Bloggers Not Swearing So Bleeping Much
NYT Katharine Seelye reports on a panel on bloggers and swearing at Netroots Nation (the successor to YearlyKos) and finds that the trend is toward less of it and that most of what remains is coming from Amanda Marcotte.
Digby Parton, who writes on Hullabaloo.com, said she initially thought of her blog as an ephemeral form of conversation among friends and used vulgarities freely. But now she is read by a substantially wider circle and has cleaned up her language. “I don’t use the same amount of profanity,” she said. “We’re taken much more seriously as a political force,” and she has a stronger sense that her words are “out there for posterity.”
Kevin Drum, who writes the more proper Political Animal blog for the Washington Monthly, said he tones it down “because my mother reads my blog.” “I used to swear a lot,” he said. “I like swearing, and I love reading people who do it well.” But he said he discovered that “a lot of people really don’t like it and I shut it down,” both in his personal life and his writing life.
Next on the panel was Duncan Black, aka Atrios of the blog Eschaton and a fellow at Media Matters, who questioned why certain words were perceived as bad when they were describing policies that were truly horrific. “I’ve toned it down a little bit over the years,” he said, but he added that if he wants to use a certain word, he does.
Amanda Marcotte, who writes on pandagon.net and had been the blogmaster for John Edwards’s presidential campaign until some of her outside writings were deemed anti-Catholic, described her stance on the matter this way: “I curse and I’m vulgar and I make really, really dirty jokes.” She said she uses obscenities to entertain people and “to show hypocrisy and the ridiculousness of society.”
Digby said she was not comfortable criticizing people about their appearance. Ms. Marcotte said she tried to see how vulgar she could be “without crossing the line into being sexist.” She added: “My vulgarity stands out because people can’t believe a young woman is saying these things.”
I’m pretty much in line with Kevin on this one and for the same reasons.