Before I get started on my rant, (yes, this is a rant – you’ve been warned) I want to sincerely thank Susan at This Happy Mom for writing a heart-felt and well thought out letter to all the swearing bloggers out there asking them to reconsider their use of profanity in their posts. Her post No Cussing Allowed – An Open Letter to Cussers really got me thinking. Expletives were coursing through my brain, “WTF? It’s my blog, I’ll say what I want.”
Then I took a deep breath and allowed my passion to defend my right to freedom of speech to cool a bit.
An insightful conversation ensued on her blog, facebook and twitter. I learned some things.
Susan made some interesting points in her post.
“Maybe it’s because I from the south, but I was raised that ladies don’t cuss.”
Well, la-ti-da. I was raised in the south too, in fact Susan and I are both Texas girls. All I have to say is “Don’t Tread On Me.”
“Ladies don’t cuss.” Where is that written? Who decides what makes one person a lady and another stripped of lady-status? I’m not saying I’m a lady – but I am saying that I’m a dyed in the wool Texan and American – and I will defend my right and yours to say whatever the hell you want. I may not agree with you, hell, I may even tackle you to the ground if you started swearing in church or in front of kids, or offending little old ladies, but dammit, I’ll take the beating you give back defending your right to do so. And I’ll take it like a
“I believe in holding firm.”
Well, Susan, so do I.
I appreciate, respect and will even stand behind you as you champion your belief that good writing does not need profanity. That’ s your right and belief and it’s an admirable one to be sure. However, it’s not my belief. I would never presume to define what constitutes good writing vs. bad writing. Each experience between the page and reader is different. What resonates with one, may never resonate with another. I adore 19th century French literature – but there are others who would rather stick a fork in their eye than suffer through pages and pages of Hugo, Balzac or Dumas. Merde, ça me fait chier.
Make no mistake, I’m not comparing my blog to some of the great authors of all time – but what I am saying is that it is subjective. I’ve already sworn 3 times in this post (well, 4 times if you count the French) – and either you were put-off by those words or you weren’t. That is a reader experience I can’t control.
Heck vs Darn vs …. vs @#$# vs Damn
Are we 9? C’mon. We are adults. Swear substitution is baby-talk.
Would a rose by any other name smell just as sweet?
Would a swear substituted or implied offend just as equally?
Personally, I find that these types of substitutions render an otherwise cohesive statement into tepid-milk-toast -tea.
“Dammit, No one can revoke your freedom of speech!”
“Darn, No one can revoke your freedom of speech!”
It’s just not the same. Every words has a connotation or denotation and context plays into that. Swears included.
“Cussers, I’m serious about this. Can you stop cussing?”
My answer is, “No.”
I appreciate the request. I defend your right to request it. But I must decline.
Why I’m A Swearing Hypocrite
Though I defend our rights to freedom of speech – including swears – I have my own personal limits.
I won’t use swearing in a malicious manner in my blog posts. To me that is offensive.
I don’t swear on facebook. If the rare occasion pops up where I need to insert an explicative I opt for the character substitution method – @#%&! Why? Because there are minors who follow me.
You will never hear me or read me take the Lords name in vain. For me it’s off limits. It offends my faith. Those words are an invocation that I don’t believe in.
I haven’t found a reason to drop an f-bomb on my blog…yet. It may happen. To date – it has not. Never say never . And yes, to me WTF is fine.
There are a myriad of other bad words you will never find in my posts because they are vulgar. In my world there is no need to be vulgar when communicating How To Wash Your Hair No-Poo Style or sharing 5 Messages to Text Your Teen the First Week of School
I don’t read blogs I don’t like – but I base that criteria on more than if there is a hell, damn or shit peppered into the post. People have meaningful things to say, funny things to say – and sometimes, that may mean the usage of a four letter word. (gasp!)
So yes, Susan, I am a swearing snob. But I’m okay with that. I’m okay with you being a swearing snob too – we just are snobby about it in different ways. And that fine by me.
The Age Of Your Kids Makes The Difference
It has been my observation that if you are the mommy of young children swearing is strictly taboo. It’s the world you live in. I remember that world. I remember when Nugget #1 was 3 years old and I heard his sweet baby voice shout, “Shit!” when he dropped his toy car in the toilet. Guess what? I laughed my ass of in the kitchen, pulled myself together, went into the bathroom and calmly explained why “he shouldn’t use grown-up words”.
Because that is what they are. Grown-up words. In your adulthood if you choose not to employ the grown-up words, more power to you. You are the kind of people I admire. Seriously. I don’t know how you do it. My freakin’ head would explode.
As it stands, my little Nuggets are older, I haven’t seen a diaper, sippy-cup, or sung pat-a-cake in almost 8 years. (*sniff*)
It is also my observation that moms of older kids and teens couldn’t
wait for it
wait for it
give a shit less if you pepper your blog post with a few four letter words. Of course I’m not speaking for everyone. Sure they don’t want to be beaten over the head with vulgarity but they seem to have a greater tolerance for “colorful metaphors”. Why is this? I’m not sure. Perhaps, it’s because after awhile you just don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. There are bigger challenges on the motherhood horizon when you have older kids. Bullying, pornography, masturbation, celibacy, alcohol, drug use, tobacco use, the list is enough to make you wanna cuss and shove your sweet one back in where he came from to keep him safe from the insanity.
I personally hate it. I hate that I have to try to decide the best ways for my teenage son to have a healthy expression of his sexual urges while keeping him away from the vulgar and grotesque porn that is rampant everywhere online. I hate having to tell my fourth grader that I will stand up for his right to defend himself in the principle’s office when that kid on the playground punches him one more time.
Read or Don’t Read – I Respect Your Right To Choose
You know where I stand on the whole cussing thing. When you see Salty the Sailor you can choose to read the post later if your worried about kids looking over your shoulder. Think of it like waiting till the kids go to bed to watch a PG-13 or Rated-R movie.
I’m respectfully giving you a “heads-up” that content in the post might be deemed offensive by
puritanical school marms some and I respect your right to choose.