Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wielding the English Laguage

A couple of days ago, I was discussing my blog with a friend of mine, and he mentioned, as an aside, that some people may be put off or think less of this blog because of my use of colorful language and dropping of occasional expletives. My response was this: If it's good enough for Dick Cheney in the Senate, it's good enough for me.

Being that the incident happened in 2004, the link above was the only news story left describing the incident. The majority of pages I found searching for that story were about the use of the word 'fuck.' This got me to thinking about the use of 'dirty' language in general.

If you've been reading, I have used this word a few times, most recently: "The problem is that there are far too many people who like to fuck, but can't be bothered to take care of the children that result." My use in this case was to highlight people who engaged in a specific behavior, then don't own up to their consequences. I could have used other terms, but put this way, it has the most punch, as well as being as blunt a sentence as I could write.

Some expletives, such as 'assload.' are merely gratuitous, of course, but funny: "The party in which I will vote when the primary comes to Ohio is filled with an assload of fatally flawed candidates." Far too many people who write about politics read like a textbook, smart, but boring. I'm not boring, as you already know, even if this is the first time you've read me.

Here's my point: Far too many people are way too sensitive to words. (I restrained myself there from saying "fucking words") (Okay, that was intentional) I understand the use of proper language in public discourse, as well as the inappropriate nature of specific words, such as 'nigger.' But this idea that any word should be banned completely is asinine. I will respect some things, such as the aforementioned n-word, not using it specifically because of its nature and history. I will also avoid gratuitous use of expletives, as it can become a crutch for anyone who can't think and express themselves properly. However, I reserve the right to use any word where appropriate or humorous.

If we continue to decide the merit of anything based on a few words, we diminish the debate of ideas. While some words can be overused, no word, or idea for that matter, should be completely banned from the public discourse. This, to put it bluntly, is an attack on the First Amendment itself. I have no problem with self-censorship. But to ban words entirely is dumb. Ask George Carlin about that one.

As an aside, this article, including quotes, has more expletives than I've used in any other blog entry. If this offends you, then you should probably reexamine your standards a little. After all, the English language is ever-growing and so broad that almost anything is possible, from the most sublime verse to the most guttural antelope shit imaginable. So embrace it all. You may learn something.

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