Saturday, August 20, 2005

Bleeping Bleeper!

I have been scolded for my aversion to swearing on my own blog! And not an aversion to other people swearing. I never tell other people to watch their mouths (unless we’re around children). I just prefer not to swear myself. There have been a couple of posts on other blogs lately about swearing and why some people still react negatively to something that has become much more common place. Volokh has a few theories as to why expletives and profanity are so offensive. Dean seems to think that those who ask him not to swear are the ones who are being offensive (which… what?).

So why don’t I swear? Swearing tends to be aggressive (which is part of what makes it funny in the context of a joke, just like violence. Yay violence!). It’s generally used to convey frustration if not anger. And I am not an aggressive person. I get frustrated, sure. And I love to complain (have I mentioned that my parents made me a sweatshirt that says “Born to suffer, love to whine?”). I am stubborn and persistent. But I am not confrontational. I choose my battles carefully. And words are weapons, some of which must be wielded more sparingly than others. So I don’t swear casually. It just means that when you do hear those words coming from my mouth, there is no question about my state of mind. I am not playing. I am not frustrated. I am not fed up. I am not upset. I am infuriated. Though when I get to that point, I usually just shut up so I don’t say something that I’ll regret. And I have frightened people with my silent, seething anger (my co-workers didn’t talk to me for a whole day after that meeting…), though probably more because it is in great contrast to my usual “mostly harmless obsessive paranoid” self. Think about it, those of you who know me in Real Life. Can you see me cussing someone out? Are you laughing? I hear you laughing!

Now, to Dean’s other assertion: does my personal choice to use certain words on incredibly rare occasions make me “better” than people who use those words more regularly? I don’t know. Does the fact that I carry two pocket-knives with me at all times (and sometimes a third) and the fact that you don’t make you better than me? Knives are weapons, yet I carry two Leatherman Micras in my pocket wherever I go (one is "special"). And a full-size Leatherman resides in my purse when it’s not too heavy from other junk. I find non-aggressive uses for knives, which others may consider weapons. Other people find non-aggressive reasons for using words that I only use when I’m very, very angry. So who’s better? *ca-click* Think very carefully about your answer.

5 Comments:

Blogger Walt said...

Okay, you're right, you could hear me laughing.

I think you should add profanity to your repertoire, but use things like "bleep you, you bleeping bleeper" instead of the actual words.

8/20/2005 12:03 PM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

Which would, of course, add the humor of any situation in which I started cussing.

8/20/2005 12:30 PM  
Anonymous diana said...

irt the scolding you got for not cursing...

As somebody who works as a customer service representative in a call center, I have to say that all extra cursing will really get you is put on hold. If there's a whole lot of cursing and nastiness, I may release the call.

8/21/2005 3:41 AM  
Blogger Christiana said...

I think swearing is just another tool in the toolbox of language. Frankly, sometimes the most effective, concise way to make a specific point is to unload a couple of four-letter words or their grown-up cousins. But it's a tool that we should know how to use before we pull it out, or else we could do damage to ourselves or others.

Also, I think it's important for everyone to have a large vocabulary and thus a large tool box.

If all you've got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

8/21/2005 9:40 AM  
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