It was a total surprise today to discover a short article I wrote in print in a magazine that I occasionally get. It’s non-fiction, but I submitted it months ago and was told they wanted to use it. However it missed issue after issue, so I stopped looking out for it. Imagine my surprise when leafing through a copy of the magazine at lunchtime and finding that piece staring back at me! It was only a few days away from the next issue of the magazine being out, so I could have easily missed it completely.
I was talking with some-one the other day about swearing in print. I realised as we talk that it is something I have very fixed personal standards on. I don’t think I have ever used the f-word in anything I have written and published. In this day and age when moral standards are on the decline, I still think that the f-word has no place in most things on the screen and in print. It is a vulgar word that often adds nothing but unjustifiable offence. Of course, sometimes it is acceptable in context. I never felt that the film Trainspotting or Lock stock and two smoking barrells ovwerstepped any mark. Their use of the word seemed somehow justified, but often in print and on screen the word isn’t at all.
I do use other swear words such as ‘shit’ and ‘piss’ but then again, I swear in real life too – there is no halo over my head, I can tell you! I don’t think anyone reading any of my stuff would wrinkle their brow and think: “This doesn’t seem right: the f-word hasn’t been used.” Charectors don’t have to be chavvy and vulgar for the story to work. All too often, frequent use of the f-word – especially on screen – seems to stem from an abscence of real plot and scriptwriting skill.
I see that the Mary Whitehouse wannabes are back jumping on the bandwagon. Now, I felt that Brand and Ross certainly overstepped the mark and were specifically offensive against two real people in a way that could never be justified. But Jeremy Clarkson wasn’t, and it annoys me this breed of imbeciles who sit by the television waiting to be offended just so they can complain. We’ll call them the ‘Complaint Nazis’ from now on. It smacks of having a complete sad and somewhat bullying outlook on life. They decide to get offended over nothing so decide they must foist their lack of taste upon everyone else. I’m sure Clarkson will shrug these fools off. I actually did watch Top Gear, and really cannot see what all the fuss is about.