Warning: If bad language offends you, read no further.
This warning could start every edition of the Colorado Daily, because there's likely to be a dose of profanity in each issue. We love our F-bombs, and for good reason. The F stands for fun!
OK, yes, you can make the case that the use of expletives is unnecessary, low-brow or offensive. And I agree to a point. But sometimes there's no satisfactory substitute for those denizens of the shadier district of the dictionary.
Naughty words have all the promise of the sublime or the sinister; it's all in the wielding. There are those who navigate life without ever uttering a four-letter word, and that's one's prerogative. Who am I to judge? But if that's your shtick, know that obscenity can have an even more powerful impact should you allow a brief lapse. An effective video of this phenomenon is available online — I challenge you to keep a straight face while watching Mr. Rogers flip the bird. I have never loved him more than when I first saw that clip. Sure, I was already filled with respect and admiration for this man who looked on the bright side of everything and had the power to inspire generations to be the very best version of themselves they could be.
On the other end of the spectrum, of course, are the trolls who so often pollute online comments sections with their nauseating slurry of bile and epithets. These are the sad sops for whom language is not an art but a weapon, who skip the subtlety and go straight for the easiest bludgeons their vocabularies can provide. Please don't equate this stratum of society with those of us interested in using certain turns of phrase — not to alienate or spread hate, but to add color by cursing a blue streak or to highlight an emotional moment.
Maybe you take issue with the idea of a newspaper printing such unprintables. The giants of the industry have eschewed the use of certain words to maintain their sense of dignity. But dignity isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when it gets in the way of honest communication. Censoring all the vulgarities out of our columns and headlines would betray the reality of how we actually speak and write. Besides, tragedy is a staple of the daily news, and a slice of the ridiculous can soothe one's sanity. We may come off looking a bit silly now and then, but that's the price we've willingly paid for years.
If that's not enough to persuade you to open your mind to the utility and delight possible in profanity ... well, shit. I don't know what else to say.