The original title for this blog post was going to be Shit Just Got Real, but I still feel uncomfortable using profanity in a professional context. You will see the apparent juxtaposition when you read my books because, let’s just say, the dialogue isn’t always such that you would choose to read aloud to your children.
I’ve already mentioned in a previous post that I have no intention of my wider family ever accessing my books, hence the use of a pen name, but perhaps now is the time to address my views on swearing, sex, drugs and so forth in media. Therefore, I shall not write my original article which was meant to be about my first book finally being able to pre-order and somewhat make the title to this blog meaningless, except in the context for having me confront my own inherent conservatism.
So swearing then. It’s not big and it’s not clever is it? Well, it is a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming that swearing, per se, is funny; much less somehow cool. But think of those times when it has been funny. Usually it is either because it is so uncharacteristic for that person or it really serves to emphasise the magnificence of what they are otherwise saying.
That’s the point and also the problem of swearing. It’s the ultimate in punctuation, designed to add real depth of meaning but like any punctuation, overuse only serves to limit its effectiveness!!!! (a little exclamation mark joke there). You see I like the F-word. I like it so much that I rarely use it in conversation. I reserve it for when it has the most impact, for that’s its purpose and every time I hear someone scatter it throughout their sentences with abandon I wince; not just at their lack of a vocabulary, but at their unconscious erosion of its power.
As a kid growing up in the ‘80s and early ‘90s you couldn’t even watch a film on television after the watershed without its stronger swear words being dubbed out. Whilst I agreed with my friends’ derision at the way Bruce Willis’ super-cool delivery of Yippee Ki Yay Mutherfucker in Die Hard, just as he was about to off the baddie, had somehow become Yippee Ki Yay Kimosabe (whatever the fuck hell that meant), I also saw it as serving to keep the F-word pure.
Sadly it’s constant overexposure since those days has caused it to lose its potency. But that’s why the C-bomb is so good. To my mind it is the last remaining taboo word and despite it popping up more frequently in popular shows like Game of Thrones ,we need not to allow it to go the way of other swear words. We must use it very sparingly so it retains its power to shock because if swearing isn’t shocking then it isn’t swearing i.e. offensive language.
And so to my books. You will find swearing in it and I make no apology for that because, just like it was inauthentic to expect Bruce Willis to call the man who had caused him so many problems in the towerblock in Die Hard a Kimosabe rather than the Mutherfucker he was, so too would be having the serial killer in my Gamekeeper Turned Poacher series going round saying Gosh darn it, you got me there Detective, you sly old dog and some suchlike.
I just want you to know that whenever I type a swear word it is only after consideration of its appropriateness in the context of what is happening.
Or at least that’s how I try and justify It to myself.
I’m sorry I never did get onto the sex and drugs bit…