Friday, April 5, 2013

What the #$&@! is this post about?


Obviously, many parents will tell their children that swearing is evil, and thus, it is the perfect thing to discuss here. Mind you, this warning usually only has effect until said children reach high school age and want to rebel, so they do so by doing exactly what generations of pissed off teenagers have always done: swear.

Cursing, swearing, cussing, and being blasphemous: How do you feel about it?

I'm evil, so one would think that I frequently swear. I don't, though. I have no problem with it, don't find it offensive, and often think swear words to myself. I do, however, use them in sudden, startling, or painful situations.

But I don't just casually throw them into normal conversation. To be blunt, I don't see the fucking point. (see what I did there?) To me, swearing has become utterly mainstream - so often used that it's become neither shocking nor effective, in my book. If every other word you use is a curse word, then those words just become regular words.

I want something that stands out and explains just how much pain I am in when I drop a hammer on my freaking toe! If you use them all the time, then what do you say when you when you really need to express something like that? I don't want the words losing their effectiveness, just when I need it!

So I save the swearing for such important situations, to give swear words the gravitas that they deserve.

What about you? Swearing yay or nay?

More importantly, how do you feel about swearing in books?  I don't mind it, if it serves a purpose, and it often does. But just adding cursing to spice up a character? It's not going to work. I'm of a generation where swearing doesn't spice things up. In fact, it's generally more shocking when someone doesn't swear. So know your character and know what they're going to say.

I have a good friend, Sonja, who runs the insanely popular website The Pintester, which involves a lot of swearing. In fact, it's even in the tagline. It's funny, because when she first started, she was worried about the reception of her blog because of the naughty language. But these days, that language is what appeals to her readers/viewers. So she's made that work for her (although who knows what her mother has to say!) :)

And that's my point. Whatever you do, swearing or not (and I'm talking about in your writing as well as in your personal life), do what works for you. If you fucking think that fucking putting some goddamn swear words in your (or your character's) speech works, then hell yeah! Go for it. But don't do it just because everyone else is.

Oh, and I think that hell and damn are so commonplace that they shouldn't be even counted as swear words any more. But that's probably a discussion for another day...

1 comment:

  1. George Carlin does a bit on curse words and cursing in general that I totally agree with.

    Plus he says this "The quality of your thought is dictated by the quality of your words. So if the only thing you can say is {insert variety of curse words here} what does that say about the way your think"

    Cursing is supposed to underline or stress an idea, situation, etc in language. They are not to replace all other means of communication.

    For example I don't really care how many people thought "Superbad" was such a sleeper hit. I wlked out after 15 mins because if i heard pussy, bitch,cunt one more time I was going to scream. It was too much.


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