Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Four Letter Words

Opinion post:Write about how you feel about cussing in blog land? Acceptable? Unacceptable? Do you keep reading?
Fuuuuuuuuuuuu......chsia...? Okay, as a general rule, I do not have a problem with well chosen and appropriately used swear words. What's well chosen and appropriate? That's contextual, but I go by this rule of thumb that I first heard when I was doing my Practicum:
A girl screwed up on something on Farmville (why she was playing Farmville at school still confuses me) and says, very loudly, "Fuchsia*!" The teacher in the room looks at her and says, "You know what, that's not okay. There are times when that word is totally and completely necessary. Like, when you've just been diagnosed with cancer and you're standing on the shore by the ocean and you and a girlfriend just yell FUCHSIA!!! at the top of your lungs. But your crops dying on Farmville? Yeah, not a fuchsia moment."

*"Fuschia" is my stand in for the "F" word--I am looking for a job in a school district, after all.

Sometimes we blog about fuchsia moments. Sometimes a little cussin' adds just the right dash of emotion and voice to a blog post that the reader really senses what the writer is saying. And isn't that the major point behind blogging? To communicate ourselves and lives to one another?

I mean, another example, I guess, of the time and place for profanity is when my mom and I listened to this song by Mumford and Sons and they say they really "fuchsia-ed it up this time." We agree it's totally appropriate, because, considering the context of the song, it's what you would say (and my mom does not swear. Really.). It's true to life and appropriately descriptive.

That said, though I've never seen it on a blog before, the curse words can be over done. Sure, Eminem, I get you're angry at your mom, but do you really need to use the "F" word in every part of speech possible to get that point across? Or, another example, Mr. George R.R. Martin, whom I'm currently reading, why is it necessary to have your characters describe female genetalia as C U next Tuesday (thank you Jill Zarrin of RHNYC for teaching me that version) on such a frequent basis? I get it. Your male characters are a-holes. Or, a little note to myself--we all know you're upset, Kirsten, and swearing like a bleeping sailor isn't going to bleeping change a bleeping thing (we all have our vices, right?).

If I come across a blog that uses profanity in a reasonable way, I'm not turned off. I actually feel a bit more comfortable. Because, while I love the mommy blogs that are sweet and nice and have that comforting Mid-Western-y, feel-good sense about them, I feel slightly alienated by the sugary-ness of it all. A bit of grit is good to  me, and if that grit comes in the form of an F-bomb, then bring it on. (But I do try to avoid profanity in my own blog because my mom reads it. Seriously.)


Untypically Jia said...

OMG the George RR Martin novels! I started reading them and got sooo obsessive and I really wanted my MIL to read them too (cause she's big on fiction and I need to share my addictions) and then I stopped and went, OMG I've totally been pitching these books to her and I completely forgot to mention how foul the language is and oh . . . not to mention several gruesome sex scenes.

Thankfully she said that she can just skip over the words or scenes if they get offensive for her, and I loved her for that.

Amanda said...

I totally agree with you. :)

Anonymous said...

I blog anonymously, so that leaves me "free to be me" and that includes being free to swear at will.

But, I don't just drop f-bombs etc. for the sake of doing it. I've been on blogs where literally every other word was F and it just made for bad writing.

I curse in some of my posts because those words, in those contexts, are an accurate reflection of me and my voice.

While it may offend some people, as you said, there are plenty of squeaky clean mommmy blogs out there that they can frequent if that's what they're after.
Nice to 'meet' you through Mama Kat's.

Kirsten said...

Jia - Those books are sooooo good, so good for your mom-in-law for being willing to look past the questionable parts. I'm still digesting the situation with Dany and the Dothraki!

Saucy B - I thought about making my blog anonymous, but I'm already entrenched with this one. But now I can go visit your blog and enjoy the unbridled language ;-)

Amanda - Right on!

Momma@Live. Laugh. Pull your hair out said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Momma@Live. Laugh. Pull your hair out said...

I agree with you. I dont mind it if it is used but when the bad language is every other word, it turns me off

The Mommy Mambo said...

I hit my quota for the year in today's blog alone! I did it as a joke to prove my point. But it is true that foul words are like live little germs that could sicken one's blog to the death! And I'm thinking that they might just carry my post right off the page today as it turns yellow and festers :)
Oh well, it was fun to be the bad girl for once!

June Freaking Cleaver said...

I cuss on my blog, but not excessively. There are times that the more colorful language fits the situation I'm describing.

I've read a few blogs where I felt it was excessive - or was awfully explicit about adult situations - those make me a bit uncomfortable.

And really, I'm not a prude...I just play one on my blog.

Emily said...

I think I have cursed twice on my blog, but boy were they necessary!

I warn my readers ahead of time, gives them the chance to decide whether or not to turn back!

Here was a doozy:

May said...

The profanity is scene is not for me. I have run across a couple posts that I found excessive. Overall, I find the blogs I read to be far more tame than even prime time TV!

~Heather said...

I love that you have realized that your blog can effect the real world!! While it is your blog, dropping cuss words in blog land can have consequences and reflect on you as a person. Personally, I disagree that well placed cuss words are okay. Because, there is always another option, that would sound just as profound, if not more so. But, that is why this is an opinion piece! :)

Kirsten said...

Thanks for all your comments! I like doing these opinion prompts, because I got to hear all these interesting points of view! :-)

A Musing Mother said...

Must admit that I'm a gal who avoids extremes. I like the "real" Mommy Blogs. Women today juggle a lot and our sweet dispositions simply can't hold up to the standard of rainbows and puppies all day long. On the other hand, a stream of profanity signals poor writing skills and lack of vocabulary. I believe it would benefit the writer to attend creative writing workshops.

You? Fuschia? C U? You, my dear, do not lack creative writing or intellect?

Me? I already work for a school district and have my established "farm words." I use them sparingly on my blog but they could just be considered bad manners.

Jill of all Trades said...

Found you thru Mama Kat. Great post. I think the fact that you mention you're looking for a job in a school says you know that, even in blogland,you never know who will read your blog - and how they will judge you.

Cussing to emphasize a point here and there is OK. But when your entire vocabulary consists of vulgarity, that just shows a complete lack of intelligence.

If you're going to write a blog, well, writing sorta requires a grasp of the language and a broad vocabulary. Why write a blog if "shit, damn, ass, and....fuscia" are the only words you know?

Fuscia - awesome by the way.

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