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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

On Profanity

"Profanity (also called bad words, cursing or strong language) has traditionally been used to refer to items not belonging to the church. E.g. "The fort is the oldest profane building in the town, but the local monastery is older, and is the oldest sacred building." or "besides designing churches, he also designed many profane buildings".
Profane and vulgar
is similar, as vulgar is from Latin vulgus or people. Any speech or writing other than Latin was described as vulgar, as it was 'of the people' as opposed to 'of the church'. Martin Luther translated the Latin bible into a vulgar language.
Profanity has therefore always been used to describe a word, expression, gesture, or othersocial behavior
which is socially constructed or interpreted as insulting, rude and vulgar, or desecrating or showing disrespect as measured by the religious elite."--- Wiki

From my own experience I have observed some incidents where even simple slang words were treated as horrors! I was on assignment in South Carolina about ten years ago and I had to stay two months so I rented a little house. In the house next door lived a "Christian" family- and I do mean "Christian;" church three days a week. Within a couple days I would get home from work to see two boys about 12- 14 years old in the driveway shooting hoops and soon they invited me over to join them and I jumped at the chance. Now, I was a Boy Scout leader for eleven years and a professional in my field so I am always aware of the environment in which I am operating and that dictates my demeanor, and obviously, using profanity while playing basketball with two neighbor kids would not be appropriate on any occasion.

So Saturday rolls around and I mosey outside and they holler, "Hey dale! C'mon over!" So I did. After a couple minutes their father comes out, the boys make the introductions, and we are playing two on two and having a wonderful time. Within a couple minutes the younger boy missed a shot and exclaims, "Dang it!" In an instant that father whacked that kid across the back of the head hard enough that I was instantly incensed and a person with any less emotional control may have whacked that bastard right back. I was shocked! He told the boy that those type of words replaced words of filth and they would not be tolerated. The kid was embarrased to almost tears and I had not an iota of respect for that idiot. I played on a couple minutes and excused myself.

Profanity is totally relative to the person expressing it versus the one hearing it. I consider it a far greater offense to whack a kid like that than to say the word dang, or shit, or fuck.

This horseshit all started with the puritans and comes from the commandment about not taking the Lord's name in vain. The Puritans were masters at exagerating their religiosity to absurd levels- wich hunts, anybody?

You will notice that in my profanity laced comments I have never used the word "Goddamn." That has been a conscious decision that I made out of respect for the fundies.

In any case, I will respect the rules of the owner of the site. They have their own reasons and sensibilities.

Any self respecting mature adult will normally evaluate the environment and act appropriately. In my book, there is a time and a place for everything but when someone tells me that they think slavery is OK then they are a dumb doo-doo- head.



  1. Dale, I can't believe you made me read the words doo-doo-head. I am offended beyond words and now must pluck out my eye. This is gonna hurt like hell. Thanks, Dale.

    Short story time:

    I grew up in NC and had a really good friend in middle school and high school named Tammy. Her family was the sort of fundy family that yanked her out of public school in the 9th grade and put her in a local Christian school to keep her away from the evil. In that school she was seeing cocaine and LSD and giving me great descriptions of it all long before I ever saw such things myself. Way to go Christian school!

    Anyway, I was at her house one day and I said 'gosh' and she pulled me into her bedroom and told me to never say that around her parents because they considered it a derivative of a swear word. Same for heck and shoot. Yes, shoot.

    Her parents eventually deemed my family not good enough for them and she told me one day that they told her to cut off friendship with me.

    The point is, there are actually human beings out there so afraid of their imaginary friend that they can't say heck, gosh or shoot. Crazy world, eh?

  2. Cheese an mice, that's creepy.

  3. some other families I encountered in the Carlolinas when I was down there were always telling their kids that "The Devil is gonna get you!"
    That made my hair hurt.

  4. The only reason I am against the frequent use of profanity is because it is bad communication.

    I honestly don't care about hurt feelings.

    But why would you opt to limit the reach of your message by ensuring a large majority of your readers will not take you seriously? I assume you have a message and want people to read it, since you are blogging.

    My only point was that the use of profane language generally has a detrimental effect on the perceived credibility of the communicator and the message.

    It's not about the audience's hurt feelings. It's about limiting your reach when you don't have to.

    You can cuss that girl out all you want. I never said she didn't deserve it.

    I only wanted to express my opinion that the use of profanity was an ineffective communication method.

    Of course there are extremes everywhere, there are people who are offended by anything. Naturally, we cannot appeal to them all of the time, nor should we try to. But there is a large percentage of people who have reasonable notions about profanity.

  5. A.A.

    I am well aware of your message and I appreciate that you stay on message.

    I will point out though, that if you look at the thousands of comments over at Ray's blog over the last six months, and due to his censorship, there is no profanity.

    Stephen J is probably the most informed commentator that I have seen almost anywhere on the internet and his arguments are airtight. I have watched him explain certain topics now for the twentieth and thirtieth time with some of the best communicative skills ever used there, and his comment willinvariably be followed by the very same person, for the thirtieth time saying, "I didn't come from no monkey!"

    We all know that if we want to communicate at that level, we can do that over there.

    I assumed that this blog was a place to go to make some rants, practice some irreverence, blaspheme a bit and generally have some racous fun.

    I fully expected you to answer this and I approve of your message, but I am not sure that we want to apply Puritanic values to the way we conduct ourselves here.

    As some others have found out, I am an equal opportunity challenger of stupid ideas or good ideas that are applied in an irrational manner, and frankly, I wish you'd get off your high horse and.... , no, never mind.
    Suffice to say that I fully expect any irrational words that I write to be challenged. I don't like ass kissing, even reciprocal ass kissing.

    In my case, you would have probably better served the purpose of your admonishment if you had ended it by saying, "But there is a large percentage of people who have reasonable notions about profanity." You fucktard. :>

    I wanted to also tell you that you write good and I like reading your blog.

  6. Awesome. I was hoping I wasn't becoming too annoying. :)

    I think it's ok to disagree sometimes. Doesn't mean that I don't appreciate a majority of posts and thoughts here.

    I only have this bad habit of wanting to answer every challenge. I will try to work on that in the future.

    Trust me, I would like to come off my horse, it would be much easier. But I think it is too late for that given my name and my theme :) Plus I think it is worthwhile.

    Thanks for humoring my puritanic views. Looking forward to future irreverence.

  7. AA,
    OK, now we are getting somewhere, but there is this pesky little matter we have to face wherein it seems that you are incapable of using a profanity, no matter how much the situation demands it.

    In the interest of helping you through this, you must now take the leap of overcoming your Puritanical hangup. To do this, you must respond to me with a profane word of your choice.

    You have some good support here. Trust me. I don't want to influence you, so you pick the word, and type it. Go ahead. It's very liberating.

    Just type one profane word and you will feel a lot better.

    Please hurry though lest I perish of curiosity of what word you will choose. /d

  8. Dale,

    "lest I perish of curiosity "

    Every time you say that I snort and chuckle !

  9. C'mon, AA, I double dog dare you.

    Let it out. I know you want to.
    Just one good profanity for ol' dale.

  10. NT,

    You are a very endearing personality. You remind me of some of my favorite people.

    I think it has something to do with that rebellious streak I love to see in others.

  11. Thanks for the laugh this morning :)

    I hope I hadn't made it seem as if I've never been profane. I said fuck this morning when I woke up. It's not that I don't say sonofabitch sometimes when I get angry in rl. But I still don't think my blog or comments are an appropriate venue for that type of thing ;)

  12. A.A.,
    Holy shit! Two profanities in one sentence!

    Thanks for humoring my request.
    I support your views completely.
    BTW, the picture of the kid with the bar of soap in his mouth is soooo funny, I got a good laugh when that popped up!



  13. AA,
    Your Post, "Catching Fies, Revisited."

    Very well done.


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