Last week I read an extremely provocative piece on the Daily Post regarding swearing, or not, on your blog. I know swearing is something that many people feel very passionately about. Some people can’t abide swearing. They feel it’s disrespectful and gauche. Others swear as a way to combat censorship. Swear words, to them, are just words. And words hurt no one. Some people just like to swear and don’t give a fuck. I think everyone’s view of swearing depends greatly on how they were raised.
In real life (yes, there’s a world outside of the blogosphere, people) I swear like each foul word uttered adds time to my life. I wasn’t raised by parents who swear frequently, but in my formative years I had a plethora of friends who did. Swearing has been part of my everyday vocabulary since I was at least 12 years old. As a youngster, I swore because, hey, that’s what the cool kids did. As I grew older swearing lost its shock value, but I continued doing so because it was now habitual.
One of the few things that stuck with me from my senior English class was the importance of writer’s voice. My senior English teacher (Major Hurt, United States Army) imbued me with the knowledge that it is a writer’s voice, not his words, that captures his readers. Words are just that. Words. A good writer gives life to those words with his own unique voice. A good writer can make words dance with the right voice. Armed with those teachings, I struggled with swearing when I first launched this here weblog. I wanted to be as authentic as I could possibly be without turning off potential followers with my profanity-laced vocabulary.
I once wrote a post pondering the stigma attached to swearing. I noted that almost every swear word had a synonym that was acceptable to say in polite society. It didn’t make sense then and I still feel the same way now. To me, it’s nonsensical that it’s kosher to say “crap,” but not “shit.”
I eventually came across a handful of successful blogs in which the authors swore. At that point I threw caution to the wind and let go of my reservations about swearing on my blog. I now swear on my blog when the feeling strikes me, and I do so without worry. Sometimes I feel like it. Other times I don’t. If someone doesn’t like it, they’ll simply not read. After all, swear words are still just words. They will be interpreted differently by just about every person who reads them. Some will find them offensive. Some won’t. Some people will find offense in a post written without swear words. I don’t intend to offend, but everyone has their own unique point of view.
What got to me, and the reason I’m writing this post, is that a commenter on that Daily Post, um, post asserted his opinion that people only swear because they lack creativity. I was indignant upon reading his words and I wrote a contradictory response stating I don’t lack creativity simply because I like to swear. That person never responded.
Swearing is a matter of preference. Just as many educated people swear as do uneducated people. Just as many creative people swear as do uncreative people. Just because I swear does not mean I’m a horrible or stupid person. It does not mean I lack creativity because I like to drop f-bombs like a bird likes to shit on a clean car. I’m not some lowlife vagrant simply because the word “fuck” flies out of my mouth with reckless abandon multiple times per day. I am not among the dregs of society because I have pet names for my closest friends that include the words twat and douche. You may not like swearing, and that’s your prerogative and right, but you have no grounds on which to judge me because I do. We will simply agree to disagree. I certainly don’t think people who don’t swear are beneath me because they have a colorless vocabulary.