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6/15/2017: On Vulgarity

· 2 min read
Patrick Pace

(08/30/2023: I never published this.)

Thank you, southern-conservative-moralistic-Judeo-Christian-legalism for making me feel guilty for cussing.

Vulgarity can make stories more realistic. A good example is this–

His characters cuss a lot (from my traditional standards), and if they didn't, the story and the characters would be completely different. For one thing, they sound like real people. Real people sound like that. And because of this particular characterization, the POV character comes of as a particular flavor of person.

The same goes with all kinds of vulgarity. It’s part of real life. And if a character would be any other way (than what you want him to be) with that vulgar element, include the vulgar element.

For instance, the POV character and the guys he knew in the joint giving "a fuck" about Timberlands—that says so much. 3/6/2018: And you can’t believe how much trouble I have posting it here.

The only thing—vulgarity will direct what audience you have. Kids, the same tradition from which you come, Portlanders—all cultures will respond differently to what you include. Be mindful of that. The same author uses special characters for the same words in another article he wrote.

Another thought—the shoe salesman doesn’t cuss at all. And that’s also realistic, given that he is an educated former professor.