Saturday, February 25, 2012

In Defense of Naughty Words

So, I wanted to talk about words a little bit. As you may have noticed, I tend to use them a lot. In fact, you might have noticed that I even use words that are gasp not really very fucking polite.

So I'm going to tell you how I feel about words, and the words I use.

Now, words are tricksy things sometimes. For example, I have no fucking problem being a little obscene here – I mean, it is my personal goddamn blog, after all. But there are some places that naughty words like "fuck" and "damn" and "shit" and what-have-you just shouldn't be used. Such places include things like:
  • Telling stories to young children,
  • School and professional papers and correspondence, and
  • Talking to one's grandparents (This varies, I understand, but I wouldn't be caught dead swearing around mine!)
But in the end, there are reasons why every human language has some form of obscenity in it.

If you ask me, one of those reasons is that profanity allows for a broader expression of meaning. If I say "The fact that the Personhood bill is still being considered in Virginia makes me really angry," it doesn't get quite the same point across as me saying "The fact that the Personhood bill is still being considered in Virginia makes me really fucking angry." With the simple and sparing application of profanity, you can better understand that said bill's continued existence, in the parlance of one of my high school English classes, really grinds my beans.

Now along with knowing the proper venues in which to employ profanity, it is also important to know not to overuse it. If I say "The fucking fact that the goddamned Personhood bill is still being fucking considered in Virginia makes me really fucking angry," I'm not enhancing my point, unless the point I'm trying to make is that I'm a misanthropic teenager with no idea how to use a thesaurus (protip: personally, that is not the kind of point I generally intend to make), and even for that, it sounds a bit overwrought.

At the end of the day, I think that omitting all obscenity in favor of being unoffensive cripples a language. There are times and places for outrage and obscene happiness and a general lack of moderation, and it's rather silly to stifle one's ability to communicate those emotion in order to uphold some sort of Victorian sensibility over words that aren't fit for polite society.

Personally, I think I make my points better, at least in this venue, when I include profanity where appropriate (this is largely due to the fact that I'm writing opinion pieces about how I feel about things). I'm not trying to make these posts into a slurry of obscenity. And, really, there are a lot of words that I do not think are appropriate for use here, but that's a discussion for... another time.

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