Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Star has a potty-mouth.

Listen, I'm a huge fan of profanity. Huge.

I love the way it sounds, I love the way it feels, I love the way it works.

I'm just not so sure the Toronto Star needs to be in on it so much. Here's an excerpt from an article on MPs considering allowing the Auditor General to make their expenses public:

MPs can't defend the indefensible, Winnipeg Centre New Democrat Pat Martin says.

He said the public has every right to be outraged over the House of Commons' refusal to let Auditor General Sheila Fraser audit the tens of millions MPs spend every year.

"My next call is to our party office and find out how the hell we get out from under this, because we’re getting the shit kicked out of us all over the country," Martin told the Star in an interview from Winnipeg Wednesday.

So... I realize it's in a direct quote and all, and I'm all for journalists trying to stay true to the original quote; likewise, I'm all for keeping most of the profane language in movies shown on broadcast TV, assuming it's on after 9pm or so (maybe not the word "motherfucker" so much, but I'm willing to let most of the rest go).

However, there's such a thing as being professional. I don't drop f- and s-bombs in my classroom, because (a.) the kids say it enough without me throwing more on the pile, (b.) it's pretty unneccessary, and (c.) as a teacher, I have to be held to a higher standard than your average profession in regards to this sort of stuff. Sure, I might let one or two rip in a year — and it's probably not going to be the word "fuck" — but it's usually for comedic effect, and there are lots of classes I've taught where I know that sort of thing would just set them right off, so I don't do it.

Similarly, as a journalist, you have to have higher standards in your writing than, say, your average neighbourhood idiot with a blog, typing away in their underwear, eating a Costco-sized bag of pork rinds, scratching themselves in awkward places and listening to Triumph* (Hello, everyone! And ladies, I'm still single). Would it have been too awful for the quote to have said, "we're getting the [expletive] kicked out of us"? Anyone who read the article, and should know what the parenthetical word was, can probably figure it out.

I've noticed this in the Star a couple of times recently, in articles online. I'm curious to know if they appear in the print version, but our copy of the paper around the lunch table at work tends to disappear before I get there, so I probably won't find out. I hope it doesn't.
* Just kidding. I'm listening to April Wine.


JTL said...

For the record, I'm going to try to include a link to "Lay It On The Line" in every post from now until the end of time -- so you'd better get used to it. ECB, I'm looking at you.

ecb said...


I challenge your assertion that you only curse once or twice a year. I have a feeling it's more often than that :P


JTL said...

In class, I mean.