Thursday, July 05, 2007


John C. Wright discusses using profanity in your writing. He says that it is generally a trap that restricts your audience and largely causes more problems than it solves. And there are obvious ways around it:
Or, if you are writing science fiction, you can say Gorram, or Frell, Frack, Tanj, Taxes, or even Noy Jitat! Those are shiny words. Lily, cobber?
Jitatin kreld-eater! Pirates of Dark Water definitely had some of the best non-profanity ever to be uttered on kids TV. I'd say the best use of swearing by Hanna-Barbera characters, but I'm sure there is an episode of Harvey Birdman featuring Yogi dropping four-letter words like they're going out of fashion.

I'm a believer in using profanity rarely so that it doesn't lose its meaning. "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" largely works because, as a good southern gentleman, Rhett hasn't been swearing his way through the entire book/movie. I like that when I drop the f-bomb, people really know I'm pissed.


Anonymous said...

For my part, I don't truly understand peoples fascination with profanity on any part of the spectrum. Why do those on one side abhor it so much that it is offensive in any context? They're only words. Why do others cling to this sort of language so tightly that it dominates their locution? Developed languages tend to have plenty of options. And finally, why do others revere profanity so greatly that the preservation of "meaning" is so rutting important? They are only words, nothing more. Context can do much for any number of words. It is true that some words have limited contextual uses, particularly those used in place of proper nouns but why do we - Americans in particular - maintain such archaic sensibilities regarding language?

Anonymous said...

Dig the Pirates of Dark Water references though. And by the by, My name is Spence. Don't have any of the necessary accounts to post a name/identity and couldn't be bothered to set one up so Anonymous will have to do.