The most stationary of all stationery items, scissors hate to be hurried. I learned this as a child. You did too, probably. Don't run with scissors. A clear and simple instruction. Pencils, glue, staples... no problem. For them, like us, it's a finite existence. Time is short so don't dilly dally. But don't run with scissors.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

bonfire of the profanities

Swearing. It’s not big, it’s not clever, and it’s not funny. That’s what I was always told anyway.

Plainly two out of three of those are open to debate. We’ve all heard people use uncouth language in ways that were both clever and funny. In some cases, hilariously funny.

By and large though those occasions have probably involved listening to a friend regaling a group of mates with a funny story, or maybe while watching a stand-up comedian deliver their set.

It’s rare (although it can happen) that a complete stranger swearing in public will be anything like as funny.  Often it can be embarrassing.  And if there are small children or seniors within earshot it can be very uncomfortable.

We all know this. It’s not news. And while you’re welcome to disagree with me I’m most likely going to dismiss you as some sort of gauche moron. But that’s as much to do with me as it is with you.

Anyway... back to swearing, everything’s different online though, isn’t it?

No, not really.

Maybe it’s because my first encounter with the internet was 20 years ago that for me the distinctions between the virtual and 3D worlds are more subtle.

Maybe not. Frankly I don’t care. Let’s face it, neither do you.

Most of the people I’ve encountered on twitter over the last couple of years are unlikely to be the kind of person to start dropping the f-bomb should they be invited around to someone’s house for dinner, let’s say.

So why is it, I sometimes wonder, so many people (and more often than not it’s blokes) think it’s ok to swear online in a manner that is not attempting to be either clever or funny?  What’s their motivation?

I can only assume they are trying to look big.

They end up though looking immature, sounding offensive and losing credibility in front of people who can only form opinions of them based on what they see on screen.

So, next time you feel like telling your 450 followers that all the people in the supermarket checkout queue you're standing in are c-words, remember we’re all nodding in the kind of agreement you perhaps weren’t banking on.


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Michael Sutherland said...

Twitter's open to all, innit, so the peeps online are exactly the same as in real life. Just as likely to be sweary, emotional and ... well, normal!