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Penn & Teller use of Profanity

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Hello All,

Penn & Teller on their show @#*&! defend their use of using profanity.

You can see it on youtube by typing Penn & Teller Profanity.

I do not put the clip here because I do not want to offend someone.

I think their argument is objective but it could very well be subjective since they do seem to be rational skeptics.

On this form I would *never* use profanity becuase it would make me look stupid. And yes *I do know* it is against forum rules. In the past I have never really used it much in conversation but I do sometimes for effect.

What are your thoughts? Is using profanity for effect an objective value. Are Penn & Teller right?

Would be interesting to see what you have to say.



Edited by Superman123
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A remark I employ with some people who use relative frequent profanity in my presence is in essence:

It's a shame that with the plethera of adjectives and adverbs available, you've only seemed to accumulate the one or two in your lifetime.

Edited by dream_weaver
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I have always found a large degree of amusement when people get offended over profanity.

I do try to be respectful of other peoples desire to hear a minimal amount of profanity and maintain a degree of mutual respect.

On the flip side, I eventually get to a point where I'll tell people to get over it if I slip up once and they freak out over it.

The truth of profane words is that even if we got rid of all of them, new ones would just take their place.. Or words that aren't profane now, would suddenly have a whole new totally negative connotation. I find it a bit annoying that people freak out over profanity the way though do however.

Then again, I'm the kind of person who thinks if you want to insult a person, the truth is far more insulting than any use of profanity I've ever heard..

Edited by Snow_Fox
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I consider the use of purposefully meaningless words to be anti-objective.

That's clearly two different uses of 'expletive.' Profane words are not meaningless; if they were, what could possibly be profane about them?

Profanity has a time and a place, like all language.

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The forum rules prohibite "profane" content, which means "to treat (something sacred) with abuse, irreverence, or contempt. They do not prohibit profanity. I would futher say "we are not children here," but I do not accept the premise that secrets (or concepts) should be kept hidden from children either.

So I will say that I believe in effective communitication, whatever that entails. If your communication is full of fallacies, emotional appeals, dishonesty, or irrelevancies, then it doesn't matter how decorous it is. But as we are human beings with different levels of maturity and education and strong emotions, I do not object to appropriate use of profanity. And I think it's silly to self-censor the name of a television show.

Edited by GreedyCapitalist
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"And I think it's silly to self-censor the name of a television show."

Hehe. *likes this post* (And while we're at it, do you think we could try to get back the dislike as long as we still have the like?)

What vocabulary is suitable I think depends on context just like anything else. It doesn't make sense really to sweepingly condemn a handful of words for which there exists plenty of other ways to say the same thing, though perhaps less concisely, which do not receive the same blanket condemnation. To attack the words themselves is pointless, as they carry no inherent meaning or power. If one wants to attack the meaning behind those words though, then they would need to be consistent and oppose the meaning no matter how it is conveyed. However, I expect often those particular words are attacked while other forms of communicating the same meaning are not is simply a matter of people trying to put on some kind of show of being too sensitive and classy for such harsh things even though they don't want to have to actually restrict themselves from being able to think and/or say anything negative about anything or anyone. Stigmatizing and avoiding just a few words is their way to try to have their cake and eat it too.

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I work in an industry that is dominated by males. Profanity is regularly sprinkled into what otherwise would be considered a normal conversation. To hear someone purposefully avoid the use of profanity would be considered weird (such as one co-worker who is of such a religious bent, that he is described as "not saying 'shit' if he had a mouthful" [bTW, this does not preclude him from using substitutes like "gosh darn"] :glare: ).

Context is key here. There is nothing intrinsically profane with any word. But how, and in what context, they are used can make them profane.

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While I do believe that profanity can be used as duct-tape for shoddy rhetoric, I generally find the other extreme of overly flowery language to be more offensive.

The former is at least understood by the speaker to lack quality, but the latter is an attempt to hide the lack of quality. Unnecessary legaleese in a philosophical paper is a bit of a red flag to me that the writer is trying to hide the fact that he doesn't have any idea what he is talking about.

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The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.

George Washington

Ayn Rand did address this in her book "The Art of Fiction" her take was in essence that a person use of words reflected their value judgments on the related subject of the curse word. So calling someone a bastard implies that being born of parents not married was evil and the product of this by association was tainted. She believed this to be anti body and mind and that an objective person would not seek to use such language.

I myself do not curse much and have been told that when I do people feel shocked when I do. I dislike hearing cursing and do not admire those who do. I however do enjoy Penn and Teller, but not nearly as much as I could.

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It all depends on the meaning behind the words. Black men are allowed to say the N word without being offensive to each other, if a white man was to say it he would normaly recive a slap. Wrods do have a specific meaning but the context thoe words are said in is everything. If in a conversation it would be appropriate to tell someone to fuck off, I'm not going to ask them to go away. The impact of the two is significantly different and so it is appropriate and necessary to have both.

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