As articles get more relaxed and conversational in tone (except this prude’s terrible one), many writers lean more on casual speech. This translates to swear words as replacements for actually fitting adjectives.
I’m not out to make everyone remove swearing from the internet, that’s like taking urine out of a pool. However, there’s no excuse to exclude the f****** stars any time you’re compelled to swear.
Censor stars work for traditional news articles when using an explicit quote from a source, the same way TV news bleeps out the vowels and blurs an interviewee’s mouth, which, if no one’s been seriously hurt, usually makes the interview funnier.
Stars also don’t remove anything important you’re trying to say. People who do know what you’re saying will already know what it means. People who don’t know won’t have to discover it from a s***** article. Like the following, from Polygon’s review for Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2.
“When it comes to controls, responsiveness, weapon handling and team mechanics, Popcap is not f****** around,” Arthur Gies writes in the 2016 article.
I put the stars, since it still gets the same point across and it’d defeat my point if I excluded them. Also because I’d get fired otherwise.
One can argue using these stars comes across clunky when reading. This is true for some, but I promise my writing is clunky regardless. The alternative to this is to not swear at all.
Gies attempts to emphasize his point with swearing. But, it’s still unnecessary for a kids game about corn stalks fighting zombies, since there is always a better way to say what you mean than falling back on f***.
In writing, it makes you sound like you don’t know other words, as if you don’t have the vocabulary to actually express your thoughts outright. It’s the same reason people getting frustrated at Apex Legends sound like idiots for cussing out their teammates. Looking at you, xX_Wraithslayerr420_Xx.
Like if I talk s*** about dumb s***, what makes you give a s*** enough to read the f****** thing?
You know what I mean, but why would anyone prefer that over saying: No one cares why I dislike Red Dead Redemption 2’s open world, so why did anyone choose to read it?
What’s lost in translation? The word “f******” used as an adjective always boils down to “very really,” which is also not very really descriptive, either. “F***” used as a verb in various conjugations has five meanings I can think of immediately – to have sex, to goof off, to be ruined, to be damaged or to insult.
Using f*** instead of more descriptive or clear words to explain your point devolves language. English is a pretty f***** up convoluted language as is, but using swear words as replacements for any thing else makes your article weaker and less specific.
Swearing doesn’t need censoring everywhere. It’s an effective way to give a raw scene, play up comedy or explain severity in fiction or entertainment.
Most all of my fiction writing has characters which swear, too. It disappoints my mom every time she reads what my tuition is paying for.
Movies, games, music, books, these all have regulations so someone knows the content they’re getting in to. For articles, there’s almost never a threshold, and if someone doesn’t know what you mean when you swear, your point probably won’t make sense at all.
Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of The Daily Egyptian, its staff or its associates.
You’re Dumb and Wrong is a weekly column about video games, movies and popular entertainment from Arts & Entertainment editor Jeremy Brown. He can be reached at [email protected]
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