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Author Topic: @!#$@*%$ Expletives
InarticulateBabbler
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There is new controversy of the language an 11 year old throws around in Kick Ass, the upcoming Nicholas Cage superhero movie.

Is there a limit that's forgivable ifiction and movies? Is it a rawer nerve because you can see them saying it?

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited April 15, 2010).]


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axeminister
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Funny thing about the F bomb is if it's said twice in one movie, that's an automatic R.
I know if too much swearing is in a book it will get banned, but it has to get banned over and over again on a local level.

I think the king of the banned book is Chris Crutcher.
http://www.chriscrutcher.com/content/blogcategory/56/45/
He has a whole blog devoted to his own books getting banned.
I met him some years back at a book fair, he's quite the humorous speaker and takes the bannings with grains of salt.

Or, you can just say one biological word, win the Newberry, and still get banned.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/18/books/18newb.html

Axe


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TrishaH24
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I think people get too worked up over nothing. The fact of the matter is Kick Ass is rated R. Books with the F bomb dropped all over the place are not going to be in the children's section. (Have you ever seen a book called "Joey Learns to Ride His F*@# Bike"? No.) If you're too much of a child to read a book with swearing or sex, you need to start looking these things up on the internet before you read them. Same goes for watching movies. If you're easily offended, don't go to a movie with the word ASS in the title. It doesn't seem like rocket science to me.

(And when I say you, I'm not implying anyone in particular.)

Edited: To answer your question, I think if Kill Bill can be a hit, there is no limit to what is forgivable. People just need something to gripe about, and right now it's an 11 year old swearing on the big screen. 11 year olds swear, I promise. Maybe not all of them, but it happens. There's a pack of 13 year olds that smoke on the second floor of my building every day after school, and you can bet they swear while they do it. Irresponsible of their parents? Maybe, I don't know their situation. But life will in fact go on.

[This message has been edited by TrishaH24 (edited April 15, 2010).]


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InarticulateBabbler
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I'm reminded of the classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. But that goes to the heart of the question: is it merely vulgarity, a sign of the times, or the culture we're creating? Is it art? Could the story be just as profound without an 11 year old slinging around the two "C" words like they're six shooters?
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TrishaH24
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Could it be just as profound? Probably. But generally speaking films are made to feed the audience what they want. Vulgarity is a part of life (at least for the audience the producers are trying to reach.) An 11 year old with an arsenal of swear words is a novelty used for entertainment purposes. So yes, I think it is a sign of the times.
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JSchuler
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The controversy with Kick Ass is not that there is a lot of swearing in it, or that it's a young character that does it. It's that an actual, real live child was used to say those words. It's kinda akin to what animal groups would complain about if a film called for a whale to explode, and so the special effects department filled a real-live whale with TNT. The writing isn't at issue, the production is.

Since books don't use actors, you would have to go to extremes to run into issues.


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InarticulateBabbler
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Semantics. A real live kid slung swear words around, that is the issue. The writer plans for a kid to do so, it's the beginning of the problem--if it is a problem; the script is accepted (problem number two); the cast is chosen (and a real 11 year is casted); the director feels it should be left in. So, who is more at fault? If the writer didn't write it, none of the others would have. If the producers didn't accept the script, the issue would have been eliminated. If the casting director chose an 18 year old to play a younger part there'd be less of an issue. If the director scrapped the expletives for a more childish-tantrum sounding dialogue, it would've probably been respcted.

quote:
Could it be just as profound? Probably. But generally speaking films are made to feed the audience what they want.

So you think there's a big audience for 11 year olds to throw c**t or c**k around? Or, more to the point, do you think this is valid entertainment? And, where does it stop? What's te next evolution in this kind of entertainment?


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JSchuler
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IB, it's not semantics. It's why a problem that rears its head in a live-action movie will not materialize in a book. There is no casting phase for literature.

And if this had been an animated movie, there would have been no controversy about having an eleven-year-old reading that script, because they wouldn't have cast an eleven year old at all.

Now, a decade ago there would probably have been some controversy about an animated movie using adult language, but that would have been due purely to the cultural view that animated movies are for children.

The point is, it is not the fiction that is the problem.


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KayTi
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I think the amount and nature of the swear words and age of child involved in this film gives me hives.

I'm a mom. I've had extensive conversations with my kids about swear words (ages 8 & 6.) They know about many common swear words (ones beginning with F and S in particular. The 8 year old also understand the general meaning of the F word, in age-appropriate discussions about reproduction and because I needed him to know exactly why that word was off-the-charts inappropriate for a child to use.)

We talk about how curse words are grown-up words. It's not cute or funny when a kid uses a curse word. It's not cute or funny because we adults want kids to be able to be kids and enjoy their childhood for as long as possible before they have to take on the responsibilities of adulthood like having a job and paying rent/mortgage and all that. When kids are using curse words, it tells me as an adult that the kid is trying to grow up too soon. And that makes me horribly sad.

So the idea that there's a child, and not just a child but one of the girl persuasion (I don't buy the "empowerment" line of argument around women using vulgarity. I swear all the time...but standard expletives to express dismay or surprise, not the ones I understand are used in the movie.), throwing around words that are explicitly sexual in nature in a movie in the guise of entertainment is really off-putting to me.

Aren't there other, more entertaining things, writers, directors, actors, producers, entertainment companies can come up with? Or do we need these out-there kinds of things just to remind us where our limits should be?


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billawaboy
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I was actually taken aback that the word a$$ was made part of the movie title, and be both heard and seen on commercials - but I wonder if that's just on cable TV. But with that in mind - I'm not surprised about the movie content. There are other examples, I think - I know a kid curses in "Bad Santa." Heck, I remember Bart Simpson causing a commotion - but it was an older lady voicing it so it wasn't a kid actually saying it.

For me, I internally cringe no matter who curses. I grew up largely with people who never cursed and never really had anything to watch or hear with curse words. (reading is a different matter, somehow it doesn't have the same effect for me.) I remember thinking 'you s--k' was not something anyone should say to anyone - now the kids says it and that's supposedly cute or something.

It's funny 'cause I watch family guy and south park - but it works in that sphere - no kids are actually saying it - and I assume responsible adults won't let their kids watch. So i'm okay with that.

But with kids access to the internet these days - I expect the colourful language to be on the rise and common place.

I'm not sure how the young parents on Hatrack handle the whole fiasco - like trying to push back an ocean, I imagine...


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TrishaH24
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Yes, I think there is an audience out there that will go see this movie and laugh at the sight of an 11 year old swearing. In fact, I know people that will probably go see this movie. (My sister for starters, and a hundred of her closest, immature friends.) And that's fine, because I dont' have to watch it.

Where does this progression of "entertainment" stop? I don't know. I'm not saying I have a solution to the moral delema facing American cimina or anything. I'd imagine when movies like Kick Ass stop making money, the people in charge of putting this stuff out will move on. Hopefully they'll scale it back a little. But as long as people are willing to watch trash in the movies and on tv, it's going to get worse.

I have 2 kids and I am not protesting the use of c**k or c**t in a movie that will not be broadcast into my home. I don't like the words and will choose not to say them (or write them for that matter) but I'm not going to tell someone else they can't let their kid do the same. My kids know where I stand with swearing, and those are the only children I'm responsible for.

No, I don't think the writer of the film is to blame. He obviously was going for something "edgy" that challenges the moral structure of today. I think he is an idiot, sure. But not at fault. I don't blame the casting director or the producers or what have you either. Because none of these people are the parents of the 11 year old that was allowed to take the part. You want to look for fault, look at the people in charge of this kid.

I'm not one of those people that pushes my beliefs onto others so I don't think it's an issue if people want to make a movie like this. Yes, there are boundaries (the words "child" and "pornogrophy" should NEVER be used near each other in the entertainment industry, books or movies,) but I don't think this is one of them. Because bottom line, I don't want to be told what is acceptable to write and I won't be telling anyone else what they can or can't write/see. I'll simply choose not to see a movie (or read a book) where I as an individual don't agree with what is being put out.

And that's the thing: this "controversy" is making a big deal out of something that should be a private, individual choice. People want to fill their lives with swears? Fine. People want to let their children do the same? Stupid, yes. And it sure isn't going to be my kid. But fine. Want to throw that kid on the big screen? What the heck? I'm not going to see it. And I hope they lose a lot of money, but that's not my problem.

The worst part is that the more attention the "controversial language" gets in the media, the more people will go see it.

Anyway, that's all I'm trying to say.


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MAP
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quote:
No, I don't think the writer of the film is to blame. He obviously was going for something "edgy" that challenges the moral structure of today. I think he is an idiot, sure. But not at fault. I don't blame the casting director or the producers or what have you either. Because none of these people are the parents of the 11 year old that was allowed to take the part. You want to look for fault, look at the people in charge of this kid.

Yes, my thoughts exactly. What kind of parent lets a child play this role?

I am not going to watch this movie and hope enough others won't as well so it doesn't make money.

[This message has been edited by MAP (edited April 16, 2010).]


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andersonmcdonald
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Strange... I've never liked foul language in books. Ditto graphic sex scenes. I like fade to black. But when I began to write certain characters, they seemed to to take on a life of their own, using language that is fairly coarse. No f-bombs or graphic sex, though. Being used to working around construction sites, I just couldn't write about rough men saying stuff like "Gosh" and "Gee-whiz". I try not to be gratuitous, using swear words for shock value. But I want to portray characters realistically. I guess it's kind of like writing villains, really nasty characters doing despicable things. Doesn't mean I approve of their actions. I'm not writing YA, however. I'd definitely tone it down if I knew kids were going to be reading it.
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andersonmcdonald
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Billawaboy just said heck.
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JSchuler
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I'll agree that the parent deserves primary responsibility for the use of the child, but there's still a lot of blame to pass around. The child would not have been used if the producer wouldn't allow it. The child would not have been used if the director wouldn't allow it. The child would not have been used if the casting director wouldn't allow it. And yes, the child would not have been used if the writer hadn't written the script to allow it. Everyone who had a veto over the decision is responsible for that child.

Think of it this way with that old psychology experiment (recently turned into a bad movie): A man presents you with a button and makes the following offer: If you push it, you get a million dollars, and someone you don't know dies as a result. If you do not, you get nothing. Now, the man who pushes the button is most definitely responsible for the stranger's death, but the man who consciously built up that scenario, offering it to the other and so knowingly allowing the stranger's death, is also responsible.

The writer, directors, producers, they're the ones that knowingly crafted the scenario that lead to that kid doing that. The writer may have an out (though I don't think it applies in the case of Kick Ass) as he could have written the book and sold his rights with a different intent. But the others absolutely know what they are doing.

The parent is responsible the child being used. The others are responsible for a child being used.


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posulliv
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[irony on] I believe that a super-hero named Hit Girl who is a pre-teen assassin (as described in the post) shouldn't be depicted cursing. Kids might learn the wrong thing. [/irony off]



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Robert Nowall
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I'm thinking every person in the USA above age four already knows those words and by age six already knows how to use them. Though I am willing to abide by conventionand agreement and not use them here, I don't really think anybody here needs to be protected.

That being said...I think context is everything in this matter, and using, say, the "F" word every other word robs it of all meaning. I've known several guys who do just that in everyday conversation...and, believe me, it does lose all meaning.

(I remember being much impressed by the latter-day version of The Producers---the movie of the musical of the movie---which used many of these time-honored words in dialog but nearly every one was a noun or a verb, rather than an adjective or adverb.)


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rich
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I'm surprised no one's mentioned that the movie was based on a comic book. I like my comic books, but, with all due respect, they ain't literature (most of 'em, anyway). In comic books, anything's possible, including an 11 year-old assassin.

Do I think an 11 year-old spouting profanity is funny? You bet. Seriously. You wouldn't laugh if a bunch of ten year olds played the 'Alec Baldwin dressing down the salesmen' scene from Glengarry Glen Ross? When a kid does something, it's that much more adorable, funny, or irritating.

I will state for the record, though, that I am a hypocrite. I swear like a sailor, and more than a few can attest to the ah...flowing...words of my stories, but my 8 year-old said, "crap", in the car the other day, and I was quick to put the kibosh on that.

But, then again, I'm comfortable with knowing where the lines of reality are situated.


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micmcd
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quote:

Semantics. A real live kid slung swear words around, that is the issue. The writer plans for a kid to do so, it's the beginning of the problem--if it is a problem; the script is accepted (problem number two); the cast is chosen (and a real 11 year is casted); the director feels it should be left in. So, who is more at fault? If the writer didn't write it, none of the others would have. If the producers didn't accept the script, the issue would have been eliminated. If the casting director chose an 18 year old to play a younger part there'd be less of an issue. If the director scrapped the expletives for a more childish-tantrum sounding dialogue, it would've probably been respcted.

quote:Could it be just as profound? Probably. But generally speaking films are made to feed the audience what they want.

So you think there's a big audience for 11 year olds to throw c**t or c**k around? Or, more to the point, do you think this is valid entertainment? And, where does it stop? What's te next evolution in this kind of entertainment?


Not to pick on just one commenter (my apologies, IB) but:

Is there really fault to be thrown around? The definition of vulgarity changes with the times, and to be quite honest, I don't really care that an 11 year old uses words that some here feel inclined to "asterisk out." I think there is a big audience out there to see 11-year-olds using overly salty language. Isn't one of the first rules of writing to make your characters larger than life?

If the casting director had chosen an 18-year-old, the controversy would have been lessened indeed, but it would have radically altered the story - and made it considerably less interesting.

I don't think it is a sign of "lessening morals" when people of my generation don't think swearing is a big deal. They're just words. Ask someone in his twenties which word would be worse to throw around, the f-word or the n-word, and you'd get a much different answer today than you would had you asked the same question in 1960.

With respect to the "culpability" of the parents of Ms. Chloe Moretz (the actor who plays Hit Girl), I don't particularly see them as having done anything objectionable. If they know their daughter understands the difference between fiction and reality, between the characters she plays and the person she is, then all they did was give her a chance to play a major role in a major motion picture, which, if the girl wants to act, is hugely beneficial to her.

We've had quite a few threads about levels of profanity in writing, and as I've always said, if it makes sense for my characters to have that type of vocabulary they certainly will be swearing. A preacher in one of my stories never uses anything "worse" than "darn," but in that same story the child of an alcoholic, abusive parent makes a point to use every vulgarity in the book, particularly when she's around adults she knows would disapprove - it's how she copes with her place in life. She also has a few dozen tattoos and piercings. If I met someone who looked like her (coincidentally also named Chloe in my story) that winced at the sound of the s-word ("I'll take swords for a thousand, Trebek!), I'd wonder if I had stumbled into another dimension. My soldiers and my sailors curse, my scholars do so far more rarely, my hipsters use their own slang, often designed to offend "the squares," and my clergy never utter a foul word and frown upon those who do.

I've been eagerly anticipating Kick-Ass for a while, and I'll probably go see it with my wife this Sunday. We liked the cursing kid in Role Models too.


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TrishaH24
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I don't know about anyone else but I asteriked the words out because this board doesn't seem like the place to be throwing that kind of language around. Like I said before, an R rated movie has every right to say what they want because people know what they're getting when they go in. The hatrack forum? Not so much. There are a lot of people on here and it has to be assumed that some of them would be offended to read the actual words. But when I was explaining the thread to my husband, I didn't censor myself. We're adults. Do I want my three year old running up to his grandma and calling her a c**t? F no. (Although my husband would think it was hilarious if that happened.)
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MAP
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It is not just the fact that the child swears, but sexual nature of those words that bothers me. Also the fact that the kid is an assasin is disturbing.

Honestly, I would never let my child be in a movie she wasn't old enough to see. If she isn't mature enough to watch it, she is not mature enough to be in it.

But I know many parents feel differently, and that is their right. But I am not going to feel any sympathy to the parents if this girl ends up being another messed up child actor. I will feel much sympathy for the child though.


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micmcd
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quote:

But I am not going to feel any sympathy to the parents if this girl ends up being another messed up child actor. I will feel much sympathy for the child though.

Well, yeah. I think that has more to do with being a child actor than any particular role taken, though. I certainly won't be inclined to push my kids toward the bright lights and cameras some day.

In that same vein, though, I think it's very hard (not impossible) to be normal if you were "raised" to be an Olympian, for instance. The girls competing in womens gymnastics aren't much older than Chloe Moretz, and they've certainly been training morning, noon, and night practically since they were able to walk, and yet we don't generally heap shame on the parents for letting little girls get obsessed with gymnastics and body image sometimes to the point of obsession at such a young age. Well, to be honest, I do have a problem with that, but you never hear anyone in the media questioning the judgment of those parents. In fact, for the most part, they praise them for their dedication in helping their kids' dreams come true.

Incidentally, TrishaH24, I also tend to censor what I say on this board (I used f-word and n-word above, though to be fair I use the latter whenever mentioning the word in real life) simply because I don't know everybody and I know some people are sensitive about it.

I don't have kids yet, but when I do I hope I can press on them that exact sensibility; that though I don't think there's anything particularly wrong about language deemed simply to be foul, he/she should know that many people do and that he/she should be careful where they use it.


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MAP
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quote:
Well, yeah. I think that has more to do with being a child actor than any particular role taken, though. I certainly won't be inclined to push my kids toward the bright lights and cameras some day.

In that same vein, though, I think it's very hard (not impossible) to be normal if you were "raised" to be an Olympian, for instance. The girls competing in womens gymnastics aren't much older than Chloe Moretz, and they've certainly been training morning, noon, and night practically since they were able to walk, and yet we don't generally heap shame on the parents for letting little girls get obsessed with gymnastics and body image sometimes to the point of obsession at such a young age. Well, to be honest, I do have a problem with that, but you never hear anyone in the media questioning the judgment of those parents. In fact, for the most part, they praise them for their dedication in helping their kids' dreams come true.


Well, I agree with all of this.

But when a parent allows a child to play a role like this one that she is too young to watch, I can't help but question if the child's best interest is a top priority. I know it is a judgement, and I could be completely wrong.

It is when the dream of being a famous actor or world class athlete becomes the priority over the child, that children get messed up.

I am not saying that a responsible parent can't encourage and help a child fulfill his/her dream of becoming an actor or athlete, but I think it takes a tremendous effort to keep the child grounded and make sure that the child is protected and not exploited in any way.

I am sure there are many good parents that manage to do this, but I think all too often parents in this situation don't.

Sorry for the massive derail.


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babooher
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I constantly worry about swear words in my writing. I teach, and although the hallways sometimes sound worse than a seaside brothel, there is a little voice in my head that whispers, "Some parent might cause a fuss if her 16-year-old baby found something you published that uses bad words."

The last story that I sold had a word that rhymes a bit with witch. I'm currently writing a more urban story one of the main characters is a teenager. Having been out in the halls, I know what I'm writing about, and it seems hard to attain any sort of honest dialogue (especially with a violent confrontation) and not use swear words.

Do I please me, my audience, or my much higher paying job?

F#@k it. I'll just write.


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MrsBrown
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quote:
I'm thinking every person in the USA above age four already knows those words and by age six already knows how to use them.
My six-year-old does not know any swear words. He's home schooled, but I've never heard his kindergarten friends swear either. I'm definitely into protecting my kid.

At work I am around sailors. I don't complain, but they know I don't swear, so they often apologize to me. Its almost funny. I recently finished reading a book that had a ton of swearing, but it was perfect for the characters. The book was awesome, in part because the author had amazing command of voice. But no way would I want a steady diet of that kind of thing, because those words came readily to mind while reading it. I've put down other books with excessive cussing in them, where the writing did not otherwise make up for it.

Thanks for the heads up about Kick A**. I'll be sure to avoid it.


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satate
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My five year old doesn't know any swear words either, at least she's never said any that I have heard. She's in Kindergarten this year and I am in their classroom a lot and I would be surprised to hear any of those kids swearing.

That being said I know that there are some five year olds who know too much. My mom is a Kindergarten teacher and she has some horror stories. This year one boy told her that his mom won't let him watch naked women on tv anymore. It is very sad and the child has a lot of emotional issues and now has to be sent to a special school.

Personally I don't like cussing and don't cuss. I don't even know what those 'C' words are and don't want to know either. One of the reasons I liked fantasy when I was younger was that there was almost no cussing, or if there was it was made up cussing and so it didn't bother me. Now that I am older I'll tolerate a little cussing in books but I rarely find that it adds to the story. In my stories I stay as far from cussing as I can and I've never felt like a character needed a few cuss words to really make him come alive.


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rich
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Well, it looks like someone "stole" my idea about Glengarry Glen Ross. Except he used Scarface (the Brian De Palma version).

I'm not linking the video 'cause you can find it if you want, but I am linking to a HLN spot about it. Anchor interviews the director of the video, and they get into it a bit, with the director not articulating his own views well against an anchor and "clinical psychologist" who denounce the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaGhBqMyElU&feature=related

So you've got 7-10 year olds acting out the end scene of Scarface, using popcorn as cocaine, and substituting "fudge" for you know what.

Is there any artistic value at all to this video? Is there a point to this video? Is it teaching kids things we don't want them to know just yet?

Here's the thing: I think the guy did the video strictly because he thought it'd be funny. The ensuing PR is gravy for him. His comments about the shoot being a safe environment blahblahblah are just rationalizations.

But (and this is where I'm going to lose some of you) my argument would be that he picked the wrong source material.

Now he could've said that Scarface is a morality play, and that children do this kind of play-acting every single day, no different than playing cops and robbers (or cowboys and Indians for those of us who grew up in less enlightened times). But he didn't, and I find his stated motivations specious, at best.

However, the question remains: Is there any value to this? Even if it's just entertainment value for someone/anyone? Would someone using Glengarry Glen Ross, a "better" work of art, as a template for this kind of thing be more palatable? Or is it all wrong, and 7-10 year old kids are being manipulated by adults for a purpose they neither understand, nor appreciate? Though I think the reasons for the video are wrong, I don't necessarily think the video is "wrong" in and of itself. Are there any "right" reasons for doing something like this?

By the way, I would never put my own kids in something like this, and I find the director bringing up his own children in the discussion weasel-like. It's also pretty obvious that the parents of the children have their own agendas.

And the reason I wouldn't put my own kids in something like this is because, as stated before, I'm a hypocrite.


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babooher
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I rode the bus every day for an hour+ to and from school when I was a child. That was an education and not the kind my parents really wanted me to get. If I was going for verisimilitude and had a scene in the back of a school bus, for whatever reason, I'm guessing there would need to be some swearing.

In the end, there is merit if there is truth. There is art if there is truth.

Would I sacrifice my own children's hearts, minds, souls for art? No.


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Betsy Hammer
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Good question. Is there value in movies like this? Sure, just not enough. Not enough that I would let my kids do it, anyway. I definitely think that a "better" work of art would make this more palatable, even acceptable. After all, we're only talking about swearing. If it was a serious movie, with a serious theme like child abuse or bullying and I heard about an 11 year old swearing, it probably wouldn't bother me at all. In both cases a child is being asked to swear for money, but the motive is different. For most people "funny" doesn't cut it. To use an extreme example, it's like vivisection-- if you're cutting up animals to cure cancer, have at it. If you think it's great fun, well, then, no. Please stop.

To relate this to writing for kids, I think the same motive test applies. I wouldn't let my boys read or watch something with pointless, for-the-fun-of-it violence. But if Superman has to laser that murderous alien in half, then I'm okay with that. In fact, I encourage themes like that, even though lots of that stuff contains mild cussing. I'm much more concerned with my sons understanding right vs. wrong and the need to fight the wrongs than I am about them hearing a few swear words. My kids are old enough to separate reality from fiction, they understand context and roles. They understand that I can drink and cuss and they can't. Obi-wan can chop people up and they can't. Transformers can cuss and they can't. If they wanted to read about kids cussing and protecting the innocent at the same time, then that would probably be fine.

[This message has been edited by Betsy Hammer (edited April 27, 2010).]


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Elan
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I'm 53, and there's a lot more foul language out there in TV and movies and books today than there was when I was a kid. I promise you, it's not necessary to make the story entertaining or exciting.

It's not that the cursing goes on that bothers me, it's that the cursing seems to gravitate toward the most crude and filthy end of the spectrum. It's like the writers are trying to reach deeper into the dirt instead of finding ways to be clever. My thought as I view current TV shows and movies is that it's a sign the writer isn't very creative. Using the "F" word takes no brains, but I can think of several creative ways to curse that made me laugh and I still remember the phrase. Firefly and the Devvery books by Katherine Kerr come to mind.

For my part, when I want to indicate my characters losing their temper, I simply write, 'He cursed...' . Then the reader can fill in as much explicit language as they care to.

I see no need to load the dialog with the exact words if they don't further the plot. Why alienate some readers and make others assume you don't have the ability to coin a creative phrase?


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Zero
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Frankly, my dear, I don't give a f...


(That's the difference between the new generation and the classic one)


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micmcd
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quote:

I see no need to load the dialog with the exact words if they don't further the plot. Why alienate some readers and make others assume you don't have the ability to coin a creative phrase?

...well, because sailors aren't Shakespeare. And because "emo" youth don't speak in clever turns of phrase when they can think of much simpler ways to piss off adults. A character's diction is a part of who they are, and not all my characters are clever and proper. It matters to me whether they'd use a standard f-word insult or dance around with words like "a$$hat," f-monkey, or something else that you find vulgar and funny at the same time.

Last, but not least, a generally proper character can cause quite a stir by having her emotions moved to the point of abandoning propriety in general. I'm immediately reminded of chapter 36 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (WARNING - I'm going to include the ACTUAL Harry Potter quote), when Bellatrix Lestrange narrowly misses hitting Ginny Weasley with a killing curse. Her mother, the ever matronly Molly Weasley shoves Harry aside and screams (caps included in original)

quote:

"NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!"

That line made me laugh and cheer. She goes on to kill the dark witch in a duel, and there was never a more powerful moment in a book that focused on the horrors of war, of how good people die and how the gentle are twisted into horrifying caricatures of their normal selves.

My apologies for not bleeping the word on an otherwise generally sensitive board, but it was powerful enough that it needed to stay, IMHO.


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TrishaH24
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micmcd, that line is one of the most emotionally charged moments in a very intense book. Rowling could not have substituted ANY word that would have evoked that kind of reaction from me as a reader. There is a time and place for certain language. This was an excellent example of the right time and place. Writing 'bitch' in the first Harry Potter probably wouldn't work the way this did. But I see your point and can't help but agree with you.
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