First an open apology to those of you who don’t like expletives. If this is you then scroll past and read the many other awesome posts from other wenches.
So, earlier this week the world became aware of a little app called cleanreader that will take a book and bleep the bleepity bleep out of it so those that don’t like expletives can then read them. To that, I say fuck you very much, and raise my middle finger.
Until I was, oh, about sixteen, I never swore. The closest I got was probably using bugger (only under extreme circumstances). Then delightfully my world opened up to this emotionally charged language, and all of a sudden I was freaking bilingual.
Cut to present and I still swear like a pirate on a deranged children’s show. Around my four children, you’ll often hear me yell things like fruitcake and balderdash, or flowery monkeys of the C. I mean who really wants to use the actual language around their kids. They learn enough of it at school.
But, as much as cleanreader gave me a great idea for a heroine who is giving up swearing and seeing what awesomeness I can replace those expletives with, I think the idea you can take the fuck out of a book and still have a worthwhile story is misguided. Let’s break the reasons down a little;
- If a book has swearing in it, then it usually (not always) has other more questionable material that those anti-expletive readers don’t want. Do you want us to take the sex, murder, paranormal elements out too? Maybe if we just put the end that will be enough story?
- It’s censorship. We don’t gag people for having an outspoken opinion, so don’t try to gag the way we say it. If on the other hand, people wanted to take two minutes to gag themselves I could live with that.
- There is emotion in these terrible, yet fucking useful words.
Consider this sentence.
“Who the fuck put that there?” (Surprise/disbelief)
Who fucking put that there? (Anger directed at person)
Who put that fucking thing there? (Anger at thing)
Who put that there? (You tell me.)
At any rate, i’m going to keep my expletives because anyone who doesn’t want them in their books also doesn’t want those sex-on-toast smexy scenes either. As authors, as readers, let’s enjoy our books for what they are. The word prison of someone’s heart and soul, and a great way to escape from that thing we call real life.