That blankety-blank Leader

Posted 9/11/19

In recent months, several cusswords have appeared in The Leader.

An F-bomb, the S-word and some of the lesser verbs and nouns by which great emphasis is added to everyday sentences.

Callers and …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

That blankety-blank Leader


In recent months, several cusswords have appeared in The Leader.

An F-bomb, the S-word and some of the lesser verbs and nouns by which great emphasis is added to everyday sentences.

Callers and friends on the street have asked if we’ve rewritten the rules and that’s a good question.

Should we act as though people don’t talk that way and leave all such language out of the paper?

Should we wink at it and say “S___” when someone uses the English version of every Frenchman’s favorite word?

Do we adopt cable television’s standards, in which cusswords flow frequently, depending on the character and the situation? Some think it coarsens the culture, but others say it’s a teaching opportunity for parents who object.

Lately we have drifted toward Mark Twain’s theory on this: “When angry count four; when very angry, swear. It’s dangerous to have to repress an emotion like that. Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”

I wouldn’t say every cussword we’ve printed has had the urgency of prayer, but certainly the sinking of Bertie fits the bill.

Let’s hear what you think as we come up with a consistent approach to reflecting reality or editing it a bit.

-Dean Miller, Editor


7 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
Justin Hale

I have no problem with soft cusswords, I often use them, I also appreciate kreative alterations of cusswords to get past the cussword filters. What I don't want to see is the Full Monty where people feel free to sling mindless epithets at people they disagree with.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Tom Camfield

I guess it was about 77 years ago when I first heard my aunt use the s-word, and she used it freely. A woman, no less! Quite shocking. But when her daughter came home from high school and used the word "screw," she gave her merry hell. However, to the day they died, I never heard either of my parents use a single swear word.

I slip now and then in conversation, but i cool it in print pretty much like Justin. I think the Leader is at a good level right now. It's moved beyond the old mechanical censor of my early blog days. I used to have to get a special censor-bypass from the webmaster to use a word such as "lesbian." There was some lingering fear, I guess, that such a word would be used in name-calling. But actually having to resort to something like l------ or g----rights would been the actual insult to someone with an alternate life style. "Gay" and "lesbian" are perfectly acceptable parts of the language, as well as society in general, in today's world.

I do think it would be ridiculous to attempt speaking with reason and logic while rolling about in the gutter screaming obscenities.. There still are some demeaning words and phrases that will never pass my lips. They generally have reference to genitalia . Some scatological references also are pretty borderline—and I don't feel the need to quote Donald Trump precisely when he refers to "s---hole" countries. He's the one with limited language skills.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Dawn mohrbacher

Well bugger me this when we have so much more to discuss. (If you don't speak proper English I just used the f word) I just read the editor saying prayer. See we aren't all prayers . Only 30% of the population is actually. So bugger off with your comment and think about real chit you can report.

Let's talk about the quality of our school system, or the lack of affordable housing? But instead we are going to focus on the f word (which my children are familiar with because I watch Gordon Ramsey)

Bet that takes a moment. If we aren't working with alztimers brains.

Thursday, September 12, 2019
Tom Camfield

Well, being something of a lexicographer, I have to observe that while the current street meaning of "bugger" as described by you may have some application, the original meaning was (and I imagine still is in informed circles): "Bugger: a person who penetrates the anus of someone during sexual intercourse."

Similar, but somewhat more exclusive than the overused plain old catch-all f-word.

Saturday, September 14, 2019
Dawn mohrbacher

Tom I know exactly what "bugger" means. I travel to England frequently.

My children have heard me say the s word and the f word (but I don't say bugger) quite frequently. If we don't assign specific and more important values to these words, they don't really matter. It's when we make a big deal out of them that they become more important.

So now I'm going to bugger off and find a glass of wine.

Monday, September 16, 2019
Jason Victor Serinus

Tom Camfield. Same-sex attraction is not "an alternate lifestyle," no more than heterosexuality is a lifestyle. It is what we who are LGB were born to be.

Monday, September 16, 2019
Tom Camfield

Hmmm. Your point is well taken if one looks upon "alternate" as inferring choice. I guess I was just a bit quick to utilize the tag much of the public has hung on any form of homosexuality these days.

However we want to define it, back in some puritanical areas of early colonial times, it was punishable by death. I found an instance documented some years ago during genealogical research. The guy had the same last name as I, but I could never quire connect him to the family tree. However, I have found a Texas slave-owner in my wife's main line . . .a cousin in my line in early years wo murdered a young black slave child down in Kentucky—and went to prison for 6 years. There also was a very distant relative of mine jailed as a witch; luckily not burned or pressed to death.

It's all part of the passing scene. Over the past 30 years, I've done six major volumes of family history back to the Dark Ages; and it's obvious to that societal attitudes and actions have slowly evolved for the better along the way. There have been major strides in pubic enlightenment, particularly in the later part of my own lifetime, but we've stubbed a toe with the present Trump administration. it doesn't help that he's trying to wipe out public education.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019