Oh Noes. Swear Words.

I saw the above image on Facebook today and it struck a chord with me.

As an author, I feel I have an obligation to present characters true to themselves and to the world in which we live. I understand some people feel that swearing is evil, and they don’t like it – and that’s fine. [Don’t like it, don’t do it] However, some people take it further, attacking anyone who does invoke ‘naughty words.’ These individuals feel that because they object to swearing, everyone needs to follow their beliefs and no one should ever swear.

Alas, this is not the world in which we live.

I’ve seen articles posted claiming that intelligent people swear more frequently – I have no idea if that’s true or not, but I know how things were/are around where I live. I’ve had a few people get ‘offended’ by a 13 year old character swearing in my novel Caller 107. When I was that age, pretty much everyone around me in the same age group swore (far worse than the character in this book). It’s something kids did at that age here to feel older than they were.

Also, as the narrative progresses, the character decides to stop swearing so much Рwhich is a representation of her attempt to change. These dime-store moralists ignored that aspect and focused on being horrified at a couple of words. Another thing about it that feels wonky to me is that these people were more bothered by the use of colorful language than by the horrible things that happen to the character.

People swear. It happens. If someone is more offended by the word fuck than by the idea of divorce destroying a child’s life, or by what happens to said child when she falls in with a pack of wanna-be street thugs, it’s time to re-evaluate one’s idea of what is ‘wrong.’

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