Friday, February 28, 2014

Why I Won't Stop Swearing


An alert reader on Twitter named @PaulTurnerNV tweeted the following at me the other day in response to my blog post about guns.

"Great post, but disappointed by the unnecessary profanity. Leave that to the lefties, please."

This dorked me out so hard. You don't even know. My response was, "Ugh give me a break."

In reply, he decided to make shit up: "Because profanity always improves an argument. Got it."

I pointed out that he just attributed something to me which I never said or even implied. "I choose to swear. I like to swear. If you don't like it, don't read it. Easy." That was my last tweet to him.

This morning he wrote: "You choose to be unprofessional? I choose to unfollow. Bye."

Naturally, I had a good, long cry over this. What will I do without Paul, you guys? Somehow I have to go on.

But I'd like to take a minute to explain why Paul's tweet about profanity was unnecessary, stupid, and rude. Yes, rude.

Some humans use what we call swear words, which are words that mean the same thing as other, inexplicably acceptable words, but which society has deemed less appropriate. "Shit" means the same thing as "poop," but poop is okay to say in front of your mom and shit isn't. Why? Beats the shit out of me. Humans are weird.

Asking someone not to swear in your home or your classroom is one thing. Asking an artist not to swear in their art is prudish and rude.

"Hey, Kurt Vonnegut. Hey, J.D. Salinger. I like your books and stuff, but what's with the wordy dirds?"

Only a fucking yokel would say that. That's because they are ARTISTS, and the words they use to express what they're saying are a part of their ART.

"I wasn't a fan of the book" is a fine thing to say. "I thought it was awful" is also fine. But "here's how you SHOULD do it: cut the first chapter and move the scene with the rabid dog to the denouement" is not something you say to an artist unless they specifically ask you. Same goes with "use different words." If you want to do it differently, go make your own damn art.

"Mr. Louis C.K., sir. I enjoyed your standup, but gosh-darn it at the four-letter words! Maybe leave 'em out, see how that goes!"

Does it sound stupid, the idea of asking a writer or stand-up comic to leave out profanity? Does it seem ridiculous, the thought of telling Michelangelo he should have sculpted David without a weiner?

That's because it is fucking stupid.

I don't care how "the lefties" talk, Paul. (Also, that term bums me out. The same people who say "lefties" say "Moo-chelle" and "O'Bummer." And those people just need to go.)

I don't care how "the lefties" talk because I am not a "rightie." I am not a mouthpiece for any party, and what I do is not "rightie" propaganda. It is art, be it ever so fucking humble.

Why I swear and whether or not I should swear is another matter, and similarly none of your concern. Would I swear in front of Jesus? No. Would you point out other people's sins in front of Jesus? Hopefully no.

The words I use are how I grew up, how I learned to express myself, and have made themselves a part of my art. They are the words I choose, for specific reasons, to convey a particular mood, tone, and sense of humor. They are how I say what I want to say.

If you wouldn't go up to Piet Mondrian and ask him to paint more curves and maybe throw in some pastels, then you shouldn't walk up to a writer and ask her to use different words. And that's exactly what you did on Twitter, @PaulTurnerNV, and that shit is rude, stupid, and unappreciated.

In closing, I would just like to say, in all seriousness, shit fuck damn bitch hell.

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