Drop the F Bomb. No, really. Drop it.

How some people view my personal interest in maintaining written communication free from profanity:

How I view myself around this issue:

Here are some words used to describe an off-hand comment I made on Facebook about not wanting to share someone else’s blog post because it was laced with profanity: Dismissive. Elitist. Narrow-minded.

Keep in mind, I never said they should not have written it. I never said other people shouldn’t be perfectly free to share it. I simply was expressing a personal opinion that if your writing is full of F-bombs and other heavy-handed swear words, it’s highly unlikely that I will be passing it along to my network. I find it unprofessional and unnecessary, and usually lose some respect for the writer when I realize they don’t have enough respect for their readers to leave the potty mouth in, well, the potty.

Certain words and images are time-tested ways to get people to pay attention to you online. It’s the same principle we used to recognize in person-to-person communication, like using profanity to force people to react to you one way or the other, or wearing inappropriate clothing so you can at least say someone looked at you. In the end it’s a little sad.

(At least it is to me! Just me! I am speaking for myself. Please do not send me notes about how swearing and flashy dressing is not really a cry for attention. I don’t believe you, and you should be OK with that. Just do what is right for you.)

I never said I don’t use profanity. Anyone who knows me outside of cyberspace is probably well aware that I enjoy swearing with friends as much as the next sailor; but there is an eroding civility in our society in which I refuse to take part. Am I perfect? Of course not. I write about that all the time. If my personal standards really upset some people (which apparently they did) it may be that those folks need to check themselves. Why the itchy trigger finger over someone speaking up for her own preference? Some guy actually took the time to write to me and tell me that though he agreed with me, I should “lighten up, luv.”

Yeah. Tell the chick with the cig. Out.

Image credits: The New Yorker and Copyblogger

8 thoughts on “Drop the F Bomb. No, really. Drop it.

  1. Totally and completely with you on this… I too can be heard uttering words that would make my grandmother shudder. But I also like to think that the art of writing is art because it requires more thought, imagination and skill than casual conversation. (That and I don’t want to write anything that my mom wouldn’t read.)

      • Precisely. Though I throw a mean cuss word at times, when I read them I think they’re the product of someone with little creativity and/or vocabulary. 99% of the time, there is a better word to express the thought than a four-letter one.

  2. Agreed, soul sista. Expand the thought to other media. I’ve watched many movies that could have been just as entertaining/deep/relevant with many fewer f-bombs (did I violate a rule of grammar? Don’t know). And as a sometime fiction writer, I realize sometimes bad characters express themselves in offensive ways. It’s a real challenge, though, for writers to express themselves effectively without cliches, both profane and otherwise.

    • I left out fiction, scripts, screen plays, etc. in my comment. I don’t love to read it or hear it, because I rarely respect it. But it is what it is. What kills me is when an average person thinks they need profanity just to communicate. Sad.

  3. Do you remember the show ‘Valerie’? Jason Bateman played the older brother. Anyway, I liked the show, but what I remember about it was one line in particular that the mom told one of her kids. She said, “…profanity is a weak mind trying to express itself forcefully.” I never forgot that line and it’s completely accurate. When I use profanity, it’s when I’m at my lowest points of control. Besides, I have three daughters and I know that they will eventually read what I write. If the line from ‘Valerie’ wasn’t enough, my own three reasons would be. Nice post. Glad I found you.

    -Brian

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