Thursday, January 8, 2009

Select Adjective Hypersensitivity

The Disclaimer: This post may contain semi-strong language that could offend the more sensitive eyes of the Melvin Milquetoasts of the blog world. If you're one of those, please stop reading. You'll make your face turn red with embarrassment.

About a week or so ago, a good friend of mine, Jannie Funster, made this post linking to a very funny and riotous blog called, "100 Words A Day". Right up front, she made it crystal clear that the post she was linking to contained a swear word (or what I like to call it, a "select adjective").

Apparently that disclaimer wasn't good enough for two people who dropped their subscription to her blog. From what I understand, as she explained it in a post on December 31st, they apparently objected to the content of the post she linked to. Never mind the fact that it wasn't her post to begin with, the fact that she linked to it at all is what they found objectionable.

My good readers, I can understand the fact that people may find the content to the average blog not to their liking, but they shouldn't fly off the handle and drop their perusal of said blog, just because the person linked to something that didn't like. After all, in this instance, she did put a disclaimer in, that stated quite clearly that cussing is contained in that particular post. And in her blog, she doesn't use that kind of language.

I know how strong the allure of using foul language can be in the world of blogs, because I experienced it first hand. Having come from the Topix chat rooms where foul language was explicitly forbidden (and you had to get creative if you wanted to use a particular swear word), and arriving in a online environment where anything goes, let me tell you, the power to say what you want is extremely intoxicating.

After about a few weeks or so, working in whatever swear word I wanted to say, it soon dawned on me that if I wanted to attract people to my blog, I should cut out on the filthy language. And for the most part, I did.

For starters, if I have to swear, I'll either use a text acronym or I'll simply use a one letter abbreviation. Additionally, I'll use my version of a disclaimer. Essentially, I simply state that the content of this particular may be offensive to you. If so, I'll politely direct you to the side of my blog, where there are enough inoffensive links to suit your fancy. Except I'll try to say this with as much humor as I can, as seriously as I can (see the beginning of this blog for a typical example).

It's simple, it's direct, and there is no beating around the bush. I let you know up front that the post might offend you. No more and no less.

So people, please keep in mind this one valuable reminder: Never, ever, ever shoot the messenger. If someone doesn't use select adjectives to begin with, don't throw a hissy fit if that person is simply linking to a post at another blog that uses it. It's immature, irresponsible, and shows that maybe you should go back to your crib, gather up your bottle of formula, your blankie and that you should leave the adult conversations to the adults.

Because you're sure as HELL showing everyone that you ain't no adult.


  1. I must have lost a load of readers then when I posted a link to the Britney Spears song If You Seek Amy...

  2. Interesting.

    Britney Spears?

    Somehow, I can't picture you a Britney Spears kind of guy.

  3. Hmm. I never would think that someone would actually not read a blog because there's a few curse words in it, let alone un-subscribing to someone else who merely linked to that blog. I mean, it's not like you don't here that stuff in the real world right? Even in the business world, it gets excessive at times.

    I would say I'm fairly liberal with my blog when it comes to cussing. Not all my posts are like that though. Usually just the ones where I'm mad about something, or trying to make a joke. I think I use words like that to try and better express what I was thinking, as if I was saying it verbally to you. Works for me, but apparently not for others.

    Anyway, good post Georgie.

  4. Thanks.

    There is an extremely fine line when it comes to using swear words. If you're known for using that kind of stuff to begin with in your blog, then your readers know right up front what to expect.

    In my case, while I'm known for peppering my speech with cussing, I try to keep it to a minimum within my blog. If I need to use it, for whatever reason, I let people know right up front what to expect, so if they need to disengage, they can.

    While it's true that you do hear it in the real world, sometimes, you just want a tiny little refuge of your own, away from it.

  5. Great post, Georgie!

    With all my traveling over the holidays, I managed to miss the Jannie Funster blog-link controversy, so I had to go back and check it out. I, myself, pretty much NEVER swear -- I'm a ridiculously clean-mouthed kinda person. But I also recognize the fact that I'm a bit of an anomaly, so I don't take offense if someone else uses some colorful language now and then. (And to take offense even after you've been WARNED about such language is just silly...) Oh well -- Jannie has many faithful readers who love her blog and will certainly continue reading. Even those of us with pristine language habits... :)

  6. It does boggle my mind that someone can take offense to something else not even related to the original item to begin with.

    I am the sum of my environment. But I know when to take things with a grain of salt and when not to take things with a grain of salt.

    In this instance, Jannie was honest and up front with all of her readers. That was acceptable to everyone but those two readers.

    There really isn't more that I can add to this issue. Personally, as someone who straddles both worlds (blogs and chat rooms), it boils down to just using some common sense and that thing that God gave you, what's that called? Oh yeah...a brain.

  7. I swear once or twice on my site. Other times I am sarcastic, cynical...hell, once I was nice. But if people stop coming to my site because of my subject material or language, I couldnt give a hell. If they stop coming because they dont like 1 post out of 200, then I dont want them coming at all. I do my site for me, not for anyone else. It is quite sad that there are people like that in the world, but hey...that is why we are all different!

  8. Sy: I can understand that. We all do our sites for us and invite people to visit and join in the fun as well.

    And we all set parameters for our sites, so that the readers know right off the bat where we stand and what we're all about.

    That's why has happened to this person has me completely baffled. Her blog is one of about three dozen or so that I currently follow, that are clean as a whistle language-wise. The other one dozen vary the language to a certain degree, and I have no problem with that.

    If I did, you can bet your last dollar (or pound in your case), that I would make myself scarce.

    I enjoy all the blogs I follow, and for the record, I haven't had one single problem with any of them.

  9. Is this a peculiarly North American sensitivity?

    I have not read of similar for UK based bloggers, but maybe we are just a more tolerant society?

    Might explain why relatively few folk visit by epithet laden work?


  10. I'm not quite sure to tell you the honest truth.

    I can only speak from personal experience, in that I have a high tolerance in the use of swear words, be it here in the blog world or in the real world.

    But just because I have a high tolerance for it, doesn't mean that everyone else does. So I adjust my behavior accordingly, be it on my blog, or on someone else's.

    But to answer your last question, I think it does explain it to a certain degree. Most of the people (I believe) are hypersensitive to a lot of things, one of which is language. And because of this hypersensistivity, their judgment is clouded with the unrealistic expectation that other people will conform to their P.O.V.

  11. The weird thing is I still feel a little guilty about swearing on my blog and my husband says I'm better off without any cussing at all. He's probably right.

    Georgie, I'm not so sure asbout me being "clean as a whistle," over there at Jannie Funster but I certainly don't swear just for the heck of it or to get a laugh.

    This was a very well-written post, Georgie. Very to the point. Crisp and clean.

    And Lisa, I had no idea your language is so pristine, I admire that. I really do.

  12. Jannie: To clarify, about the "clean as a whistle" comment I only applied it to the cussing/swear word aspect of it. Your blog has been a joy to read, and as such, I feature it as a link on my blog.

    If you feel guilty about using swear words, by all means don't. You should never go against the grain of your personal ethics. Being honest with yourself always translates into being honest with your readers, who will more than appreciate it and will stand by behind you 100% on whatever issue you happen to have.

    Like now.

    And I sincerely thank you.

  13. What do these people say when they step in some dog shit??

    "Oh dear dear and fiddly dee!"

    Hmm... I don't think so!

  14. Jane: Perfecto!

    I do know some people who would say those exact words. My late father was like that. Never used a swear word in his life.

  15. Your father must have been an absolute saint! I can only remember my dad swearing (in the name of humour) about 2/3 times and I thought that was exceptional!

    Personally, I dislike swearing intensely from the mouths of teenagers and children - because they haven't really learnt the value of the words and it sounds even more ugly than the norm. In adults it doesn't really bother me unless it's excessive. Most of my friends and acquaintenances would only swear in the name of humour or in a justifably stressful situation. I wouldn't be attracted to someone who sweared profusely on a daily basis - In some respects it just exhibits a lack of education and communication skills. So any interest I might have would wane very quickly. In fiction it's different - if swearing is part of the characterization then I have absolutely no problem with it.

    I'm no angel myself though. I learnt my swear vocabulary at a rough school where it was conform or be bullied. Unfortunately, some of those naughty words stayed with me:)

  16. Not so much a saint as it simply wasn't his cup of tea.

    He didn't swear and certainly didn't tolerate in us or in any adults.

    He didn't drink or smoke either. The only time that he did drink was at my wedding.

    My swearing is now basically limited to either stressful situations, or in my writings.

    And same here, I'm not Mr Innocent by any stretch of the imagination. But I do know when to use it and when not to use it.


Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

About that comment moderation thingy: While yes, it does say up above I can take it, I only use it to prevent the occasional miscreant from leaving thoughtless and/or clueless comments.

So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

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