I know that sometimes my writing and, honestly, my speech is overbearing. Maybe even often. Sometimes it’s vulgar and harsh. To those who complain I say this;
tough tittie, cupcake
Samuel Clemens wrote, in a letter to Orion Clemens, his older brother, 14 May 1877,
“Profanity is more necessary to me than is immunity from colds.”
Master Clemens (who you may know better as Mark Twain), as well as a number of other of our wise authors and philosophers are who I’ve turned to when questioning my own speech and wondering if I should tone it down.
So far, nothing written by those wise nobles has led to believe I should.
I’m afraid I started my life in rough trade (not that kind of rough trade you sicko), the Army, then the Navy, then the Merchant Fleet… and spent little time around those who felt the need to forbear linguistic seasoning. I say fuck as easily as many people say hello. In fact, sometimes, fuck suffices for the greeting.
In the halls I have tread such was far from unusual. Those halls feel like home.
The linguistic flagellations of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from the movie Full Metal Jacket sounds like an everyday morning conversation to me. My fellow fictional Texan, Private Joker is a soulmate (but sadly, so is Private Pyle). I do however have a certain amount of common courtesy.
If you called me a…
“…slimy little Communist shit twinkle–toed cocksucker…”
…about the only thing I might take offense at is being called communist. Or little… I’m neither.
(In online quizzes I usually test out as “Austrian Anarcho-Capitalist” “Austrian Minarchist”, and “Chicago School” – whatever any of those mean. Communist is pretty far down the list actually – but closer than one would think for someone who scores 100% on basically economic chaos – but complex economy is witchcraft to me – that’s not really true… I actually know something about witchcraft.)
If you want to be handled gently, look to my beautiful bride of nearly twenty years. She has a kinder, gentler soul than I. I have done nothing to deserve her. We speculate she did something horrible in a past life and I’m her punishment. She’s the one who uplifts and supports. She’ll treat you compassionately. She has a tender hand. (Unless you abuse animals or children, in which case… Gods help you – cause I won’t).
I tend to be a bit rougher. I’m the guy who throws you in the pool to teach you to swim. With sharks. In a meat wetsuit. But if you think it’s in malice, then be assured it is not. Those who are worthy of my malice, unless they are especially oblivious idiots, have little doubt.
Can I shut it off? Of course I can. Different circumstances have different rules. I have never once written a legal document with the word fuck in it…. waaaaiiiiittttt… hold on… nope, don’t think I have, but if I have, then the word fuck would have been somehow appropriate and involved in the case… but I don’t think that’s happened (though even now I’m still wondering). Why though, if it’s not absolutely necessary, why the fuck would I want to change my voice? If you’re here reading this, then I assume you want to read what I have to say in the way I say it. You want to experience these discussions the way I want to discuss them. This is me. This is my voice. This is my blog. My bully-pulpit. If I were, say, a professional journalist, which I wouldn’t mind being and have the skill set to do well – well, this is not the way I’d write for my job. But on Strolling Through My Mind?
Cope with it.
I’m not writing children’s books. I’m writing to adults. Should I put a warning label on the top? I can. If that’s what you want me to do. I’m not convinced it’s necessary. If you lose the message because of the language, then maybe the message isn’t for you? If you titter or blush when you read fuck, or any of the other seven forbidden words (shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tit*), then maybe you’re not my market.
Worse, if you lose the message because I declare some dirtbag politician a child-finger banging troglodyte who would be better off in a chain gang than in the chain of command and you focus on the fact that I used harsh-language and not on the fact that some politician is finger-banging children… especially if this politician is someone you, for some reason blindly support like a lamb being led to slaughter…that, says more about you than me. It doesn’t say anything good either, no matter how many airs of propriety you try to put on.
So don’t take my language as an affront, for as Master Clemens told Rev. Joe Twichell;,
“My swearing doesn’t mean any more to me than your sermons do to you.”
*with apologies to Master Carlin