Re: Improper language??

Subject: Re: Improper language??
From: "Wing, Michael J" <mjwing -at- INGR -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 1996 09:06:51 -0500

>I never realised that so many members of this list are so prudish.

In other words, take it like an adult. If accepting vulgarity in a
professional forum is your definition of being an adult then call me a
child. In my definition, an adult refrains from this language. That
takes more much more maturity than uttering it (or in this case

Mind you, I am not calling for censorship or filtering, but I am not
letting this post or your support of it go without comment.

>Although I accept the the use of bad language isn't necessary on this
>list, I find the fact that people refused to read past an instance of it
>in a message quite sad really.

Why? If someone who has just finished a liverwurst sandwich is belching
in your face while he is talking to you, should you ignore the stench
and keep listening? Or do you ask him to refrain from the belching,
step back, rinse his mouth, and then state what he has to say? To me, a
person who resorts to profanity has already lost the discussion. The
profanity belies his frustration and his ability to support his views.

>To all those people who were so mortally wounded by the use of a certain
>"foul" and "vulgar" term - how have you managed to survive so long?

The wound was self-inflicted. His resorting to a "single" vulgarity
took more away from his views than he could put back in. This even if
he had expressed them with the wisdom of Solomon and the writing flair
of Shakespeare.

>Come on, you're grown-ups, nobody's going to collapse or explode if
>someone occasionally slips into the vernacular.

But someone has collapsed - the original poster! And by supporting the
use of the vulgarity and chastising those who speak against it, he has
sucked you into the hole also. I do not believe that it was a "slip"
into the vernacular. Do not try to pass it on as an oversight!

>I've been on this list
>for around five months now, and this (as far as I can remember) is the
>first time anyone has used the word in question (which begins with 'f'
>and sounds like 'truck').

And why do you think this is?

>The list has neither gained nor lost anything because of it - such language
>is part
>of a modern vocabulary and to deny this is unrealistic.

Then tell me, what did the inclusion of the word add to the poster's
argument? We work with words all day. We, more than most people,
specifically choose or words to communicate. This "man" is an Editor!
Why then, did he choose this word? I am hard pressed to understand why
he couldn't have strongly stated his viewpoints without the word? If
the viewpoints could be stated without the offensive language, then what
was the purpose for the word other than to offend?

>Most importantly, the fact that the use of this rogue term has caused so
>many members to bay for and censorship and regulation is MUCH more
>offensive than the use of the word in the first place.

No, the call for censorship and regulation (which I despise as much as
you) is a frustrated reaction to the medium in which we communicate.
The dialog is one-at-a-time and is across thousands of miles. If Mr.
Hart were face-to-face with me, I would insist that he not use the
language in my presence. If he could not refrain, I would ask him to no
longer converse with me. If he still could not refrain, I would employ
more "persuasive" means.

>The petty uproar
>which some people have gone into over this is more dangerous than the
>single use of a dodgy word and - dare I suggest it - they should be
>removed from the list before the bloke who swore a bit (not that anyone
>should be removed).

No, he should not be removed from the list. He should exercise the
maturity to express his views without the use of profanity. The sad
part is that many of his points are good. His suggestion on masking the
screen shots of the busy interface is excellent. However, when he
speaks, I still smell the liverwurst belch.

>This list is supposed to be a GLOBAL meeting place where technical
>writers can discuss technical writing issues (quick nod of the head to
>Eric). It has not been designed to provide a retreat for prudes and
>bores, where they can hang around and bypass everyday life and language
>(discussing knitting).

Being a professional adult does not equate to publicly expressing
yourself with profanity. Nor does it mean accepting it from others. To
me, you're perceptions of what is mature and adult (expressing vulgarity
and accepting it) and what is childish (not accepting it - which you
call prudish) are completely backwards.

Yes, I can take it, but I can't excuse it. And, I definitely cannot
keep quiet about it. Or, maybe because I have spoke out against it, you
should have me banned from the list for being a "prude" and "totally

Mike Wing

>_/ Michael Wing
>_/ Principal Technical Writer
>_/ Infrastructure Technical Information Development
>_/ Intergraph Corporation
>_/ Huntsville, Alabama
>_/ (205) 730-7250
>_/ mjwing -at- ingr -dot- com

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