Vulgar Language

Subject: Vulgar Language
From: Kim Tedrow <roseread -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 1994 12:03:25 EDT

Val Tassari writes:

"Aren't the members of this list communicating their feelings
suitably enough for you in the proper manner? Can't you tell when
a discussion is heated? I surely can! In my opinion, using vulgarities
would provoke ill feelings toward other members of the mail list.
If you can't state your opinion logically and rationally, then
keep your mouth shut!"

Somehow, having a heated discussion in which opinions and feelings are
expressed doesn't bring to my mind the words "logical and rational". While I
don't usually take offense at vulgarlity unless it is used in name-calling, I
would certainly take offense to being told to "if you can't state your
opinion logically and rationally, then keep your mouth shut!"
Two brief comments:
1- Who decides what is vulgar and what isn't? OK. So I like George Carlin
because he makes fun of our obsession with vulgarity as a set of words,
rather than the *vulgar use* of language. If someone is telling me to shut
up because they don't like *how* I'm saying what I'm saying, I'm liable to be

2-That doesn't mean, however, that we are to ignore the social and cultural
implications of the diction we use as tech writers. My point is that if you
are going to be insulting, you don't need to use vulgarity, and if you use
vulgarity, you aren't necessarily insulting (well, not insulting me, anyway).
Professionally, I'm much more liable to be insulted by condescending or
dismissive language than I am by the use of any of the 7 no-no words-which
leads us back int
o the gender area, so I will....

quit while I'm ahead.
Kim Tedrow
(roseread -at- aol -dot- com)

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