Apparently, the “Netroots” crowd has some kind of historical problem managing its authors’ collective predilection for profanity. Heavy hitters in that community held a panel on the topic recently. Many of them have found that they had to drop excessive obscenity usage as they gained respect and visibility. I was interested to see how many of them admitted to enjoying using obscenities in their lives and writings. It is likely that they were taught, as I was, to avoid spoken and written vulgarity. The perception of the blog as “an ephemeral form of conversation among friends,” is probably most common on independent blogs. Blogs attached to magazines, newspapers and business or academic institutions surely take a different view, because their audiences’ sensibilities and expectations are different. Independent bloggers are also more prone to see the blog as means of rebellion against the tyranny of the “mainstream media,” and breaking its rules are a part of that culture.
I avoid using profanity here because I think profanity erodes the level of operation in open spaces, especially when dealing with “serious” matters. I do not take many political blogs seriously. (Especially those actively eschewing “political correctness,” which is usually a cover for bigoted or otherwise reprensible predispositions.) The reason is that many political blogs assume an adversarial relationship with the “mainstream media,” for reasons of ideology and emotionalism. The result is often childish, vulgar, and generally unattractive (to me). That many blogs matching that description fill their posts with dingy language does not increase my respect for their efforts or more willing to toil through their posts. Profanity is usually a very stinky patina on a bad posting. Good blogs, if they use profanity at all, use it sparingly. None of this is to say that my preference for plain vanilla prose and complex sentences is remarkably exciting or delightsome. I fully realize that my style of writing can be bland. That comes mostly from what I read, and the kind of mood I would like this blog to have.