May 01, 2014
Why I Talk Dirty
One of the questions I get about this blog is why I use naughty words so often when there are plenty of perfectly good polite ones that will do the job.
The question used to come from embarrassed (and worried) colleagues. And it still comes from my wife.
People tell me that dropping f-bombs and other 4-letter words on the blog costs me readers and credibility. That may be true. But I do it anyway.
First, dirty words are not a big deal to me. Having grown up in New York City, every sentence was typically punctuated by an f-bomb. It's how I learned to think and how I talk and I don't see why I should change it when I write. It may not be pretty, but it's the real me.
Second, I think it's a healthy contrast to all the mealy-mouth bullshit being perpetrated by the newly corporatized, sanitized advertising industry. I don't mind being wrong but I do mind being timid. Naughty words have a use -- they remove any hint of ambiguity.
Third, I think Americans are a little more prissy about language than is absolutely necessary. Recently, I gave a talk in London. The night before the talk I was having dinner with the great Dave Trott. Having never spoken in the UK before, I was wondering if the language I was going to use in my talk might be offensive to British sensibilities. Dave, who has lived in both the US and the UK, assured me that the Brits are actually a lot less prudish about language than we are.
Fourth, one of the great things about being an old fart is that I don't really give a shit what people think. If people don't like my language, I'm not going to worry about it. It's not that I'm trying to intentionally antagonize or irritate anyone, but I'm also not going to pretend I'm something I'm not to please anyone. It's one of the very few upsides of senile dementia.
And finally, no matter how bad I am, Parker is worse.