I was talking to someone recently who told me that ‘bugger’ is not a rude word in New Zealand. It has been used in a car ad campaign, with ‘oh bugger’ as a promotional bumper sticker.
‘Bastards’ is a term that’s used with affection in Australia (as shown in their famous ‘Buy more beef, you bastards’ slogan).
And ‘merde’ in French is not as rude as ‘shit’ is in English.
Just goes to show the importance of choosing the right language for your audience.