word “damn” actually being said. Both “hell” and “damn” were prohibited by the movie production code of the period when the film was released in 1939. Obviously, they got around this.
A lot of similar admonitions existed during that period. The Eppinger Company debuted a new fishing spoon (lure) called the Osprey prior to WWI and after the war renamed as the Dare Devil in honor of the name given to the U.S. Marines during that global conflict
This did not go well in the south or north central states when anything in print or on a product with the name “devil” was anathema to Christians. The lure was renamed as the Dardevle – same pronunciation, different spelling – and things were fine.
While cursing and blasphemous names and terms have been more and more accepted in recent years, there still exists severe admonition against saying or printing “God damn” or “God damned”. It is considered blasphemous, a violation of the third of the Ten Commandments. Its use makes Christians as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
Ironically, some of the terms used today echo that same “God damn”, although now in a euphemistic form that does not rattle the religious. The term of the youth “Oh my God” or “O my God” or said rapidly “OhmyGod” or even “OMG” in a phone text is not looked upon with askance, even though it is still using the name of the Lord in vain and thus still blasphemous. The Christians should stomp on their children for using this and saying it constantly.
Similarly, if you exclaim “God!” you are using God’s name in vain. But everyone accepts the word “golly” despite the fact that it is a euphemism for “God” used in a frivolous way. The euphemism “Jeez” is a usually-accepted substitute for the blasphemous “Jesus!” or “Jesus Christ!”
The “Oh my God” and similar terms are a part of speech called an interjection, an added expression of speech which is not really necessary, but can be used for emphasis, just as can “God damn”.
Ironically, a lot of expressions used and accepted today are still sacrilegious, but are euphemisms developed long ago. In the late 1700’s saying or writing the wrong thing could get you into a heap of trouble, including jail time or perhaps the stocks, a flogging or two, etc. That included “God” and “damn”, used the wrong way or combined.
Thus, the invention of the terms “darn” “durn” “drat” and similar words. These are euphemisms for the word “damn”, this word again something bad to say, write or think.
Thus, we have the expressions “gosh darn”, “gosh durn”, that are acceptable substitutes for “God damn”. The term “dad gum” as in “dad gum it” or something similar (think of the Walton’s TV show) is a reversal of letters or letter order to achieve the same degree of personal disgust or displeasure as the forbidden words yet meaning the same thing.
And, the expression “Gosh” as a substitute for “God” as in “Gosh darn”, “Gosh durn” or “dang” are in common usage. Gosh is a twist on “God” from 1757 while ”dang” comes from 1793 and “durn” from 1781.
Some expressions came later. The “doggone” expression – another substitute for “God damn” – comes from 1828 while the similar “gol darn” originated in 1825 – 1835.
Thus, if you are using expressions of hate, disgust, disapproval and such, use those that are currently in vogue such as “OMG” or those above from the 1700’s and 1800’s.
At least they won’t get you thrown into jail, fastened to the stocks in the public square or burned at the stake. They probably won’t even get you thrown out of church. And only you will know what they really mean!