Wednesday, January 9, 2013



I don't really care for swearing.   There, I said it.   There was a time when swearing was rarely heard or read, at least in the circles I inhabited and the books I read.    I realize that if you hit your thumb instead of the nail with your hammer, it is almost inevitable that some expletive will escape from your lips.   That's okay.   But I have had the experience on rapid transit of sitting in front of someone who uses F bombs as nouns, verbs and adjectives.  My ears feel bruised by the time I get up.   Excessive swearing has made me stop reading some books,  change seats . . . you get the idea.

I had a high school English teacher once who opined that swearing shows the lack of an adequate vocabulary.   There was a time when swearing by women was considered unladylike.    It can probably be said that whatever shock value swearing used to have, has been worn away by excessive use.  Many or most people don't even notice.   What's in a word?  If your character is one that would swear a lot in real life it would not be authentic to have him exclaim, Darn it all!  I wrote earlier about the movie, Deep Impact wherein the director had to go back and film a brief, irrelevant scene to insert one F-bomb and thereby remove the  threat of a dreaded G rating.

But before I commit myself firmly to the dinosaur age or the relic pile I thought I would browse through some comments on Amazon's  reviews and see if I am alone in the world in my position.  So here are some quotes: 

"And, I know there are many people cussing every day, but I don't know anyone that uses the "f" word so much. I'm not saying it was wrong to use, but it was OVER-used."

"[Author name Redacted]  . . .  (puts) her readers)  in a locker room of adolescent boys using stilted swearing in every conversation they have with each other. You must already be an avid fan to not find this boooring, and sometimes even uncomfortable. For me, it did little to advance the plot or give a sense of who these creatures are . . ."

"His use of foul language didn't bother me, but may put off others."

On the other hand, in a recent interview an editor at Glamour contributed this to the debate:  'Certain words have gone from being shocking to being neutered."  Since I drafted this blog article an article appeared in the New York Times business section on the topic--Fifty Shades of Vulgarity. President Obama is brought into the debate because it seems he used a swear word in his news conference about the school shootings at Sandy Hook.   This seems an unfair comparison and an exponential version of hammering your thumb.

What's your opinion?

There is some mild swearing  in A New Premise and When Bees Die  which fits the characters and situations (so consider yourself warned!) but as they as they say about movies 'nothing gratuitous'.

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