Less of this. Photo by Geoff George.
Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but for I think over a month now, I haven’t cursed on this blog. No F, S or other bombs. Nothing fecal or fornicatory. This was Shru’s idea and I tried it out. It seems fine. I don’t think not swearing has limited my range much at all.
For me the crucial break, originally, was to write how I talk and think. That is, to get rid of artifice and focus on communicating. When I speak I do swear, as most members of my generation do. One measure of this is the amount of swearing in music. In University Linguistics I actually did a paper on the increase in profanity in music from 1980 to 2002. It was called ‘Fuck Linguistics‘, a word I include here only cause it is the title. The use of the f-bomb has gone up dramatically in American music, driven largely by producer Dr. Dre. So, I and people I was writing for/with did use casual curses, so I felt like it’d be disingenuous to exclude them from my writing. Plus, using these words can be fun, and can take you to the actual depths of feeling rather than their casual analysis.
As I get older, however, I’m finding that I need these particular words less and less. I can actually express myself quite fine without. It is actually possible to express myself without bits of shrapnel and to perhaps save those words for when they’re really warranted. I mean, the amount I used to say the f-word was completely disproportional to the gravity of situations I was experiencing.
On the blog it’s a much clearer choice. As much as I try to emulate the spoken word there is a difference and a value to that difference, to reading, editing, rethinking as needs be. I have rarely found a curse that couldn’t be improved by less vituperative language, with the possible exception of ‘bullshit‘, which I can’t find a suitable replacement for.
So, now there’s less swearing on the blog. Not zero, cause you need a bit here and there, but I’m trying to be judicious. I don’t think it’s damaged the writing at all, on the contrary, I think it may be making my writing a wee bit better.