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June 15, 2007



I still like eff, though Bob really hates it. I think that might make me like it more. Like tote, perf, and the combo, tote perf, I suspect that one of these days, Bob will embrace eff.

Cousin Mary

One of the things I've liked about your blog, Kate, was that I didn't have to duck the F-bomb. I'm disappointed in your declaration today, and will miss reading your posts. There is a lot of coarseness and laziness of expression to be found. Forcing oneself to avoid profanity can lead to another level of articulateness. Maybe give it a thought?


I agree-- profanity is beneath you, Kate. You are too smart a person to resort to profanity when, with just a little more effort, you could use irony, snarkiness, other forms of hateful slang, profanity in other, more arcane languages, physical violence, idle threats, spam, or just a straight up dis.


Hmm. This is very interesting. I seem to have a genuine objection from one of my most loyal (and helpful) readers.

Dear Cousin Mary,

First of all, with the exception of this post (which is admittedly cringe worthy in its profanity), I don't really anticipate using the F-word all that often. In fact, I might never use it again. I am genuinely sorry if I offended you. My initial reaction to reading your comment was to get all fretful, and I considered reversing my decision and removing this post. I certainly don't want to offend or upset anyone.


The entire point of my decision to allow the F-word is that I feel to purposefully omit it is somewhat unnatural. This is my blog after all, and I DO use the F-word from time to time. That is just a fact. I am what I am, and to me, the F-word is just not that big a crime. I see your point that avoiding profanity may force me to be more creative, but I can't actually draw a line between "clean" language and being more articulate. I think the F-word (when used sparingly) is pretty darn articulate.

I also feel strongly that it is just a word, a harmless word. We all draw our own lines when it comes to profanity. I believe I have already used pretty much all of the "lesser" swear words at some point in this blog. You might be surprised to learn that the original version of this post contained some words decidedly more gruesome than the F-word. To me, pretty much all swear words (short of the The Big Racist One) are by their very nature, sort of funny. I like the swear words, and I find it fascinating that while I personally don't take offense to swearing, I hesitate to use certain words on my own blog.

I know it might sound silly, but I really love this blog. I have worked hard on this blog. I have also worried that this blog is the ultimate surface-y representation of myself. I fret that blogging (and online interaction in general) is just another way attempt to manipulate how I am perceived by others. I believe there is a lot of value in the spot right where it starts to feel uncomfortable to reveal myself. I am quite aware that I crossed a line into decidedly unattractive behavior today. Well, guess what? I do that nearly everyday. Nearly every single day I do something that I question, and that makes me cringe a little bit later. I guess I'm just trying to say that I know I crossed the line. I did it willingly. I fully acknowledge that the urge to write this post does not represent my cutest side. I guess, for whatever reason, I wanted to show my ugly side today.

You seem to suggest that the F-bomb is a deal breaker for you Cousin Mary. I will of course respect your choice to stop reading Oh For Fun, but I ask you, in this case, to reconsider your position. I will give this matter some more thought because I would hate very much to lose you as a reader. I have really enjoyed your comments, and I absolutely love feeling connected to you and the rest of the family through my blog. I can definitely assure you that just because I have lifted the outright ban on the F-word, my blog is not going to suddenly turn into a Chris Rock routine. Things will probably look pretty much the same around here, it's just that now, instead of tiptoeing around a particular word, when the time feels right, I'm just going to say exactly what I mean.

With love and respect,
Cousin Kate


Congratulations! You've just outed yourself as a pottymouth. You choice to do it so unabashedly and blatantly may have offended the Cousin Marys of the world, but it is definitely your right to let your blue self shine through. Now that you're out, you have a choice. Will you sprinkle colorful language into every other sentence because it's your right? Or will you just write the way you've always written: beautifully, intelligently, with great humor and insight, but now expanding your language to reflect the way you talk everyday?


I hope you find the place for both. "Eff this" means something completely different than "fuck that." Methinks your blog can only improve with the possibilities inherent in an expanded vocabulary.

And Cousin Mary, please don't leave -- I haven't chimed in with my own comments of a grammatical nature yet, but I love yours!

(PS Don't forget about "frak")


Oh my God, thanks Matt. What you just said is SO the version I wish I had gone with! Why didn't I just slip the F-word in? (sentence ends in preposition) Why did I need to make a big federal case out of it? (Sentence ends in preposition)

Sometimes I make big federal cases out of things. It's just my way.


And once again, we're back to the Andy Rooney soul takeover. I'm becoming concerned...


Seriously Sam, no more calling me Andy Rooney. I can't take it. I'm clearly frazzled and grumpy as it is. :)


I sometimes think this is why we have blogs -- to make a big federal case about something whenever we need to, and then have all our friends chime in about it. So no regrets -- this is actually good blogorific fun!

Oh, and "it" isn't a preposition -- it's the prepositional object of the word "of" in second question above. It's tot way maj fine.


Whaaa? Prepositional object?

Hey, eff you, buddy.

Stupendous Woman

Funny you should mention that... I've been trying to refrain from using that word as well on my blog -- but I still don't know why. Other people use it and it doesn't shock me. I applaud your decision!

Cousin Mary

Kate, I really take to heart what you ask and will reconsider my position, which obviously was not a full stop on reading, or I wouldd have missed your eloquent response. (And thanks to Matt for the kind words as well. I love having this forum for spreading the joy of good grammar.)

Here's how it is: It physically hurts me (in a metaphysical way) when I hear someone say 'nucular.' Even worse with the typical swear words. When I encounter profanity I have to put up a shield. I used to speak quite profanely until my son, who was 12 at the time, told me it really bothered him. It was hard to quit but I did. So the shield thing is partly to keep from using those words in my own head, from where they can slip out of the mouth. (If you're wondering how I get through the day, not to worry. Most people around me don't swear, or it doesn't penetrate.) The thing is, when I read your blog, Kate, my heart is open because I love the way you observe yourself and the world around you and then write so well about it all. So, it does penetrate.

Anyway, your courage in opening up on this blog (which I don't know if I could do, or I might start a blog, but what if it were boring?) gives us all such a great opportunity to comment, chime in, grouse, contribute, stop me...


Swearing in writing is a horse of a different color. I rather enjoyed your "eff this" category.

Penn and Teller have a tv series called BS which I really like, but the swearing is annoying and numbs my brain after a while. They actually have an episode all about how ridiculous it is that certain words become forbidden. They are swearword evangelists, working hard to get the point across at every opportunity.

I find it ironic that they are so passionately argumentative about freeing parts of language from the stigma of deeper meaning, and yet they feel those very words are their best messengers. Logical or not, that's where we find ourselves as expressive beings.

I'm with your well-spoken cousin (must run in the fam?). It effects me, but I really like to read anyway.




Hoo-ray! It appears I have not been disowned (yet) by Cousin Mary! :)

Thank you to everyone who chimed in on this post. The funny thing about this whole debacle is that I probably would have taken this post down on my own accord had it not sparked such a lively debate. Over the life of Oh For Fun I have removed several posts, most often because I decided they were too personal, or too offensive. This post is both offensive, and (even worse in my opinion) not funny. Although I might have gone about it differently if had I to do it again, the ban on the F-word is still lifted. I feel strongly about this; I don't really know why. One thing I know for sure is that I don't want to be hurtful with this blog, so please, if someday (in the very distant, vague, far away future) I get all absurdly profane again, just try to roll your eyes and remind yourself that sometimes Kate can be a little batty.

I stand by this post, but like many, many things about myself, it makes me cringe.


Wow. I love this whole discussion!

I am another rare user of the eff word, (on the blog at least) but when I do, man it is for a effing good reason. Like when I used it several times in one post last week.

Sometimes, you just gotta do whatcha gotta do.

One of the biggest compliments I have received as a blogger by family, friends and people in the blog world who I have later met in real life...is that my blog voice, is exactly who I am in real life. And for me? That's what I strive for.

Be true to whoever you are and the readers will read.


Hey, in the words of Reggie Dunlop, "Aw, fuck it."

I've been taken to task on my own blog for using the F-bomb. But considering the filth you can find on the Web, speaking like the grown-ups we are shouldn't be so shocking, eh?

Go Sabres! Fuck yeah!

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