Is Blogging Profanity Really Necessary?
I’m amazed by the number of times I see people blogging profanity into their posts, and as often as it seems they’re able to work in curse words.
I get a little tired sometimes of seeing writers blogging profanity into their sites.
I’m no prude, believe me. But for nearly 14 years, I’ve managed to create content here at this silly little blog that doesn’t involve dropping F-bombs in every sentence.
In fact, in terms of the level of profanity I do allow here, it tends to match what broadcast television allows. Yes, I said broadcast television, not late-night cable.
There are words you might hear me say in person if we’re close enough friends that you’d never see me write on this website.
That’s because I consider my audience. If you only know me through this blog, you don’t know me well enough for me to unleash some sort of profanity-laden verbal assault on you. I just don’t happen to think that would be appropriate for me.
At the same time, a little profanity doesn’t offend me when I read it on someone else’s blog, either.
But when I was doing a little blog jog the other day, I stumbled upon a post from a blogger I’ve read a few times before and found a couple of F-bombs high up in the post. There were a few other profane words early in the post.
I’m not entirely sure why it rubbed me the wrong way. I wasn’t “offended,” but for some reason I can’t put my finger on, I was turned off by the profanity. It didn’t serve a purpose other than making this blogger sound a little more outraged, perhaps, than he might have sounded without it.
The topic he was writing about was a valid one to be outraged over. But the profanity just felt unnecessary, and perhaps that’s the point: If the profanity doesn’t add anything to what you’re writing, strike it.
It’s a lot like comedy, I suppose. There are some comedians — Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Cosby, Jeff Foxworthy, and countless others — who didn’t pepper their comedy with profanity. There are others, like the late George Carlin, whose concerts had plenty of curse words throughout.
Carlin, responding to a question about the “need” for profanity, used Cosby as an example, pointing out that since Cosby’s work never included profanity, he was in the position of never being able to include it:
I can do six minutes on The Tonight Show with none of that in it — I can use other parts of my tool kit that work for me; I’m good at them, too, and can do that no problem — but I can also be more of my street-corner self elsewhere, with language of the street if I want to do that, too.
I’ve always thought Carlin was hilarious. But I think Carlin would have been just as funny without the level of profanity he chose to employ so often.
In my mind, Carlin knew how to communicate the humor of a joke effectively. The proof was in the very Tonight Show appearances he made.
Yes, he added “seasoning,” using his example in the linked piece, but wasn’t the “stew” tasty enough without it?
When it comes to blogging, I’ve always believed communicating a message in a matter that respects your audience is the priority.
If you’re a good enough communicator to be able to get the message across without profanity, why add it?