Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I fucking LOVE bacon.

I’ve been thinking about communication a-lot lately, and how it is misused or misrepresented by both ends of the user spectrum. Specifically, I am talking about the use of the written word.

On one end of said spectrum are the lazy and/or uneducated who tend to misuse this medium. Incorrect word usage, poor spelling, errors in grammatical implementation, and ignorance of proper punctuation. The end result is that it is difficult to figure out what exactly the writer is trying to say. Its extremely important that punctuation as its used in todays world be executed in a way so as to make the meaning of a sentence more clear and accessible to the reader otherwise the reader ends up spending far too much time filling in the gaps in punctuation themselves thereby not spending that time trying to figure out what the point of the sentence is to begin with. Maddening confusion through misuse gets in the way of effective communication.

On the other end of the spectrum are the sticklers for all the tenets of perfect literature. When and where a semicolon should be used to split separate thoughts contained in the same sentence. Adverb placement in the context of modifying verbs of a particular tense. Excessive use of the ellipses. Even when applied to scribbles on bathroom stall walls. When too much attention is placed on the “art” of technically brilliant writing, the whole process becomes masturbatory. As if it is acceptable, if not brilliant, to say very little as long as it is perfect in form. Which is complete rubbish. Maddening hard-lining through misrepresentation gets in the way of effective communication.

For the most part, everyone I know (and most everyone who might be reading this) falls between these two extremes. While not perfect, we are all effective communicators. Sure, we make mistakes, but we get our point across in the end. We cross the finish line, even if stumbling through our to-too-twos. And that’s the real point of the written word, is it not? To communicate an idea, emotion, or memory? I certainly believe so.

So.

Why would I bring this up? Why would I stall out on another story of some drunken escapade involving two twelve packs, a spring break parking lot complete with stripper pyramids, and me vomiting all over myself in a fold-up chair... just to talk about this? The "extremes" in the world of communication standards? Well, it is my belief that certain tools which are used in the act of communication are (once again) coming under undue fire.

Periodically in writing and consumption circles, a moral upwelling occurs and pushes against particular varieties of free expression. Pornographic depictions, violent descriptions, the loose use of racial epithets, or anything that challenges the sanctity of religion. Eventually, these protests are reversed on the obvious grounds that they assume all readers to be retarded eight year-olds with no ability to filter these things for themselves. Right now, I feel as there is an upwelling occurring out there in word land, which I find most disconcerting. I feel that cursing is coming under fire as an inappropriate tool for communication. And may I say, with as much gusto as I can muster, what the fuck is that shit all about? I pledge 100% full support behind the use of profanity as a tool of expression. 100%, as long as it is used with some semblance of standards, and that is an EXTREMELY important qualification.

Cursing. Hm. Where to properly begin? For starters, it is important to note the difference between gratuitous and normal use of profanity. Gratuitous use is just that. It is gratuitous, and unnecessary. For filler, perhaps. Or because the writers simply think people love to hear strings of cursing, marching out from the text. Whatever. There's no point in addressing gratuitous use, as I don't agree with using anything gratuitously. That goes for anything. Product placement, asbestos, retrospectives, flashbacks, or male nudity. Female nudity, by the way, is totally cool if it is gratuitous. That should be a given.

So, I am addressing the standard, normal use of cursing/profanity in prose. That's all.

I suppose it would be easiest to simply list the reasons that are being posed for its eradication and just knock those out.

1) It offends god’s ears. Now I don’t know where this concept came from, but its time came and went. Gone. WAY gone. There is no good reason why any god would take issue with the use of profanity. Even the extravagant and gratuitous variety shouldn’t be an issue with any reasonable deity. Unless, of course, the profanity is used AGAINST that god. But, it is important to note, that you could offend the same god, with the same intent, without the use of curse words. So it isn’t the curse words which are the problem. It’s the intent to offend which offends.

2) It displays a lack of intellectual substance. This is reverse-logic used incorrectly Sure, any yahoo out there can curse a streak of nonsense and prove that they are indeed, a douche-ballooned moron. “Hey, put the fuckin’ thing over fuckin’ here and shut that shit you fuckin’ asshole-nad-nibbler. Oh yeah, and fuck you too.” But it isn’t the cursing which signifies the lack of intellectual substance. It’s the rest of it. Specifically, that there IS NO “rest of it”. Nothing was said. The cursing has nothing to do with an absence of intellect in a statement. It’s a vacant expression, with or without the profanity. A statement forged from a strong intellectual position can be laced with curse words and honestly maintain its stature.
“The issue with turning away from socialism because it has failed in the past, is that it represents a failure to recognize that it was never implemented in pure form. The institutions which have historically run such social constructs were always hampered by strong elements of base-level capitalism.”
Adding profanity anywhere to that statement does not diminish its intellectual potency (if it had any to begin with).
“The fucking issue with turning away from socialism because it has failed in the past is total bullshit. It represents a big fucking failure by some assholes to recognize that the way in which it was implemented was all fucked up. The goddamn institutions that fucked it up, fucked it up by adding some goddamn capitalism in there, which diluted its potential for some fucking recognition on the world stage. Which really fucking sucks for purist socialists, because they look like complete ass clowns as a result.”

3) It replaces creative description. This is also a misnomer. Of course, one can always find a longer route to describe something. But why bother? Why not take the short-cut whenever it is readily available? Why use a crescent wrench to hammer a nail when you have hammers all over the place? Sometimes, brevity is the key to creative description. That is where similes, metaphors, and clichés come in handy. You see, a curse word, when used properly, is really just a clichéd phrase. The meaning behind the word itself has LONG been lost, and its deep and extensive meaning becomes implied depending on how well the word is used. “You know that goddamned man is no good for you. Toss his ass like the bitch he is.” The use of ‘goddamn’ is a definite use of cliché. Here, the cliché used is that if there is a god, he has forsaken this particular character, which proves him to be a most unsavory specimen – which justifies the second statement of the first sentence. “Ass” is also a cliché here. The cliché itself actually contains several adjectives as implied modifiers. Obviously, the comparison of the man to the part of a human body from which feces falls is already descriptive enough. But the implications of the word go further with the implied “stupid”, “dumb”, “retarded”, “lazy”, “good-for-nothing”, “lying”, etc… pre-fixed in front. The use of the term “bitch” here is also quite creative, and clichéd at the same time. The implication is that this man is actually a woman (a particularly unwanted one at that, mongrel-esque), or that he displays a multitude of the more obnoxious attributes of a female character. These are, in my mind, extremely creative uses of profanity for description, if used properly.

4)Profanity is simply that: profane; it should never be used. This type of argument should always be ignored. Anytime a person ever defends a particular practice by saying “well, that’s the way it’s always been done,” which is all this argument is, tell them to shut their teeth hole. That is not a reason, it is lazy analysis. If it is an “accepted rule”, then there is logic behind it somewhere. If the logic has been lost, then so has the rule. We get to eat delicious bacon today because someone, somewhere along the line was about to starve and asked the intellectually curious question “hey, why is it we don’t eat pigs again? ‘Cause I’m about to fucking die over here.” And kudos to that person.

For those of us who live in between the two extremes while trying our best to make our way in this world, we should feel free to use as much profanity as we deem necessary to make our point. Ignore those at the lower end of the spectrum who overuse them, bludgening you over the head with stings of curse-peppered gibberish. And ignore the elitists who will prefer you take that tool from your toolbox altogether. Do whatever you need to do to be understood. Don't limit yourself in any unnecessary way. It's already difficult for us to communicate effectively with eachother, so don't make it any harder. Right? Right.

I for one fucking LOVE to eat previously-goddamned bacon.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

fuck; yeah...!

Sara said...

I so fucking agree with everything you said, especially #1. As a person who only decided there was a God at 19 and was already an avid swearer, I have posed this argument myself. Instead of knocking words like 'fuck' out of my vocab, I chose to stop using words like 'Goddamn' and 'Jesus Christ' as swear words. I would guess those words are much more offensive to God. And you can say 'darn' or 'screw' or 'crap' all you want but God knows what you really mean in your heart. So-fucking-there.

Girl With An Alibi said...

I wholeheartedly and completely agree. Especially about the bacon.

Shit, I gotta get back work.

Truecraig said...

Anon: You're goddamn right!

Sara: You’re goddamn right too!

GWAA: Get your happy ass back to work girl!

Anonymous said...

"excuse me, your choice of words bothers me." What the..."That's how I get my point across, BITCH!!"

brother nick

Anonymous said...

i personally haven't figured out what my real reason for abandoning the correct use of the english language. you mentioned some good points and some bad ones....personally i can't distinguish between me being lazy and actually having a philosophical principle that compels me to bastardize the language...if i were to have a philosophical principle it might center around the fact that any human interaction is complicated..so why should i spoon feed?? I write like i think, and I think erractically, and thus, communicate convolutedly. at least you know you're reading the truth when you read anything ive written...(or at least my version of it)...i also think its more important to be honest than understandable..."understanding" makes bed-fellows with common sense, and as we all know common sense ain't so common.

Lycan said...

Hey, creative cursing is a spice. Writing with your favorite profanities can be as high art as Ernest Fucking Hemmingway.

Listening to the curse/not-curse discussion is like people arguing the correct use of salt & pepper and other condiments. Like does putting salt on your dish insult the chef? Fuck the chef. I'll sprinkle whatever the hell I want on my steak.

Anonymous said...

lycan-foods another issue all together...i think its sort of rude to put A-1 on a steak at a five star restu-raunch cause homeboy cooked that think with love...cursing is an entirely different topic cause im the one who took the time to figure out how to use the words so ill tell you exactly how i feel using exactly what i deem as appropriate in terms of verbage to convey my point.

Sean said...

Hey I was just thinking of writing a "swear jar" script for my blog. Hmmmm.

Regarding the use of foul language: fuck em. if they can't take the heat, you can EAT THEM RAW.

Actually, I just wanted to use that phrase somewhere special but no, I just blew my wad on your comments.

Is it just me or has it been Friday all goddamn week?

Bella_by_Barlight said...

I stopped reading after "Bacon" and was fully satisfied.

It was a great post, good job. 10/10 and two thumbsup. Bacon makes the world go round.

Bella_by_Barlight said...

People, can I get a summary? Is this about bacon or Jesus?

Glitzy said...

Now I want a fucking BLT.

How was Chicago?

Truecraig said...

Brother: Oh, I know how you get your fucking point across. Yes.

Anon: You certainly write erratically. But I don’t believe that using profanity signifies an abandonment of the correct use of the English language. Quite the opposite. I believe to be a more thorough use of the English language.

Lycan: Amen brother. A-fucking-men. Papa is my favorite writer, by the way. Makes me want to drink wine from a leather bag at a poker game while watching the bulls run over some shit. Glorious…

Anon II: I am going to assume that you are the same Anon from earlier. I’ll put ketchup on a five-star steak if that’s how I want to eat it. But I always take the first bite without any additives, just to get a feel for what the chef/cook intended for me to taste. After that, all bets are fucking off.

Sean: “Swear jar” script? What the… why? Would it be paypal linked? “EAT THEM RAW”… I like it. Powerful. And I actually get it, with the food reference and the heat to cook and the rawness without! Just don’t blow anymore of your wad. Someone could lose an eye around here.

Bella: Yes, Bacon is the best thing. Ever. Ever-ever-ever. But this post was about how cussing makes the baby jesus cry. And how masturbation kills kittens. So, to keep the baby well-occupied and the feral cat population in check, we must all do our little part. I know I will.

Glitzy: I luvs me some BLT! And yes, Chicago, I’m on it. I am out sick today with a Chi-town kennel cough, so I haven’t had the energy up until now to try and write it up. I’m on it though. Believe you me.

Bella_by_Barlight said...

Well now you've just made me want to go masturbate and eat a fucking bacon sammich.

Allison said...

I just wanted to tell you how much I love this post.

I think you should write grammar textbooks for high schools. No one would ever misuse grammar again.

*sigh* You're so ahead of your time.

Truecraig said...

Bella: Well, HOP TO IT THEN!!! Glad I could help inspire you.

Allison: I am flattered! I really am! But my grammar is utter shite. So be my speling skeeeilz. I tried to find this quote I heard once, which I was told that it was Mark Twain. It said, in essence, that the English language was already too limited for us to remove the use of profanity. So someone else posed that argument (presumably Twain), long before I did. I just can’t seem to find it anywhere. Maybe I dreamed it up. Who knows? I wish I could take full credit, but I’m not that much of dick. I guess. Meh.