Friends, it isn’t that I expect to use a lot of swear words in Emmett’s book (what I have in his own words does not include cursing or profanity), but if I did, it would be because I had direct quotes from Emmett using the f-word, s-word, or whatever his preferred go-to expletive.
And if you are a reader who is offended by those kinds of words, well, guess what?
There’s an app for that!
According to the article in The Washington Post, the app only obscures profane words — replacing them with little dots — because lawyers informed the developers that republishing an author’s text with changed words was a copyright violation.
Do I think Emmett cussed? Oh. Hell yeah.
In 1914, one of Emmett’s purported friends, got his knickers in a twist because he felt Emmett owed him a big favor, and did not follow through accordingly. When he didn’t get the prize he thought he deserved, said friend tore Emmett’s reputation to shreds in a front-page story of The Pensacola Journal.
This created a PR nightmare for Emmett, who I know didn’t respond with a polite, passive, “Gee. I wish he didn’t do that. Why, that just made me mad.”
No. Emmett was incensed after this episode. I don’t know what he said. I can imagine, it, though.
Emmett was no candidate for sainthood, but he was an inexperienced young lawyer doing a tough job in Washington, and if you know anything about politics, you never can please everyone 100 percent of the time. It is an exercise in futility.
He was frustrated. His colleagues occasionally called him “waspish.” I’m sure Emmett let go a few choice zingers when he was so inclined. If I find his exact words, I’ll include them as they were said. Maybe I’ll italicize them, though. Even though Emmett probably shouted the curse words, I think putting the text in ALL CAPS is just a little too much emphasis in print. 🙂
With regard to the Clean Reader app, I personally find that anytime information is hidden from me, purposely or not, it fuels me to find out what, exactly, it is that is hidden, and why would someone want it hidden. It has the opposite effect, in my view, of calming the reader: It makes the reader curious. Curious readers (like me) aren’t satisfied with cute little dots hiding the emphatic.
It isn’t just because I like profanity, or find the words titillating; I want to know what other reason someone would want to censor the words. Censorship to me is like waving a big red flag in front of a bull; me being the bull, of course.
If I thought Emmett’s real words (profane or not) were being hidden, I’d want to know why. For sure, I’d turn over every f*cking stone doing it, too.
What are your thoughts about profanity in literature? In biography? Keep it? Filter it?