Improper language??

Subject: Improper language??
From: Pat <williams_ps -at- USA -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 1996 20:43:40 -0400

>>>[Somebody] wrote:
>>>"When she presented this task to the class,
>>> everyone initially took Stephen Victor's attitude: what the
>>> fuck does this have to do with technical writing, and why
>>> are you insulting my intelligence with this? (This attitude
>>> is less forgivable for a student, but still surprising for..."
>>>I found the language in your post offensive and did not read past the
>>>vulgar language.
>>>I personally would appreciate it if you would refrain from using vulgar
>>>language in your communications. We are writers and I think that more
>>>creative words are available in our vocabularies.\

>>I have to agree with Robin. I really don't care about foul language in many
>>contexts, but using this sort of language on the tech writer list is
>>definitely not appropriate. We shouldn't have to have someone supervising
>>the list, but at times like these it seems like a good idea.

>>- Tony

>I agree too--it's times like this that make it seem like a good idea to
>have some master point of control, protecting me from seeing something
>"inappropriate" that might bother or offend me. I realize the original post
>was on-topic and had a point to make, but I just couldn't
>read on after seeing that...that...WORD.

>In the future, original poster, please be more aware of my own personal
>tastes and avoid using language I consider vulgar or lacking in

Who will guard the guardians? If, as writers, we are sort of the guardians of language, who is qualified to tell us what language we can use? A great deal of our language is offensive to someone for some reason. Politically correct? Sexist? Religiously offensive? Where does one draw the line? Do we burn "books" online? or ban them here? I agree that some language is not meant for "general public" use--words we would rather our kids didn't learn too early, or maybe not at all. And yet are we not adults? Do we not have the choice what we read or do not read? Agreed, some language has no place in business/technical writing. But even there we are restricted by politics, gender, race. . .

I am not condoning the original writer's use of the f word. . .but neither do I think we need a "filter" to decide what words we can and cannot use. If we do not have the decency in ourselves to consider another's sensitive points, then perhaps our writing does not belong in the technical writing field. . .perhaps we should concentrate on the type of writing in which such language IS acceptable?

william_ps -at- usa -dot- com
What does it profit if we gain the world and lose our souls?
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