Offensive words and the Aussie way.

Aussies reading this, I need your input and comments. ;) Recently during my blogging chicks commenting challenge, I found myself breaking my own commenting rules. Specifically – “If you’re seeing red, get out of there fast – and as politely – as possible”.

A very judgmental blogger had stated that they would not read a blog if it contained swear words, and stated that they felt anyone using swear words basically was a bad writer incapable of expressing themselves in any other way. Them’s fighting words to an Australian – at least they were to me.

Living here in Australia I hear swear words all the time, it’s a fact of life. There is not one single word that shocks or offends me. Not even the C word. In fact I know people who use that as a term of affection. If one was offended by these words, you would probably find life quite difficult here in this country – Aussie readers, do you agree?

At the same time I have recently changed the way I do things here at the blog with regard to swear words. I put a * in them. This is something I do for the readers, not for me. That is because I do understand that some people are offended by these words.

So over the past few days while I have been cleaning my bookshelves (a job I finally finished) what this blogger said has been bugging me. I’m not going to link to the blog because I do not feel she deserves the traffic.

To write off everything a person says because of the occasional swear word? Isn’t that akin to writing off everything a person says because they are {insert one of the following – black, white, yellow, pink, gay, lesbian, heterosexual, republican, democrat, right wing, left wing, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, is my point made or should I continue?}. So I am a “swearer”. So I am going to hell. Or something. That doesn’t mean I am somehow “lesser” or my words have any less meaning.

I won’t lie to you guys (and Christian readers, please do not be offended by this, read the whole thing before you get upset) – I have struggled with this commenting challenge. First of all, it’s the blogging *chicks* and I’ve had some really terrible experiences with women during my life time. So the reality is, women scare me. Mostly. :) And I say that being female myself.

The other thing I have struggled with – many of the blogs belong to people who are Christian. I have always been somewhat scared of the apparently very religious after some bad experiences with the religious in my teenage years. The Christians I have known have never acted like true Christians – they preach, but do not *practice*.

I used to be Baptist. I used to go to church. The trouble was, the church I went to was more like a social group with cliques and some of the people were extremely nasty. It put me off church and Christians so much that I’ve never gone back. Since then I have often felt people who believe in God are as alien to me as people who believe UFO’s are coming to the earth to collect them.

I respect the right of everyone to worship whoever they choose, don’t get me wrong, but I do find it difficult when people are very judgmental and impose their religious views on others, especially in the areas of topics like a politics, sexuality, a womans right to choose, and the worst of all in my opinion, the religion where parents refuse to let their very ill children have blood transfusions which would save their lives. It’s an alien concept to me that you could care more about a religion than your flesh and blood child who is dying in front of your eyes.

I had a moment of panic at the start of this challenge when I opened up the first 10 blogs and the majority of them were Christians. But I’ve stuck with the challenge because I have found points of commonality with the people – even with the Christian people, several of whom I have now added to my google reader. Had you asked me at the start of this challenge would I be able to find Christians worth adding to my google reader, the answer would have been NO. Probably with a swear word in front of NO, too. :)

There’s blogs on the Australian Blogs Community that I struggle with because they have a very different point of view on some topics to what I do. I’m still willing to hear what they have to say. I listen to people who consider themselves left wing and right wing. I am incredibly tolerant in so many areas. Even I am surprised by how tolerant I am, from time to time.

What I have trouble tolerating are people whose minds are closed – who won’t listen to others and who will never change their opinion even when evidence suggests they should. This is why I have trouble with people who identify themselves as “right wing” or “left wing” when it comes to politics, because they seem to blindly support one side or the other. I’m a person who supports the side that is *right* and that means I can swing from one wing to the other in a heartbeat.

My blog has 5 hits for the F word on Technorati. Google comes up with 23 but it counts several of these more than once. If that negates everything else I have ever said here on the blog for some people, then so be it. ;)

As I go back through my posts I will be editing swear words to have * in them. I apologize to any readers who may have been offended by my using these words in the past, and I do intend to use * in them in the future. It’s not because of that very judgmental blogger, it’s because I do respect and care for my readers and I do not want to impose my swearing on them. I know not all of them come from a place where the F word is as common as hello.

Sephy posted on this topic today also, these two posts tie in quite well together.

I meant to write about interpretation today but it didn’t happen. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get my act together on that one.

Similar Posts:

Australia, commenting on blogs, feed readers, mistakes I made, women

13 thoughts on “Offensive words and the Aussie way.

  1. Swear words rarely offend me unless they are simply every other word out of a person’s mouth. But I have never been offended by anything I have read here.

  2. Interesting topic. Honestly, I know I wouldn’t quit reading a blog simply because of swearing. The decision about that would come from content. If the swearing is taking place because everything the person says is hostile, I wouldn’t want to read it. If the person is just swearing in a kind of thoughtless, off the cuff manner, I would eventually be turned off.Words have power and the words we choose to use with each other matter.

    I don’t find gratuitious swearing to be either cute or clever. Personally, I rarely swear unless I’m really upset. On my blog, I use asterisks, also.

    In some cases, it may be just a generational thing.

    Peace,

    ~Chani

  3. I strongly identify with every point you made. What I can add is, in general, that Aussies do have a more casual attitude to swearing than Americans (Im an ex-yank myself).
    Im sorry that this person got under your skin and hope that writing your post and these comments will settle the matter for you. You dont seem offensive to me, and it would be a shame if you felt you had to censor yourself.
    I think * should cover you against all but the most militant people out there. For them, let it be like water off a ducks back – just let it roll off, eh?
    On bloggings bright side, I did do my post on comments today billing your Challenging Yourself to Comment as The Cure for Comment Anxiety
    Hang in there and remember the ducks back!
    Cheers, Lavender of the birds & the beads

  4. I know what you mean about living with swearing and it becoming just a part of life, especially here in Australia. I hear swear words every day and now I don’t bat an eyelid when they are said. But that doesn’t mean I translate that onto my blog. Sometimes I’ll want to use a swear word but I’ll think about if someone is reading it at work or something, and if the word really is necessary. I’ve used “softer” swear words, like crap and shit, but only a few times. I guess I’m being over-cautious rather than not cautious enough.

    That being said, I read plenty of blogs that use swear words. I don’t mind, I can handle it, I’m a big girl. I don’t think I would choose to read a blog regularly that swears non-stop, like a ridiculous amount – but that wouldn’t be so much because of the swear words, but rather I wouldn’t enjoy reading it, if that makes sense.

    It’s a thought-provoking topic though!

    Kate

  5. Can’t offend this yank potty mouth one bit. In fact, as I read one of of your (I say this lovingly) ultra long posts again, I was thinking that you overthink the fuck out of some things just like me. There. I just gave you a freebie.

  6. Avoidance strategies like “f*ck”, “f—“, “the f word” are quite comical to me as they don’t hide anything from anyone, nor protect the eyes/ears of those who might be offended by them (if the potentially-offended cannot fill in the blanks, mentally and automatically, it’s unlikely to be an offensive word to them).

    There’s an interesting (to me) series of posts on the Language Log which highlight the lengths to which some (mainly US) publications will go to avoid fuck, shit, twat and so on:
    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/%7Emyl/languagelog/archives/003673.html

  7. It would depend on the content and sometimes swearing is appropriate. If readers don’t like it then what are you going to cut out next. Then it is not you and that would be a shame. I read blogs like I meet people some swear and some don’t as long as it is not a racial slur or the like I don’t care.

  8. While I try to keep my cursing under wraps for my daughter’s sake, I swear like a sailor. They are just words. You know how it goes, sticks and stones may break my bones…

    Thanks for stopping by my blog :) Glad to have visited here!

  9. Oops. I’m an Aussie. And a cursing one at that. And I don’t judge people on what they write, seeing the occasional swear word (typing that makes me feel twelve years old) doesn’t turn me off at all.

    And the comment about being less of a writer for cussing? Bugger that.

    I can see why it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so if there are bits that people find offensive, skim over them. But writing off the entire blog is a bit extreme, in my humble opinion.

  10. jeez I must be immune, I never even noticed your cursing, LOL. Of course if you’ve seen pretty much any movie about Boston, directors would make you think we say “fuckin'” every other word, and while it’s not that bad, perhaps that’s why I don’t even register reading words like ‘the f word’ Anyways, interesting post re language and religion

  11. I am not offended by any words. It is only the intention behind them, that can offend. I swear. I’m an Aussie. I don’t swear on my blog because my students sometimes read it and I’m pathetically trying to set an example.
    I can relate to what you’ve written about being judged. It sucks.

  12. Most swearing doesn’t bother me, although I don’t swear myself, but the “C” word really bothers me, I don’t know why.

  13. As one of the “Christian” bloggers in Aussie Blogs I don’t mind what language you use, as long as you are being real.

    I can sometimes get a bit annoyed by people who deliberately swear just to gain a reaction – to me that in itself is discourteous, not the words themselves. Hey, who invented swear words anyway? Most of them are just an Anglo Saxon way of making an emphasis. The ones that are dangerous are the true curse words. By “curse” here I don’t mean “swear”, but the words that invoke illwill and harm on another person. They do have power to cause damage.

    I know what you mean about a certain kind of Christian being either judgmental or easily offended. If you read any of my “Christian” blogs I think you’ll find that i’m more likely to to be disappointed with the behaviour of my fellow “believers” than anyone else.

    In fact, some have so dishonoured the word “Christian” that I don’t call myself one normally, because I know it will usually be taken to mean something that I am not. I’d rather be a “follower of Jesus” like the first believers were. The same goes for the word “church”. My church is not an institution, but just a collection of people who like follow Jesus together, to paraphrase something I recently heard from Mike Frost.

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