Are You Offended by the "F" Word?

Lee Falin just posted a blog entry that’s sure to stir up some controversy. He’s suggesting that we can communicate better with out the use of swear words and offensive language.

I agree and I support Lee’s position 100 percent. For me, this is a no-brainer. I am forced to dig deeper and stretch my vocabulary if I avoid the easy road of cursing to get a reaction. The analogy I like to use is that eating fast food is very similar to cursing. The more often we consume fast foods, the faster our health will degrade. Our palate becomes numb to fresh, healthy foods and we desire the fatty, salty menus instead. We even find ways to defend eating fast foods: “I don’t have time for healthy meals.”

I make no excuses: I eat at fast food places often because I’m lazy about making lunches and I don’t schedule time to take better care of my body. It’s a constant battle for me to eat healthier because I’ve damaged my own palate from constant abuse of tacos, burgers, and fries. Now I’m paying for it with tight jeans and more frequent health issues.

Language is the same. We can choose to take shortcuts with offensive language or we can work a little harder and find a richer vocabulary to express our emotions. The more we swear as a writing technique, the less we’ll work to find alternatives. Cursing numbs our brains and encourages greater sloth.

This is not why I’m writing this entry though. I’m more concerned about the first comment to Lee’s post. Jonathan Wight says:

While I can kind of appreciate your motive, you really lost what little sympathy I had as soon as you dismissed the argument by referring to your “higher power”. Personally I find discussion of personal beliefs and opinions in technical blogs annoying and often (as in this case) offensive.

So the “faith” word is offensive in a tech blog? You can talk about your personal motivation for writing software or creating a micro-ISV as long as you don’t bring religion into the blog? That’s a disturbing stance.

The only thing that keeps me focused on creating better software is my faith. I would never have been able to leave my well-paid, salaried position and head out on my own without prayer and the support of my friends at my church. This is not truly a “technical” blog like the others Lee points out, but it is a blog about what motivates my development of Mac software and the goals of my venture.

We’re in serious trouble if we offended by a quote from the Bible more than a blog peppered with f-bombs. I promise, you don’t have to convert to my religion just because I talk about it any more than I would feel the need to switch to your brand of energy drink or style of music that fuels your development efforts.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to force myself to eat some fresh fruit.

Peace.

6 thoughts on “Are You Offended by the "F" Word?

  1. schwa

    Kevin,

    I read tech blogs because of my interest in technology. I am not interested in the blogger’s politics, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, miniature poodle collection or anything else unrelated to the technology. Of course there will always be exceptions and some overlap and that’s fine. But when it gets to be too much and dilute the actual content of the blog then I’ll unsubscribe. Click.

    You overstate this with “We’re in serious trouble if we offended by a quote from the Bible more than a blog peppered with f-bombs”. We’re not in trouble. The only thing that may be in trouble is the subscription count of your blog.

    However Lee specifically invited my reaction by including my blog in the list of blogs he was extending an invite to. I felt that the “my god says don’t curse!” part of his original posting to be both patronising and offensive. Lee’s beliefs have nothing to do with me. It’s as simple as that. I do not subscribe to his (or your) beliefs and am offended by the attempt (as innocent as it may be) to impose those beliefs upon me.

    Jon.

  2. Kevin Hoctor

    Jon,

    I’m not overstating this issue. You were not offended by Lee quoting George Washington, but you were by his biblical quotes. If he were to have quoted a well-known psychologist, I’m sure you wouldn’t have commented either.

    The fact is that we allow people to put offensive material in their blogs and rarely, if ever, have I seen a complaint in the comments yet the minute something religious appears people get offended.

    It concerns me greatly that faith discussions are so taboo and everything else is not. It’s a dangerous road we are heading down when we say that faith is offensive.

    I’m also not concerned by by subscription count. This blog is about my business venture and my world around it. If people enjoy what I write, they’ll read it. I pray that this blog is entertaining and helpful in some small way. If making that statement offends some people then I guess they won’t continue to subscribe. Peace.

  3. schwa

    I hope you can see the difference between Lee’s quotation of Washington and his quoting of the bible. Note the use of language Lee used: “To me none of this debate is relevant because the issue was settled long ago by a higher power:”

    “None of this debate is relevant”.

    Taking that on face value I read it to mean “None of what you have to say is important.” This dismissive attitude is offensive to me. Did Lee frame George Washington’s quote in the same way? No, of course not. And if he had I’m sure people would have been dismissive of the statement. Why is this acceptable when talking about your so called “higher power”?

    Can you even see why I can find this offensive? Of course giving Lee the benefit of the doubt, maybe it was just a poor choice of words, sure that’s possible and fine. But somehow I have a feeling he would stand by his words.

    The bible quotes are irrelevant to me because I do not share Lee’s beliefs. If Lee’s higher power had been his next door neighbour and he quoted her concerning profanity it would have been just as irrelevant to me.

    Out of curiosity why did you feel the need to create a stand-alone blog post about this? Would not a comment in Lee’s original blog have sufficed?

    Jon.

  4. Kevin Hoctor

    Jon,

    I wasn’t trying to gang up on you, but I was planning a blog entry similar to this anyway when Lee’s entry appeared with your comment.

    I can see your point, but I also think that the word “offended” is too extreme in this case. Lee wasn’t debating directly with you so you didn’t need to comment that you were offended.

    My concern is that people should be allowed to express religious views without offending anyone. We need to support each other’s beliefs even if they are not our own. Peace.

  5. Gary G.

    I get offended when other people get offended by faith. Can things get more upside down? Love is treated as hate and hate is treated as love. You can talk about anything and I mean anything, just as long as you don’t mention the most important subject for the human race.

    I think the reason people get “offended” when they hear anything about a “higher power” is whether consciously or subconsciously they have a buried fear of having to answer for their actions after their last breath. It’s far more convenient (at least it seems so to many) to adapt a world view of relative truth, where one is free to twist and bend things till their version of “truth” fits them most comfortably.

    Jon, are you really offended because you feel someone is imposing their belief on you or are you really offended because you’re challenged by a notion of an absolute right and wrong, morality that’s defined for you by a higher power? Dig deep and be honest with yourself, you might be surprised.

    Gary G.

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