Wednesday, March 18, 1998

Bad language

"Swearing has its place. You should try it."


Originally published in letters to the editor, Green Left Weekly issue 310, 18 March 1998

Get off your high horse, Adam Baker (Write on, GLW #307).

You're worried about the linguistic standards of Green Left because of “profane language” (swearing) in the cartoons? The Oxford dictionary defines “profane” as “not belonging to what is sacred or biblical; secular” or “to violate or pollute (what is entitled to respect)”.

I think that secular language is entirely appropriate in GLW. And the politicians that Chris Kelly satirises are not entitled to any respect in my world view.

Is your problem lack of understanding of people who you conveniently label as “rednecks” because they swear a lot? I know a fair few people who fit this category (myself on a bad day) yet are quite the opposite of rednecks. Indeed, a much greater potential problem for GLW is the use of too much high-falutin' language which will not make sense to many.

It is true that swear words aren't as accurate or articulate as many situations require, but the intellectually correct word will not give the required emotional satisfaction in other situations. Swearing has its place. You should try it.

Ben Courtice
Footscray Vic

1 comment:

  1. Ben
    I agree absolutely. You're so right, particu-larly after I've spent hours trying to train our recalcitrant (stupid?) dog to lead properly. I'm sure that articulating emotions through profanity extends my longevity. I thought so today.

    Elizabeth

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