Wednesday, April 21, 2004
My mother doesn't say too much about my blog but she does read it. And she did comment on my use of profanity.
"You don't have to use profanity," she said. "It degrades the user to use words like that. People will judge you based on the way you use language."
I was a little baffled when she said that. I couldn't remember using any profanity. My spoken English is sprinkled with a lot of objectionable words, but I have been pretty careful with the essays I've published in Mushtown Media Corp. Maybe I said "damn" or "crap" or "woo-woo" or "tinkle," but I couldn't remember going even that far.
"Are you upset that I called the president 'an inbred barn cat?'" I asked. "I retracted that statement."
"No, no, that's okay. Even though I'm a Republican, I frequently call him worse things than that," she said.
"Well, what else did I say? I thought I'd been careful," I said. "Give me something a little more specific."
"You shouldn't have called Mel Gibson ..." and here, she went down to a whisper, " ... an asshole."
Mother, I agree with you in principle, but I think a writer has to use the right word. And if the right word is a profanity, then the writer uses the profanity. This writer does, anyway. And "asshole" is clearly the right word for Mel Gibson for more reasons than I care to go into right now. Anyway, I think there's a blog called "Mel Gibson is an Asshole" that goes into all the reasons why Mel Gibson is an asshole.
The policy of Mushtown Media Corp. on bad words is not very exact. As a matter of fact, I'm making it up right now as I go along. Basically, we think that bad words have a lot more emphasis if they're used carefully and sparingly. If I called everybody an asshole and used the word on this Web log every day, then it wouldn't mean so much that, so far, the only person I've called an asshole is Mel Gibson.
I would never call George W. Bush, or any of that bunch, an asshole. The word doesn't even begin to be adequate to describe them.
You also won't see weird euphemisms in these essays. I will never say "the F-word" when I mean to say "Fuck." I think if you're going to say "Fuck," you should just say, "Fuck." It really fucking bugs me that the fucking Los Angeles Times won't print "Fuck." Grow some fucking balls! It's a major metropolitan newspaper and they're afraid to print "Fuck!" What a bunch of spineless fuckers!
Same with words like "shit" and "cock" and "cunt." We will make every effort to restrict the use of these words. But we will not hesitate to use them if we think they are really necessary to make a fucking point.
Like in this article.
Thank you, mother, for bringing this issue of obscenity to the attention of Mushtown Media Corp. We will now strive to keep our little corner of the Internet free of gratuitous profanity.