Profanity In College Essays

Profanity In College Essays-54
When he retired in 1987, his “not for us” philosophy and ban on the word “motherf**ker” went with him.For perspective, a skimming of The New Yorker recently yielded no less than a half dozen occurrences of the f­-word throughout various articles. I believe profanity cannot be simply relegated to intensifier or sensationalism.

When he retired in 1987, his “not for us” philosophy and ban on the word “motherf**ker” went with him.For perspective, a skimming of The New Yorker recently yielded no less than a half dozen occurrences of the f­-word throughout various articles. I believe profanity cannot be simply relegated to intensifier or sensationalism.

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Curses were rationed and uttered under the breath to avoid detection and punishment.

My friends and I managed to dodge teachers’ well-tuned ears by inserting “f**k off” into coughs.

I tell this story because I believe it to be a common one.

We all encounter four-letter words sooner or later, and a great many teens probably consider them a part of their regular vocabulary.

Blotting out undesirable words with asterisks is the editor’s way of sticking fingers in his or her ears, poking out his or her tongue, and singing with an awful, unmelodic whine “La-la-la I can’t hear you.” I don’t like that image of a Teen Ink editor, so let’s talk about this.

I recently submitted a (in the interest of full disclosure: rather half-baked) personal essay, and when I received an e-mail that it had been published online, I found that the text was nearly verbatim, save for three asterisks after an f, where “uck” should have been. And, as is the usual trend, publications have dragged their feet and kicked in opposition to change. In the absence of all salaciousness or exasperation, f**k. Not f**k the system, the Man, or even the “po-lice.” With no degree of enmity or unjustifiable rage, f**k.Given all possible sincerity and civility I can offer this publication, f**k. I understand the rationale of an organization attempting to maintain some vestige of wholesomeness amidst a generation of unprecedented challenges to what’s considered appropriate.But I would like to call a simple fact to the editors’ attention: the barring profanity ship has already sailed. My memory of elementary school is far too blotchy for me to speak of those halcyon years here, but I would say that, as early as middle school, colorful words including b**ch, t*ts, and a** (all previously known but considered the greatest taboos) began to invade my vocabulary.We don’t want readers to have a “censor” impression of us at Teen Ink either.In the instances where we censor certain 4-letter words, it’s not so much a “not for us” philosophy we follow, but a “not for schools” one.It is a part of the way people speak today – tied as much to friendly (if sometimes off-color) jokes and good company as to the thrill of impropriety or desire to ride “the edge.” Adults, teens, young kids – the pencil-line between who can cuss and who can’t is being increasingly smudged by thick fingers.Limiting profanity to “protect” the young, impressionable minds of the Teen Ink audience is futile.I'm just about to submit a piece, but it has profanity and I'm not sure if I should change it for submission.So I was seeing if Teen Ink has policies on profanity, and lo and behold I find this!

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