Swearing’s Place in Language

Over the last week, I had a debate with one of my coworkers over the nature of swearing. My coworker’s stance was squarely in the ballpark of “swearing is unintelligent and has no place in the English language”. That is not a direct quote, but it is the gist of the argument. I am on the opposing side that says profanity does have a place in language, and not just because I have a foul mouth. I think it’s important, even a little rhetorical, to note that none of this is based on fact, just opinion and what I observe, because, well… how can any of this be fact?

The first point she brought up is its overuse, and weirdly enough, I somewhat agree with her. Profanity has a place, definitely, and when used out of place it gives both the speaker and the subject the wrong image. It also gives profanity the wrong image by association. When excessively used it does have a rather distasteful effect, and in the context where it is used excessively it is commonly for the purpose of expressing an unintelligent idea. When used in excess the profanity gives the image of an unintelligent argument.

I don’t believe that profane words have an inherent unintelligent quality to them. Swear words are like any tool, it is all about context and use. This also ties in with the excessive use argument, in the sense that these two things are commonly used in conjunction to express an unintelligent idea. I am not saying that there aren’t words with connotation, there are. I just don’t think profanity falls under this supposed umbrella. A statement that possesses profanity is not inherently unintelligent because of the profanity. It’s about context; if “fuck” is used in a statement meant to convey anger, then the word will take on an identity of anger. If you use “asshole” in a non-malicious manner or tone, to refer to your friend, then it will likely be perceived as a friendly jibe.

To clarify; a word having a direct meaning and a word yielding an effect in culture are two different things. Swearing, gives a certain weight to your words. When you swear, your tone, expresses a certain level of significance; it gives a sense of severity and gravity. For example, if I were to say, “My boss was very disagreeable and agitating today,” I may get a small amount of sympathy, but the overall response would likely be “Yeah, those are bosses.” My statement may also not convey the emotion I want, or portray my boss in the egregious manner that I believe is accurate. Whereas “My boss acted like a complete asshole today,” may yield a more profound, sympathetic, and engaged response. It may also properly express the magnitude of how much of a jerk my boss was being. The overuse of profane words however robs the statement of any significance you were trying to express. Overuse also robs the profane words of any weight themselves, since they are thrown around as if they are pennies.

There’s also another practical use for swearing; one that I feel is abused a lot, but when used moderately: useful, nonetheless. Swearing creates an idea shorthand. All words are stand-ins for ideas, profanity is no exception. Instead of saying, “My boss acted rude, disrespectful, annoying, loud, unsympathetic, self-centered, and inconsiderate,” I can just simply say, “My boss was acted like an asshole.” You understand the idea, and it’s fast.

There are situations, however, where swearing as shorthand is not always acceptable; situations that require more detail and clarity. For example, if you are in a debate with a person and they begin to behave or say something that seems unethical to you; for you to say “You’re being an asshole,” is not an appropriate response given the situation and “asshole” does not offer any clarity on their inappropriateness of their behaviors. “Asshole” in this context is too ambiguous of a term to serve as commentary on one’s behavior.

The last argument my coworker brought up was the argument of swearing as immoral. Swearing has no inherent morality. It is all about the context of how the word’s use, not because of some inherent immoral attitude the words possess. I say all this because it is a flawed notion to make such a huge value judgement on a person’s intellect, and morality by the simple nature of them swearing. Swearing just needs to be used responsibly.

Review: Aerox

Aerox is a neat little puzzle platformer developed by Synoptical Studios, who have also worked… Well not much else. You play as a ball, making use of the iPads gyroscope, and your objective is to traverse the environment and reach the ending pillar of light. I would describe it as a more physics focused version of Hamster Ball.

The first notable thing about the game is its simplicity. Its aesthetic, art style, and gameplay are all incredibly simple, which allows the game to be incredibly focused on the gameplay itself.

The level design is one of the strongest aspects of the game. The designs of every level when looked at close up the levels are incredibly intricate, yet are so simple when looked at as a whole. The levels are also designed in way that it is really complex in execution. In the later parts of the game the levels tend to get incredibly layered, and varied in style and the ways in which you traverse it. There will be levels with mostly tubes to travel through, treacherous vertical platforming, and simple switch and box puzzles.

Its difficulty is the most noteworthy thing about this game. Where it lacks difficulty in the level design it’s made up for in the controls. The ball is controlled by using the IPad’s gyroscope, like most tilt games. The controls here are extremely finicky and sensitive, even the slightest of movements can send the ball careening off the stage. But the true challenge comes from balancing ball control and camera control. Whereas most ball puzzle would have the camera lock on to your back anytime you changed the direction, the camera here stays in place even when you change directions, except for when you tilt at a diagonal position, but even that is incredibly awkward and slow. This makings turning and planning your next move incredibly difficult, as you’ll be turning at one point and be unable to see what you need to do next because the camera is still facing the same direction. You can move the camera, but even the controls for that are really sensitive and often times you will feel the need to stop the ball to move it, which completely breaks the flow of the game. All this sounds like it would take away from the gameplay; quite the contrary. I actually believe it enhances it. The difficult relationship with the camera and controls forces you to really strategize your moves ahead of time, look at the map critically and try to understand the creators logic and flow plan, and makes you pace yourself which will make you better at handling the controls. It feels more like you’re controlling the ball’s momentum rather than its speed, and by the end, you acquire a real understanding of how to control it.

Currently the game is free on the Appstore and has 35 levels. Yes, the game is difficult, but it’s incredibly satisfying when you reach the end of a level. The level structures, design, and aesthetic make this a wonderful game to look at. Absolutely get this game if you can.

Short Thoughts: Two Sides to Every Trope

The role:

As an example the Mother role in stories. The role itself is open and ambiguous enough to encompass any personality or characteristics, so on and so forth.

 

The Characteristics:

The Characteristics are the real identity of the trope; it is the personality, situations that occur, similar dialogue (when we are talking about the same trope in a different work), and similar relations. When I wrote “Mother Trope,” for instance, you probably thought of: an overly strict and protective mother, who really just wants the best for her child, but actually doesn’t understand. Perhaps some other archetypal personality and set of circumstances associated with mother characters.

Short Thoughts and Not Posting A Lot

In light of me not being very active in recent times I’ve decided to take a new approach to my writing and blog. That is to say, instead of writing long expositions on topics that can be summed up in a few minutes, I’ve decided to just simply post the small ideas as they come. So here’s the first of hopefully not that many.

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Logical-Mirror (noun):

An event in which a philosophy or idea contradicts itself. For example: “There is no one absolute truth,” is a contradiction because it itself is a one and absolute truth. This term also applies to two ideas who have a form of cyclical relationship, where one philosophy confirms the other, and sometimes but not always denying itself.