Seems that Tim Bray ruffled some feathers with his use of the phrase "fucking cool" in a post a few days back. So much so that he posted again to apologize to anyone who was offended, but also to offer, if not a defense then a rationale for his choice of language:
I am keenly aware that I am not a great writer, and that the range of subjects on which I’m sufficiently expert that my opinions ought to be taken seriously is pretty narrow. Given that, if I don’t offer 100% complete unvarnished honesty and transparency, what am I offering?
I absolutely agree with the point that blogging is about "unvarnished honesty" ("transparency" might be going too far because language is never transparent, but let's not quibble semantics). The thing that makes blogging interesting and different from other kinds of public writing, the thing that attracts me to blogs and keeps me reading them, is that sense of directness. The absence of an editor, publisher, agent intervening between writer and reader. It's something I hope I accomplish in Donut Age.
Of course, there's a danger to this kind writing. Writers are fallible, and a momentary lapse of judgement, once published, can have serious consequences, as Greg Easterbrook learned some time back. Still, I think the benefits gained by allowing individual, idiosyncratic voices out into the wild without the constraints of institutional conventions and house styles is worth these risks.
As for profanity, it has never bothered me much as a reader (if anything, I find the various asterisks, bleeps, and euphemisms used to cover up the handful of common but "forbidden" words to be rather pointless. Everyone knows what they are covering up and the obfuscation just draws attention to itself). Consequently, I have not made any particular effort to restrain myself on this blog. Nevertheless, this dustup did prompt me to look through my archives to see how much of a pottymouth I've been. Let's just say, it's a good thing the FCC doesn't regulate blog postings (yet), although for the most part, the expletives I've published have been either quotations or titles of other sources, and I will defend on principle the right to exact quotation. I do take responsibility for two "fucks" and two "bullshits" uttered in my own voice (prior to this post). In three-plus years of blogging, I don't think that's egregious.