Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Gripe About A*terisks

No, this isn't a screed that's anti-asterisk per se.  I love those little suckers, especially when I want to throw something in that's not directly implicated with what I'm writing.  Anyway, they seem more charming than APA references (Breaux, 2013) or MLA ones with the names and page numbers (Thomas, 112).

No, ponders, I'm taking issue with the tawdry use of asterisks in vulgar words or profanities.  You know d***ed well know what I mean. 

No, I'm not pro-vulgar language.  That's not cool.  But Mark Twain had his own opinion on it.

My reason for objecting to the tawdry use of the inoffensive asterisk in this context is that it includes this little punctuation mark in with linguistic squalor.  And the user very coyly tries to have it both ways: by using a profane word, and not owning up to the fact that the bad word was used.  You see, using "d*mn" or "sh*t" does not hide the fact of the word's usage any more than wearing pasties and a g-string covers the fact of someone's nudity.

When should vulgar or profane words definitely be used?  When they're part of a direct quotation, period.  To do otherwise is to falsify the facts.  In short, if you don't want to include the word or words, leave the quote out!

And I need to comment on word filters on web sites.  Having part of a foul word asterisked out while still leaving the impression of what the word was is total b******t!*  Everyone knows what was really meant.  And sometimes the word filter filters out words that are not vulgar, like the University of South Carolina's sports teams.**/***

As long as I sounded off on this little ole asterisk so sorely abused, I want to gripe about on-line articles with unnecessary vulgarities in the titles. Here's one of those; don't let the link fool you:

This comes from trying to be too cool for flyover country. Is this part of the hipster syndrome?

*I am kidding, seriously.

**Well maybe it's profane in Clemson.

***Some people may also cast a lewd interpretation on the sports nickname of the other USC.  If you do, you are naughty!

Today is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans.


bakku-shan said...

Asterisks don't bother me.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

The forum that goes with the local Tee Dee (Times-Daily) does that. Yes, even with the Game****s

Kristen Drittsekkdatter said...

The safe thing is not to allude as well as use those words.

Duckbutt said...

The Huffington Post has lapses in taste sometimes.

TexWisGirl said...

wow. the huff post title did surprise me.

i will use the asterisk to 'nullify' a swear word, sometimes. i also use a$$. :)

Linda Kay said...

Angel, you never cease to amaze me with the topics you come up with. I've never given much thought to the ***, but then I don't normally use words where I'd have to "bleep" something out. The Post title is unnecessary.

Cloudia said...

"And the British kept a commin!"

Always fun to ride along these side trips with you. Always interesting

ALOHA from Honolulu

Mike said...

It was hard to figure out the asterisk comments with all the asterisks in the post.

Anonymous said...

I'll think of the USC Rubbers in the future.

Big Sky Heidi said...

Those seven words must be the most frightening words in the world!

Bilbo said...

" ... using "d*mn" or "sh*t" does not hide the fact of the word's usage any more than wearing pasties and a g-string covers the fact of someone's nudity." Boy, I wish I'd come up with that!!

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Thanks for your comments, gentle readers!