I Love My Mom So There Is No Cursing In This Article (or Why Cursing Is Good)

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In 7th grade my friend Dave told me about a rap group that swore a lot and didn’t have a Parental Advisory sticker on their album covers. That meant you didn’t have to be 16 to buy the records (cassettes/CDs as it were). Perfect for a 12 year old. :)

(For those of you outside of the States please read about the waste of tax payer money that is the Parents Music Resource Center and the Parental Advisory sticker by clicking the blue links.)

The day Dave told me about this group, I.C.P. (Insane Clown Posse), I went out and bought their albums Carnival of Carnage and Beverly Kills 50187. :)

I was hooked for years. It felt like I joined a secret club. A club where nobody cared what you looked like, what you wore, how you spoke, or where you were from. All that mattered was that you liked Faygo and hated “the man.” This was important to angst ridden youth.

Then I.C.P. signed to a major record label and gave up on their convictions for millions of dollars. Since they were no longer independent they had no choice in the matter: every single record they released would have a Parental Advisory sticker on it. CENSORED

It didn’t make sense to me how they could rap about doing whatever they wanted and not conforming to “the man” and yet give in to “the man.”

I stopped listening to them, but their initial indie spirit lived on in my heart. (Now that I’m older I completely understand 2 high school drop outs going after mad cash instead of indie cred.)

“Hey Karol, keep it up. Make sure nobody understands or cares what you’re talking about so they don’t connect with this article.”

Why is my blog talking to me?

Whatever…

Here’s the deal: I know cursing can make a person sound uncultured and uncouth.

That said, I curse. I say For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Ship High In Transit and the other words often.

I never claimed to be cultured. ;)

Wait, Ship High In Transit isn’t the real origin of “that word.” I (we?) just learned something. Culture points for Karol? At least 1.

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge is a really bad Van Halen album, but it’s a sweet phrase. Culture points for Karol? 1, but subtract .5 because it’s Sammy Hagar.

“Karol, you’re doing it again.”

Right. Moving on…

I don’t use cursing as a crutch. As is demonstrated by 90% of the articles on this site, I don’t need to curse to get my point across.

Sometimes cursing grabs attention.

And in that way, cursing can be good.

Cursing can cut through a person’s “online reading haze” and get them to focus on what you have to say.

If overused, just like any other literary device, it loses its effectiveness.

Everybody curses

Every creed and every kind, everybody curses. Or they think about cursing  but censor themselves.

It’s liberating to let it happen.

Recently, I used the F-word 2 times in a row for blog titles. That wasn’t on purpose, it just happened that way.

A couple weeks ago I posted F!&k “Doing It While You Can” (or How To Make Things Happen) and I was upset with myself for days.

Censorship isn’t congruent with my personality and I censored my own self out of fear.

“My blog isn’t popular yet. Will the few people who do read, leave if I curse?”

I let that get to me. That is not the Ridiculously Extraordinary Way. I’m not “signed to a major label” like I.C.P.

I can do what I want. :)

So when it came to the articles where I did use the F-word I laid the cards on the table.

I thought to myself:

I can live with losing every single reader I worked hard to acquire if they don’t like the real me. What I can’t deal with is pretending to be something I’m not.”

That’s all it boils down to.

I know I’m being redundant (last week’s article was about being your true self, being congruent), but I’m interested:

Are you the same person in public and in private? That is, do you censor yourself when others are paying attention?

Why or why not?



42 COMMENTS

  1. Haha, I laughed aloud when I read about ICP.

    I was a Juggalo for 3 years myself. Around the same age, in middle school. I’m not ashamed to say I traveled to see them at least 5 times, each time returning home covered in Faygo with smeared facepaint.

    Ah, the days of youth…

    And yes, I generally don’t censor my blog either. While I generally avoid f-u-c-k, I much more frequently include the lesser cursing of shit, damn, & ass. This includes headlines, as well. :-)

    Fun post.

    • :)

      Getting smothered in Faygo was the best. Awesome shows. Awesome dudes. Even if they did sell out to the man. ;)

      Violent K signing off…

  2. I find that I don’t need to censor myself in most situations, because my language adapts itself to the norms of the situation. The only exception to this is when I’m responsible for a number of children, as has happened on two occasions. The first time, as a summer camp counselor, I had trouble stifling the cursing (necessary for keeping my job), but succeeded in doing so. The second time, as a Frisbee coach, I had no trouble at all, but the kids were slightly older, so they were merely amused by my deflections of curse words emerging from my mouth.

    That said, cursing is fantastic, I agree, adding spice to communication and allowing you to express a wider range of emotion verbally. As long as you aren’t cursing someone out whose feelings don’t deserve to be hurt, I think it’s great.

    As is your blog. I posted one of your recent articles to Facebook and quipped that your personality is ridiculous and your lifestyle extraordinary, wondering if that’s where the blog’s name came from. Thank you for it.

    • Hey Alex,

      Thanks for sharing. My potty mouth also adapts to the situation…usually. :)

      Thanks for sharing the blog on Facebook! That’s not exactly where the name came from, but close. :) I’ve been planning on writing about the name, but never had the Friday Update to share stuff like that before. So I will share sometime…soon, more than likely.

      Thanks again!
      Karol

    • hehe, thanks for your short and sweet comment Sky! :) The time and place to be yourself is anywhere, everywhere, at all times. That doesn’t mean you have to be profane at all times of course. :)

  3. Very good point.
    I do agree with Ankesh though, I edit myself around children. And around people that are important to impress, like my boss, etc.
    I think it is okay to censor yourself. There are certain situations when you are might be betraying yourself by censoring, but there are also situations where it would be unwise not to. It is important to know the difference.

    • Thanks for adding to the conversation Caleb. You make a good point. There may be situations where it would be unwise not to censor yourself. Like if you’re trying to get out of traffic ticket, for example. :)

  4. OK, being true to yourself means sometimes being pragmatic to obtain the larger goal. Earning an income is important, if self censorship is what it takes to earn an income so you can do the things you enjoy in life, who’s has the right to judge you. If on the other hand, you are independently wealthy and don’t need an income, then curse all you want.

    The point here is this; the idea of “being true to your art” is not all its cracked up to be. In the end, being true to yourself is doing and saying those things that bring you closer to your goals as long as they don’t harm others in the process and are a reflection of your inner integrity.

    It takes a bigger person to edit themselves when appropriate than it does to be a emotion driven teenager and just blurt out everything that comes in your head. It is a sign of immaturity if a person cannot control their tongue.

    My kid thinks the “S” word is stupid. I will encourage that until she realizes the truth. Saying stupid as a 7 year old is in fact, cursing. I do not wish to have a 7 year old calling everything stupid. When she’s 12, I’ll get my fill of it I am sure but why hasten it along! However, I sometimes use it with her, and it gets her attention, it interrupts her thought process and brings her attention to what I am saying.

    Be strategic with it.

    That being said, I enjoyed the profanity on the post you mention…..it does cut through the haze and is useful on occasion.

    • Thank you Brian.

      I don’t agree that you have to be independently wealthy to curse all you want. We all have the power to create lifestyles that allow us to do and be who we want to be. I’m not saying it’s easy, of course. But it is possible. If censorship is what it takes for me to be successful (with this blog, for example) it’s not worth it to me. That said, you’re right, judging somebody because they choose to give in and censor themselves doesn’t do any good.

      Karol

  5. Hi Karol,

    Your take on the F.U.C.K. Van Halen album is spot on. No S.H.I.T., so definitely extra culture points from me. :-)

    I’m in line with Ankesh and Caleb and self-censor myself at least when children are around. No big deal, I’m not the Tourette kind of guy in the first place.

  6. Hey Karol, I love your blog. You’re right that cursing can make you sound uncouth/uncultured, but the key word is CAN. A well-chosen swear word or phrase can be incredibly witty, funny, or attention-grabbing. I think your writing style will bring MORE people to your blog. I notice you mention radical honesty, did you mean Brad Blanton’s book? He curses a lot too, which is refreshing for a psychologist.

    I’m a psychiatric nurse and what offends me when patients swear is not that they do it but that it’s often so badly done:)

    • Hi Brandi,

      Thanks for your comments. I’m not familiar with Brad Blanton, but I’m going to order his book! It sounds up my alley. Thank you for that. (I have heard somebody use the phrase Radical Honesty before though…I stole it from whoever that was.)

      “what offends me when patients swear is not that they do it but that it’s often so badly done:)” ;)

      Karol

  7. Funny that you mention I.C.P. in your blog, just a week or so ago their performance got cancelled in my town by because some people in the community thought their topics where too profane for our community and that their performances cause violence.

    And I must say I agree with you (and the fans dressed up as clowns protesting the cancelation), phoque censorship (pardon my French). I believe if people do not like music that uses profanity they have to right to not buy the music or going to see them perform.

  8. Oh my God, where do I start….

    I am a TOTALLY different person whenever I’m in the proximity of other human beings.

    Even then, I’m usually considered the “odd” one in any room at any given point in time. That makes me wonder: if I were to ever REALLY be myself, would people immediately call in the people to take me to the padded, soundproof room forever? ;)

    I kid….but only partially.

    Last week, I made the determination that if people can be “functioning alcoholics”, then it makes logical sense that there are likely “functioning psychotics” among us as well.

    What terrifies me is, I think I might be one of them. (Again kidding, but only partly.) :)

    I’ve known I was an oddball since I was 6 years old. But how do you *freely* let that out into the world, when you know that you’re SO different, that you’re pretty sure the only people who could possibly understand you are every bit as insane as you are?

    • Hey Mike,

      Maybe you’re considered the “odd” one because you’re not being yourself? Face the fear! Be your oddball self no matter who’s around!

      You’re surely not as different as you think. We all think we’re very different from everybody else…insane even. I felt for years (half my life) that I couldn’t really connect with people. That was wrong and it just perpetuated not being able to connect with people. Nobody will ever understand you completely. That’s impossible because you, me, they will never understand our own selves completely. Such is life. It rules. :)

      Karol

  9. Look, we’re all adults here! If we think we can get on the net and not hear or see something many would call profane, we better not f’n be here! If that is what your blog was comprised of you would’nt have many subcribers anyway.

    I have to admit, it does grab your attention at least to read on for a while. Most people reading blogs are’nt from the 50’s anyway! Thanks for all you do! Randall

  10. Ahh Karol, you are who you are and that’s just how it should be….. so if you loose a reader because of the occasional ship or pro creative expletive does it really matter..they simply didn’t GET you,,,, stay real

  11. “I can live with losing every single reader I worked hard to acquire if they don’t like the real me. What I can’t deal with is pretending to be something I’m not.”

    What timing!! Once again found myself in a situation, feeling badly about myself, because of who I am….(When I read the above quote from you this morning, I laughed right out loud. ) living my own life and not conforming or fitting in with “who I should be”. Thanks for the reminder of the solution to my problem. LOL

  12. I write a blog about prayer and spirituality, so there isn’t usually cursing on my site. I have certainly been known to swear, more than once. As a Christian, I try to leave God out of it, so as not to use his name in vain. The F-word doesn’t appear in the bible, so I’m not sure God is offended by it. Swearing is part of the human condition and at times most agree, we can feel better after swearing and not censoring what we feel.

    My only problem with swearing is when people express their thoughts only by cursing and not with descriptive words and a command of the language. It can become a habit, and all they do is swear. As you mentioned with overuse, it completely looses it’s effectiveness.

    By all means, remain true to yourself. I enjoy your blog and agree with many of your thoughts and ideas. Kind Regards.

  13. Great point on censorship. I try and curse online less than I do in real life, but sometimes it must come out. Sometimes it makes things funny and gets your point across better. That doesn’t mean you aren’t cultured and have a poor lexicon.

    I was going to swear in this comment for effect, but you wrote ‘I Love My Mom’ on the top so I decided against it. Cheers!

  14. Like you said we all curse, even our parents do. Yeah I know, it’s shocking isn’t it?

    What I don’t understand is why cursing upsets people when it is, after all just words. Is it really any better when 10 year old Johnny gets his panties in a bunch and shouts “Fudge!” We all know what he means, we all know what he’s feeling. But it’s ok because he said Fudge. All Johnny did is change the letters and use a different word.

    Cursing, in any language is just words. An expression of passion, frustration, ecstasy, dissapointment etc etc.

    But cursing, like any other forms of communication is a skill that not everyone has. Its something that can be done well, and not so well.

    Anyone can say arse, but it takes real skill to break other words in half to fit swear words in, and most importantly, not have them sound out of place.

    Once mastered, its unbefuckinleivable!

  15. Hey man good stuff, Love the website! I have gone back and read every article now, can’t wait for new posts. Keep it up dude!

  16. An interesting post with many different opinions. Here’s my two pen’north. Cursing is not ‘just words’ whichever way you look at it! Any words are ‘just words’ but put in a particular order, whether cursing or not can cause a lot of damage and/or hurt. 99% of cursing is completely unnecessary, pointless and a degredation of language.
    However, saying that, although I don’t swear in public, I’m not a prude by any means (my sister swears like a trooper!), I find it still takes me aback when I hear crude swearing, and people are always apologising when they swear in front of me (if they think there’s nothing wrong with swearing why do they do that? And I don’t show dissaproval or comment so it’s not that).
    Swearing can be funny if used cleverly but done too often, again, becomes ‘tired’. These are just my ramblings that come to mind so apologies if it’s disjointed. Teresa

    • Hey Teresa,

      Thanks for adding your thoughts. It boils down to the simple fact that we’ve all got to be ourselves. Not many people (maybe nobody?) is as open as I am about myself on this blog. It’s not a good business decision because I know I lose a lot of readers, but the ones that stay are my Right People and the ones I truly care about. :)

      Cheers,
      Karol

  17. In third grade, during a kickball game, this girl on my team that I didn’t like for a multitude of reasons started helping the other team. I yelled in frustration, “what the hell do you think you’re doing?” I had to write, “I will not curse in school” fifty times or so and turn it in to my teacher. A friend not too long ago said, “Shut the front door.” which I found hilarious! It really is all in context and delivery I think.

  18. My Dad always said, “don’t cuss unless it’s appropriate,” and sometimes it is! post titles like “Breakthroughs are Bullshit” grab me and rattle my cage, and I love it, because I need that. I appreciate your honesty and straightforwardness.

    Yes, I do censor my personality in public. I’m not proud of that, and I’m working on it. I’m either really quiet and low-key, or really over-the-top, depending on where I’m at, and neither one is really me. Social awkwardness sucks, which is why I love the blogosphere…I know how to be graceful with written words! ;)

    Thanks again for hittin’ me sideways…keep being your rockin’ self!
    Laurie

    • :) “don’t cuss unless it’s appropriate” is smart.

      It’s OK to censor ourselves sometimes. I always feel like a piece of poop when I swear around a kid. (Even though they probably hear it on TV anyway.)

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