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Curse words in print

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Inky_Wretch, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Up in Canada, it seems editors don't have a problem with curse words in print ...

    "The biggest fuck-up with killing people, if nobody, if nobody got told then nobody would've slipped information," he added.


    I was kind of shocked that wasn't edited out.
  2. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    This brings up an interesting point that goes beyond newspapers, where as far as I know George Carlin's seven words are still off limits for print. I"m also talking about magazines, books and screenplays.

    Scoff at me for being a prude all you want, but having written a few books myself and being a movie buff as well, I still find profanity in books or movies to be highly offensive---like the totally gratuitious use of the GD phrase in Titanic by that chubby big-mouthed guy who worked with Bill Paxton on the search boat (no, it wasn't Charlie Weis).

    To this day, I remain convinced that you are not a very creative writer, novelist, screenplay writer or even comedian if you can't get by without using profanity---and that includes quoting people. It's a lazy, lazy writer's/performer's way out of a jam, using profanity to accent a point. Eddie Murphy is much funnier when he's not throwing F bombs all over the place.
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Totally fucking disagree. :D

    Seriously, I think you have a point that there are people who use those words as a crutch because they really don't have the vocabulary to say what they mean to say without cursing.

    On the other hand, sometimes "fuck" is absolutely the best word for the situation. Which is why it's my favorite. It doesn't make you lazy or uncreative or profane to use it -- if you use it well. There's an art to fuck patois and, like anything else, some people have it and some don't.

    EDIT: One other point: Cleaning up language, for the sake of cleaning it up, often makes the dialog seem forced, unrealistic, too sanitized. People talk the way they talk -- and if you write a screenplay about a real-life situation and you clean up the language because it offends you? Well, that's a far greater sin in my mind than the "laziness" of using profanity.

    Anyway, this has nothing to do with Inky's original post, so carry on.
  4. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    On the website, we're up to the rare "shit" in quotes.

    Asshole, ass, pissed are all good at this point. We've had douchebag in some "sportotainment" content.

    Haven't gotten to the f-word yet. I'd think that would be only for an extraordinary quote.
  5. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

  6. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    penthouse prints the word "fuck."

  7. He's saying that, as far as he knows, the seven from that routine are verboten in print, not just on TV, as in Carlin's original bit.
  8. RedSmithClone

    RedSmithClone Active Member

    I agree to a point.

    I think in the case of movies - especially rated R movies it shouldn't matter in the least. Especially if it is a scene that includes dialogue that we all speak in everyday life.
  9. I'll totally agree with you on this one.
    Also, keep in mind your readers. There's still some people who wish to stay away from the profanity these days.
  10. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    It's a direct quote. Why edit it out?

    The Globe is a pretty conservative (by Canadian standards) paper but "fuck" routinely appears. The paper's demographic is pretty well educated, upscale and kinda sophisticated. I don't imagine most of their readers would be offended.

    I imagine the Toronto Star has the same philosophy.

    There's a couple of people here who used to write for The Globe. Maybe they can chime in.
  11. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Clutch, you're obviously feel how you're going to feel, but profanity is included in the way a lot of people talk, and if you wrote books or screenplays and never used it -- depending on the theme, of course -- you wouldn't be accurately reflecting reality.

    By the way, as an aside, I thought the GD phrase in Titanic was totally on the mark -- it reflected how somebody affected by the situation might react.
  12. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    If you're talking non-fiction, especially news media, I wholeheartedly agree with you. However, if you're writing a piece of fiction, sometimes, you write a certain way to reflect the characters you have.

    If I'm depicting life aboard a naval ship (which I have), they're not going to speak like churchgoers who enunciate and elucidate perfectly. If you're writing about someone with a ninth grade education, they're not going to be speaking like they just graduated from Harvard Law.

    Can I write a piece without profanity? Absolutely. But it's not always a crutch. If you don't like it when someone uses profanity in that fashion, you don't have to read it.
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