I tried not to use "Pete" but it fit... I always thought "Pete" was St. Peter, but I like the itinerant farmer explanation (though it doesn't actually identify who Pete is or why his name is being invoked).
Anyway, I've often made a similar argument, Perry. Why bother being cutesy pie when everyone knows what you mean by a------ or "fudge and banana peels"? I mean, don't get me wrong, I find this quite useful now as my 5 year old is reading and my 3 year old is a linguistic sponge. Don't really need this kind of language coming out of their mouths at this age (that can wait for school to start for the 5 year old next week!). But this kind of language is so commonly used in the media, on playgrounds, and sadly in households now that it seems an affectation to avoid using it while substituting a word or a phrase that makes it obvious what our intent is in the first place! However, I look on it as leading by example. The words are out there and I use them
but I don't really want to teach my kids, or my friend's teenagers, that it's OK to use them in everyday language.
Ultimately, I feel it's a respect issue - most of the time, I'm able to avoid using this kind of language in mixed company and I do so because I respect that these words ARE offensive to many people and am sensitive to that. Example: I helped the neighbour's late teens/early 20's son troubleshoot a water pressure issue that was causing the seals on her hose bibs to blow out. I've never heard such prolific effing and blinding in my life and I
was offended. Here I was, a somewhat older (OK "OLDER") person whom he had never met before and he was peppering his language with so many swear words that it was hard to pick out the non-swear words and figure out what he was trying to say (other than that he was exceptionally randy and wanted to have sex WITH the hose bibs, the wrenches, the water pressure gauge, a Hydrangea, and the cat - or so I inferred from his liberal reference to the act)! I found it overly familar, crass, inappropriate, rude, and insensitive. For all he knew, I could have been the parish priest! That I am far from it is entirely beside the point...
I think the key is familiarity - I think you need to someone before you can start talking a blue streak in front of them.