Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Self Censorship Fun!

Lots of writing this week, it's almost unbelieveable. So I'll just keep this short and sweet.

The subject of swearing came up recently, last weekend in fact. For most of us, we swear inadverdently, without conscious thought. As such, it can be difficult sometimes to control ourselves when we are with formal or younger company.

Myself, I've always had this bad habit. I think it originated with my father, who favours the word 'shit', and the behaviour was reinforced by the usual media: TV, movies, books, peers, video games, etc.

I first got into quote/unquote "serious" (super emphasis ftw!) trouble for swearing in high school. During the Grade 8 walk-a-thon, my shoe got stuck in the mud and I almost tripped. Without thinking, I slipped a 'shit' in front of an elementary school teacher, who promptly reprimanded me. I ended up writing an essay for her; but, in actuality, I wrote a semi-speech about how swear words are simply words without social weight on them. Not that fancy worded, mind you, but something to that effect.

However, while the argument stands true to this day, the opposite is also true. We really do not need special words to help us express ourselves better and, in fact, due to social conditioning, swear words can sometimes do us a disservice. Instead of being taken seriously, the words distract people from the message.

Nowadays, I try to avoid swearing in all instances. Instead, I have fun with my expletives. I try trading 'schnauzer' for 'shit' and I find more satisfaction in saying it. As well, dragging on the word 'fudge' and emphasizing the annuciation of the 'dg' at the end is equally entertaining. Lastly, another fun self censorship practice I enjoy is replacing 'shit' with 'ship' in cases where it confounds or even improves the connotation (for example: I have a ship load of work to do).

While jumbling up words still distract meaning from a sentence, I only do so in jest and, thus, it doesn't really matter if anyone takes me seriously. What it does do, however, is chisel away at any unconscious habit to swear and, hopefully, it will ultimately improve my day to day oration.

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