March 20, 2005

Cursing in Blogs?

I notice that swearing in blogs is light and soft, whenever it exists. Personally I'm used to cursing on the Internet quite a bit for years (political sims and forums are rough-and-tumble environments). I'm not a professional journalist, so I don't take my habits from the watered-down world of the MSM. I take my habits from school, where cursing is fully nonexistent, and from sims and chat rooms, where cursing is second nature. I'm wondering why the blog world feels the need to sanitize itself in this way.

The obvious answers: 1) to let kids read it; 2) to be more professional and taken seriously by the MSM types and everyday readers; 3) to be more persuasive for the lack of obscenities.

I understand the reticence of some to swear, but I feel the occasional curse word, even fuck or goddamn, is warranted. Sure, it's rude to many people but then my ideas in general are often considered rude by their very existence. I definitely could see why Malkin and Kudlow might avoid cursing, since they are mostly MSM types (with good blogosphere presences). I also totally understand why bigger-circulation blogs like Instapundit would avoid it, since the rule of thumb is that you need to sanitize yourself (obscenity-wise, hopefully not too much content-wise) to get bigger audiences.

I guess I'm just not convinced that it's truly demeaning to your arguments if you use some cursing. Is my argument any worse because I say "Ward Churchill is a whining, irrelevant fuckhead" than if I said "Ward Churchill is a despicable human being" or something else?

It's not like kids under 14 are going to be interested in my blog anyway, let alone understand most of the terms and arguments. I'm not writing for Disney audience; I'm targeting college and above, maybe politically-activated high schoolers. I'm targeting people who are similar to me, at any rate.

I don't swear too often - only when I get a little heated and want to pack some punch into a single phrase. Do I have to watch my language from now on?

What's interesting is how self-enforcing this sort of thing is. There's no blog-FCC telling us to avoid cursing yet you don't see hardly anything in blogs that couldn't pass FCC standards of decency. Hell, most blogs could be on the nightly news with their obscenity-sanitized commentary. Maybe it's that bloggers unconsciously (or consciously?) mimic MSM reporting styles, and of necessity that includes the lack of cursing. Whatever the reason, I don't expect I'll avoid cursing if I should feel like it.


Blogger Nigel Kearney said...

There's also an issue with censorware.

Some of us get most of our hits within working hours ...

March 21, 2005 5:20 AM  

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