From here to profanity: to link or not to link

From here to profanity: to link or not to link

While the blog will ultimately reflect my sensibilities (and I think that’s really what people want with a blog like this), I do take into account what my readers think.

There’s something where I’m a bit uncertain, and it affects you, so I thought I’d ask. 🙂

It has to do with linking to stories.

This mainly comes into play with my

Flipboard (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

magazines, including the

ILMK magazine at Flipboard

which is effectively a sibling publication to this one.

Regular readers (and people who know me “in real life”) know that I don’t use profanity.

Yes, even if I stub my toe, I just don’t. If I’m suddenly, emotionally mad at somebody (which is very unusual), the worst thing I might say (and only if they can’t hear me) is to maybe question their intelligence (which I know is unfair), or to say something like, “Nice signal, pal!” That’s right…I literally say, “pal”. 🙂

That said, I have no objection to profanity in literature. I don’t want to see anything censored in fiction for sure. I read books, for example, knowing that they will have “the f word” in them.

Here’s my conundrum.

Sometimes, when I link to  an article, it contains a profanity…often without me realizing it first. I don’t read every word of every article before I link (it would take forever…I’ve flipped more than 40,000 articles in the ILMK magazine alone). When I read some of them later, I’ll run across something.

For example, I recently linked to an article by Stephen King. Partway into it, King uses the word “motherf***er”, without the asterisks I used.

I was torn. King is such a popular author, and many of my readers would be interesting in the horrormeister’s opinion. I think some of my readers would not be happy to have that word there, though, and it could even cause them problems if they were reading it at work on work equipment.

I felt like this was an important piece, as it commented on the current political situation. Also, people who are familiar with King wouldn’t be surprised by the language. I did leave the link**.

In another case, a tech site was writing about new filters (this was for another Flipboard magazine of mine based on another blog of mine,  The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard). I thought it was a great piece…but it used “f**cking” as an adjective. I ended up removing this link, because it seemed like a less important article (that’s subjective, of course), that people would be “hurt less” by not having it included. It was also before the King piece, and I was tending to remove all of the links I noticed.

Then, there’s the question of just what counts as profanity. I now hear the “s word” pretty often on television (although it might be basic cable rather than over the air, so regulations are different). The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) cares about context…they are more lenient with the “f word” as an adjective than as a verb. Somebody on a talk show would be more likely to get away with “We’re all f**ked” than with “I f**ked so-and-so”. I remember them not levying a fine on an award show when somebody said it in celebration

I also get concerned sometimes about sexual content…nudity, for example. If there is a naked dorsal view of someone in a photograph…should that be a link killer? What about if they are talking about human sexual desire? I include health-related articles in The Measured Circle, and that sometimes happens there.

I suppose some people would also prefer that I don’t link to anything that expresses an opinion about the current President (whichever President it is). If Stephen King does it, I consider it an article about Stephen King. I’ve linked to things which are both positive and negative, if the story has to do with an author or possibly another type of celebrity for TMC.

Well, I think that lays out the issue. Let me see what you think:

Well, creating that poll was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done! 🙂

Feel free to make more suggestions to me and my readers by commenting on this post (although I may expurgate some words). Oh, I haven’t said yet…warning on a case by case basis is just not practical.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :)

**The Stephen King piece…and now, you’ve been clearly warned 😉

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

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7 Responses to “From here to profanity: to link or not to link”

  1. Allie Says:

    **Bufo, I may have double posted. If so, the one right here is the one I meant to post; the other you can toss! **

    I could do without Presidential-related riffs, but hey, this, and any other blog you run, is your place! I don’t believe in censorship. I think people should deal with it. You’re free to choose whatever makes you comfortable on your own terms. We are all grown-ups (pretty much!) and this is the real world and you’ve probably got much better stuff to pay attention to, rather than sifting through minutia for the sensibilities of a varied online readership.

    In my humble opinion! On the other hand, I generally swear when I knock into the dishwasher, so perhaps our values differ more than I think 😉

    Interesting topic!

  2. Phink Says:

    During my last job interview I was asked if I speak any language besides English. I almost gave my usual response but thought a job is on the line. I better be serious. Therefore, I said “I speak Klingon if that counts.” She laughed and I got the job. My normal response is to say “Besides English I also speak Southern and Cussing.”

    It is a bad habit to break. I have cut way down in the last 25 years but still do it much more than I’d like to do. After all McPhink’s are known for two things. 1) we have horrible tempers and 2) we have no upper body strength. Therefore we are always P’d off at somebody but can’t do anything about it……except cuss under our breath.

    Lately I’ve noticed on movies and TV (Amazon and Netflix Originals) it seems everyone needs to cuss. Every character and I don’t like that. I forget the movie or show last week but it showed a person you’d think would have a clean mouth. A middle aged woman saying “I’d love to be his Godmother.” A minute later “I’d F’n love to be his Godmother.” That really turned me off. She did not seem the type and hey Hollywood; not every character needs to have bad language. Geeezzzzz. This is going to sound sexist but it’s extremely rare I ever hear a lady in my neck of the woods (NE Arkansas) use filthy language. Men; I hear it all the time. It’s like our 2nd language.

    However, I don’t mind you linking to story’s with bad language. That’s just my take. You know how I feel about politics on this blog. Sometime’s it’s necessary but please, just not that often. I’d say the same for your flipboard. It is very hard to escape politics. This place does a great job of it. This is also why it upsets me so when the NFL engages in politics. I want my sports free of that. To me, it’s as escape. We need an escape from the madness sometimes.

  3. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Context matters — I’m generally of the anything goes school, but I just finished reading a book in which it seemed the characters were always using off color language — it just seemed egregious, and didn’t add anything to the story. I was not offended or anything — just bored, annoyed?

    I would prefer that this blog not engage or link in any way to political issues — I get enough of that from a lot of other sources.

    While I can make my way in two other languages beyond English, I would bet that most of your readers would find links to stuff in foreign languages pretty useless, and not contributing anything to a discussion that most could understand. Notwithstanding all the machine translation hype out there, most MT is not adequate to handle complicated articles.

  4. Zebras Says:

    Bufo:

    These are your forums so I feel they should only have to reflect your sensibilities. But I understand that you need to craft them in a way that will retain and increase your readership.

  5. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I really don’t understand why some words are considered to be “profane” while others with the exact same meaning are not. We have a whole string of synonyms for “excrement” that are perfectly OK to use. Yet there’s one, that rhymes with spit that is considered to be profane. Why? Is it any different in any other way from the rest of the synonyms? Then why can’t we say it? Words have only the power that we ascribe to them.

    • Phink Says:

      Lady Galaxy, I’ve thought about this a lot over the years. For instance. Around 1983 at a Baptist Church camp I was playing baseball and because of my genes I was stinking up the joint when it was my turn to bat. I struck out….again…..and said “Crap!” One of the adults said in a firm voice “Son! We don’t talk like that here.” Nowadays, I doubt anyone will look down on the word crap. When I was a kid even the word “hell” was considered a cuss word. If you said “What the hell” then you had a foul mouth. At least in the south. Other regions, who knows?

      It seems to me the only reason a word is considered coarse, or bad language is because society says so. To me, it’s no more difficult than that. We live in a society of other humans and rules are dictated by the masses. We can violate those rules but depending on how important a rule Society says it is determines the punishment. Saying crap in 1983 could simply make you an outcast from the social group for instance.

  6. Jerry Zinser Says:

    I trust your taste. If you see something that you feel would interest your readers, without denigrating or causing any real harm to any subclass of readers, why just go ahead!

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