Okay, now I'm mad.
Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time in the blogging world. I enjoy wandering around visiting people. If I find someone that strikes a spark with me, I bookmark their blog so I can return to it and see what else they have to say.
But there are so many people blogging, and I have only so much time, so I can't let my list get too long. Even with constant weeding, I have upwards of seventy blogs I read! That's at least ten every single day, and what with catching up on everything they've written, and following links from their pages to other interesting pages, and following links from THOSE PAGES..... well, that makes a considerable time investment.
So I have set some guidelines; a sort of rule-of-thumb, for blogs I bookmark.
1) Is the blogger interesting?
2) Does he or she have a way with words?
3) Are they nice?
4) Are they able to communicate without overuse of foul language?
I follow those almost unconsciously, and pretty much in that order.
It's strange, but many of the interesting blogs seem to be written by people who have no descriptive words at their disposal other than f***, or s***, or c***, or a**, all sorts of other words that thirty years ago were considered "bad" words. "Nice" people didn't talk like that.
Now, I realize times have changed. Language is always pushing the envelope, and bad words slowly get absorbed into the mainstream, and then we have to find new, shocking, offensive words to express our distaste for something. One example is the word "screw." When I was a teenager, that was as bad of a word as the f-word. And now everyone I know uses it, including my pastor, as in "Boy, I sure screwed that up." Another word I absolutely hate is "suck." That was another terrible word that showed up on bathroom stalls. It was the ultimate insult to tell someone they "sucked." But now my teenage boys use it all the time to say things like, "This amp sucks; we need a better one."
That being said, I still dislike reading too much bad language. I can handle, even though I don't especially like it, an occasional foul word used appropriately, for emphasis. After all, sometimes a person has to say SOMETHING. On the other hand, I know what f*** means, and I don't appreciate having that image conjured up for me in every sentence I read. It's like force-feeding me pornography. I also know what s*** and c*** is, and I get really tired of having my nose rubbed in it every other word. Maybe I have too good of an imagination, but the world gets really ugly when you constantly have porn and poo flashed in your face.
Okay. So. Why am I mad? Yesterday I'm reading blogs. Some interesting, some not interesting. Some clean, some not clean. I run across a guy's blog. He's interesting, he's funny, he enjoys being a dad; I enjoy reading his stuff. He uses the f-word a LOT, but I decide I can put up with that because I'm enjoying what he has to say. He seems nice. I continue on, reading post after post, and then, it happens. He writes a series of "memos to the world at large." Here's the memo that bothered me:
Occasionally I have heard mention of my site as being inappropriate due to my casual use of profanity. Several readers have even e-mailed me and accused me of contributing to the coarsening of the English language. To those critics, I would respond that my discourse merely exemplifies the vaunted precedent of valorizing the oral vernacular. I would further add that language is a living tissue, which must occasionally suffer the rupture of subversion in order to convalesce with more structural stability. So to those prurient guardians of the linguistic gates who are offended by my occasional use of the F-bomb? Well, you know what you can do with yourselves.
Well, as a matter of fact I do know.
I was doing my best to overlook something that was offensive to me, for the sake of the man and what he had to say. It's his blog, and he can cuss if he wants to....
However, beside the fact that his use of big words does not really say anything-- "oral vernacular" is not the point-- now I know what he thinks of people like me: I'm a "prurient guardian of the linguistic gates" who is "offended" by his "occasional use of the F-bomb"! And "you know what you can do with yourselves"! (By the way, I think he needs to re-read the definition of "occasional"....)
Yes, I know exactly what I can do-- delete you from my list.
Too bad. He seemed nice; just don't cross him.
Sadly, he's not alone. There are many others like that. They are nice until disagreed with and then-- HooBoy! You'd better duck. Fast.
And that's what makes me mad. I know they don't mean ME, personally. After all, they don't even know me, right? But if they did know me, they'd find out quickly which of their pigeon holes I fit into, and then they WOULD insult me personally.
And what makes me madder: If my friend of the "f-bomb" would read this, he would probably flame me, and somehow this would be all my fault for being offended and insulted. After all, that's just the way the world is, and the way he is, so GET USED TO IT! Well, I'm trying. But you're not making it any easier.
And what makes me even madder is that it's considered good to be bad, and bad to be good. The more foul your language and the more crass your conversation, the better you are: You're up-to-date, tolerant, realistic, and politically correct. However, if you dislike foul language and try to focus on positive things, you're a namby-pamby, prude who is hopelessly out of touch. *scream!* *tear hair!*
And another thing!-- no one apologizes for bad language any more. It's up to each of us to "get over it." (On second thought, someone did apologize to me, sort of, not too long ago. After unleashing a long string of obscenities, he said, "Pardon my french," to which I replied, "I'm sorry, we don't speak french here.")
I try not to show my age or my prudish-ness and I try to give people grace. However, it's a big world, and there are lots of people in it, and I reserve the right to delete from my list the blogs of foul-mouthed, offensive people-- no matter how interesting-- and keep looking till I find nice, interesting, clean-mouthed people who write well, and don't insult me.
There. I'm still mad, but I'll get over it.