Drawing lines in the use of "*" words

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rsutc
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Drawing lines in the use of "*" words

Postby rsutc » 2003 08 28 1533

Someone asked about this on the EPIC Social group

Words are a writer's stock in trade, our means of communicating ideas. As with all tools, their lexis and syntax are morally neutral. Not so their semantics, for language perforce reflects epistemology. Do not therefore lament a change in the form mere scribbles on parchment take; rather sorrow for the ending of polite social discourse, for it was a last vestige of morality, an ebeneezer to a time when right and wrong mattered.

With our ruling social paradigm having passed from vague but rootless leftover post-Christian decency to a hedonistic lazy-liberal decadence, tolerating everything and questioning nothing, why should we suppose moral (and therefore language) lines will be drawn anywhere? Purporting to "tolerate" all values as equal is a euphemism for saying there is no such thing. Western moral ideas, social mores and law were once grounded in God's word, but today have no foundation other than amorphous, drifting consensus, and are therefore merely arbitrary rather than absolute. The problem with arbitrary standards is that the strongest arbiter (or most successful demagogue) eventually dictates and enforces the rules--often as a new tyranny, in which freedom of speech vanishes.

If this accurately describes who and where we are, our civilization has already perished, and we, insensate to its passing until belatedly awakening to the verbal immodesty of a zombie, can be little but pallbearers. We will yet reap a whirlwind from such a death--not because language changed, but because it always reveals our true nature.
Rick Sutcliffe
Non-fiction, Christian SF, and columns
http://www.arjaybooks.com

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Nixus
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Re: Drawing lines in the use of "*" words

Postby Nixus » 2005 03 20 2116

rsutc wrote:Someone asked about this on the EPIC Social group

Words are a writer's stock in trade, our means of communicating ideas. As with all tools, their lexis and syntax are morally neutral. Not so their semantics, for language perforce reflects epistemology. Do not therefore lament a change in the form mere scribbles on parchment take; rather sorrow for the ending of polite social discourse, for it was a last vestige of morality, an ebeneezer to a time when right and wrong mattered.

With our ruling social paradigm having passed from vague but rootless leftover post-Christian decency to a hedonistic lazy-liberal decadence, tolerating everything and questioning nothing, why should we suppose moral (and therefore language) lines will be drawn anywhere? Purporting to "tolerate" all values as equal is a euphemism for saying there is no such thing. Western moral ideas, social mores and law were once grounded in God's word, but today have no foundation other than amorphous, drifting consensus, and are therefore merely arbitrary rather than absolute. The problem with arbitrary standards is that the strongest arbiter (or most successful demagogue) eventually dictates and enforces the rules--often as a new tyranny, in which freedom of speech vanishes.

If this accurately describes who and where we are, our civilization has already perished, and we, insensate to its passing until belatedly awakening to the verbal immodesty of a zombie, can be little but pallbearers. We will yet reap a whirlwind from such a death--not because language changed, but because it always reveals our true nature.


I have a bit of a hard time following this article, are you saying in conclusion that its okay that authors use "*" words but if they do they are showing their true nature (being one of evil and sin?). Or are you saying that they should not ever use such words because there are other better words to use and if they did use such words it would reflect poorly on the author? Or are you saying that is okay to use "*" words as long as the author is reflecting the environment (society), which they write about accurately? Or I have I totally missed the point?

rsutc
Posts: 185
Joined: 2003 07 22 1023
Location: Bradner BC
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Postby rsutc » 2005 03 21 0627

What I am saying is that the use of what was once regarded as gutter language for "shock" or "schlock" value is reflective of much deeper problems. I don't think a Christian writer ought to write so, or to purchase and read material containing it. However, to attempt to impose that view on others is a waste of time because they are writing out of what is in their hearts. If you want to see change in the writing, hearts need to change first. Part of my point is simply "why is anyone surprised"? For that matter, why was anyone surprised at 911? Are these things "all right"? No, they're not. Can I force another to see that or behave so? No. The needs to change them first.

Rick
Rick Sutcliffe

Non-fiction, Christian SF, and columns

http://www.arjaybooks.com


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