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January 20, 2005

On Profanity

Nykola offers her spin on a story that's been going around about 'America being the greatest fucking country in the world', as described by a performer at a benefit including political royalty and young kids. I have been a bit shamed by the common sense dictum that there isn't really a need for profanity under any circumstances. It's tacky. Yes and no.

I've always said that profanity is the measure of someone's robustness. If you want to know when someone is stretched to the limit, you'll know when you hear them start cursing. But you'll likely run your eyes over the occasional expletive here at Cobb. Am I stretched? Am I crude? Am I inappropriate for children?

My two favorite characters on Lost, Michael and Locke, locked horns on last nights' episode. I believe that deep in their hearts, they are very much alike, and yet Michael threatened Locke's life if Locke came around his son. There are some adults who, even though they are fundamentally good people, are by the nature of what they do, inappropriate for children. Locke is a hunter and a philosopher. Hunting and philosophy get very ugly, and there is purpose in that. It requires some maturity to go to the 'there' of hunting and philosophy. It is something many adults lack as well as children.

As a writer, I take literary license. I do so with purpose and discipline, and it is in the context of creativity, passion and fearlessness that I occasionally spice up this column. Then again, sometimes my shit is just shit. I can't say with a great deal of confidence that I am always so highminded when I write here, but I'm certain that I don't intend to offend so much as inform. I have a very high regard for people in general and my readers in particular, none of whom I hope are insulted by my occasional crud. I know it only takes a small amount of effort to chose a less salty phrase without any loss of comprehension or effect. And yet I choose to leave the profanities in. Time will tell.

Part of me is weighing in against those people I call 'dainty'. And that is partially born of a well-nurtured contempt for the American middle class of a skinny black kid from the 'hood who was too big for his britches. Part of it is the lusty appeal we all occasionally feel when we remember Jack Nicholson saying "You can't handle the truth"; and part of it is genuine concern for the backbone of our bourgie nation. But I think the largest fraction of it comes from the notion that I'm a free man, and dammit who's gonna stop me?

This is the blogosphere and while it may not be the antidote to political correctness, the false objectivity of professional journalism and the arrogant arcana of academic scholarship, it's a damned refreshing alternative. That is due in part because we are free of the conventions of.. whatever purpose those conventions serve, which ain't always Sweetness, Light and Truth. We don't always keep it real here in the blogosphere, but we do keep good company. The people shine through, and that's part of the beauty of blogging - except for law bloggers. I don't know what they're trying to pull. (heh)

Anyway, I'm not going to change much. I'm not apologizing in advance, I'm just telling you the way I see it. Thanks for listening. And by the way, this is a pretty fuckin' great country.

Posted by mbowen at January 20, 2005 08:26 AM

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