Re[2]: My use of profanity [now with a note about audience]

Subject: Re[2]: My use of profanity [now with a note about audience]
From: "Arlen P. Walker" <Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 8 Nov 1995 08:49:00 -0600

> As we technical communicators say: Know thy audience.

Not in any attempt to encourage this already terminally boring (to me at
least) thread, but rather in the spirit of the above statement:

To me (as a member of the techwr-l audience) profanity merely indicates a
poverty of vocabulary. This can exhibit itself in using profanity as
punctuation (as a replacement for umms as has been noted) in which case it
is meaningless, akin to the padding we all did in HS term papers to make the
required word count. Inarticulate grunting would serve as well or better. It
can also exhibit itself in an attempt to shock. Using a word strictly for
its shock value tells me that the idea being expressed is, left to itself,
very mundane, so the author felt the need to resort to semantic tricks in
order to make it seem more radical than it really is; in other words, it's a
deceptive propaganda trick.

Now, one person on this thread justified it on the basis of a blue-collar
heritage he was proud of. Fine. By all means be proud of what you are and
where you came from. But be assured that the experience is specific to
yourself, not a generic attribute of "blue-collar-dom." The color of my
heritage's collar is no higher up the social scale than blue (in many areas
it would have to be improved in order to be raised to that level, as many of
my family's associates had no "collar" at all, and most of my family wore
"green" collars, being farmers) yet profanity was never a staple of their
vocabularies, especially not when ladies or children were present (both
circumstances being true on this list).

When it comes to profanity, English as a language is poverty-stricken; this
could be the root of my attitude towards it. I once knew a Russian who could
swear for half an hour in Russian without ever once repeating himself.
Perhaps if English were more rich in profanity, my views on the subject
would be different.

Now, wake me up when an interesting thread comes by, OK?

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 124

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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