Thursday, February 08, 2007

Profanely Serious

Note: This is not the greatest post in the world. I wrote it, and then blogger ate it. This is just a tribute.
Writing is a revelatory thing. Use of ALL CAPS is a shout; use of profanity to me reflects unseriousness
-Some dude
Writing is a revelatory thing. The words chosen can demonstrate flippancy and frivolity. You can demonstrate passion and anger. Or you can wow with dispassionate analysis. That much I agree with, but can we please put to bed the notion that profanity renders an opinion unserious? This dismissiveness is both galling and lazy. (Speaking of dismissals, John Edwards has apparently told those like the above quoted to sit and spin. Good. And speaking further of dismissiveness, is calling him "some dude" dismissive? Damn right it is. Deal.)

I try to not swear a whole lot on this here blog. I'm not exactly sure why, since I've dropped an F-bomb or two in my day. Partially it's that my dad reads, but that makes so sense since he swears like a sailor, especially when driving. Partially, it's that I'm not entirely sure who reads this. (Hey Boss! I'll get those TPS reports to you just as soon as I finish some important business.) Mostly it's that given what I actually write ("have polemic" and all), I worry that full on pottymouthitude will push me from "angry, but in a cute and cuddly way" to "scary."


That's my preference, and I'm certainly not offended, shocked or scandalized when I four-letter word appears on my screen. Certainly a string of profanities can be inarticulate, but then so can posts attempting to use all kinds of $10 words that don't mean what you think they mean.

Second, the suggestion that profanity is not expressive, nor a means to conduct information is demonstrably false:

Third, we aren't writing academic papers, nor are we delivering speeches or testifying in court. We're blogging. Part of the appeal of blogging is the immediacy of "just talking". To signal this informality, we might slip into a more familiar form of address. By which I mean calling our friends assholes for continuously bullshitting us. It means we're relaxed and comfortable. As much as I might like to rise up on my hind legs in court and say "Objection: The witness is bullshitting, your honor" that might fall short of the standard of proper decorum. And maybe I want to leave decorum at my office.

This isn't to say that all or even a majority of the naughty words printed on these here intertrons are meant to signal clubbishness, or embody a chosen vernacular. Sometimes they are just expressions of raw id. Sometimes they are meant to wound. But the passion inherent in all of this emoting is can hardly be anything but serious.

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