As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

A Note on Language

I’ve noticed a lot of discussion and disagreement among friends recently in the comment section about the use of language. This is my fault, as I have not clearly described a policy. So here goes.

First of all, I don’t like setting policies of any kind. I want people here to be able to say what they want, how they want. My inclination is always to err on the side of allowing speech, even, and especially, when I don’t like it. Free speech is one of the core principles that underly this website, and its existence as the foundation of our society is one of the reasons I’m allowed to be in business writing stuff that can be sharply critical of our leaders.

That said, I think it’s reasonable to draw a few limits that preserve a sense of decorum around here and make all people comfortable hanging around and expressing themselves. So . . .

1. The nastiest expletives, such as the F-word and a few – but only a few – similarly egregious curses, are generally not permitted. Nor are certain disgusting or lewd phrases. I realize I am not drawing a completely clear line. But I’m not going to list every example and then add to the list. I’m going to leave it to you, as adults, to figure out approximately what I mean. To paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart’s comment on pornography, with unacceptably bad language, you’ll generally know it when you see it.

2. Offenders will be warned, and repeat offenders who have been warned may be banned from the website.

3. This is not a G-rated website, however. I’m going to allow most “bad words” and offensive language that I see. Also, the common acronyms for offensive phrases will generally be allowed. I would hope, again in the interest of decorum and consideration for the feelings of those who don’t like to see this stuff, that you not overdo its use. But mostly, I want people to express themselves, and in real life, bad words often accompany anger, irony, frustration, fear, and humor.

4. Please always feel free to send me a message if something is upsetting you. Though I’m not insisting, I prefer this to people taking each other to task over language.

5. Bad language used by newsmakers will be repeated by me verbatim. It’s news, and I report the news. I think everyone can handle it and that you don’t need the hand holding, in the case of news, of me substituting a letter in a curse with an asterisk or something.

I hope this helps settle the matter. If you have any comments or questions, please let me know either below or directly.


98 Responses to A Note on Language

  1. Fair enough, Keith. We are all adults here….

    Speaking of ‘language’, many people, including myself, were offended by Christie’s remarks to the heckler last week. Charles Krauthammer summarized it so succinctly: “The rule…never say ‘shut-up’….ever!!”

    It’s such a generational thing. As children, my sister and I were never allowed to utter those two words, ‘shut-up’, unless we wanted Mom to wash our mouths out with soap, lol. I passed the same rule down to my daughters. It all seems so mid-Victorian now. But the rule still holds.

  2. Over the years that I have visited this site, I have seen a family form.
    Albeit, sometimes a bit disfunctional, but in the end, a family.
    Anyone of us would defend another against an attack by a troll.

    We all have different personalities, and buttons that should not be pushed.
    All of us are adults, and this is a discussion unless it turns into an argument.
    Even when it does get a bit contentious we are mature enough to let it go.

    • As I have stated before I learn a great deal from Keith, and all the people here at WHD. For the last several years we are witnessing terrible things. Some come by surprise, some we can see coming.
      So when people are shocked, they may not have time to look up a formal, proper word to describe the bit of news happening.
      If I were asked to speak to o about our citizens being beheaded, I garantee you, I would speak as proper as possible, but I may use a word (not cared for in normal discussions). I do not curse in front of my kids, nor do I do so in public. If I stub my toe with no one around, a bad word may pop out. Nothing vuglur, just a word. Stating Oh golly gee, doesn’t quite cut it at the moment.
      We are all adults here. Anyone scolding will be left up to Keith at this sight, or from my mom.

  3. Thank you Keith for not allowing the F-Bomb…it is the only word that truly upsets me!
    I love your blog and the people on it,,
    I don’t say much, but I read almost every word from you and them!

    • Me, too, katarina, about the F word. When folks sprinkle it around in their speech it almost makes me think they really, really don’t know what the word means.

      I taught high school for many years, and my students would some times slip an occasional curse word into their speech, sometimes accidentally and sometimes not. They knew, however, that I would never tolerate the F word.

      • I agree. I too taught high school for many years and did not permit it in class or in compositions and as best as I could monitor in the hallways.
        Times have changed so…I would not be able to teach in the current environment.
        These words were never utter in my parent’s home or in mine with my husband and children.
        It has always been my belief that people who rely on such as the F word are limited in their thinking and social skills and this language has become their “crutch.”

        • MY oldest sister was also a school teacher Anne… and she says the same thing you just said about teaching!
          That word makes my skin crawl! I feel the same as you,, people that use it are usually illiterates,,, but now it seems like it is just another word for EVERYONE!

      • In my high school French class we had to do group dialogs in front of the class for each chapter/new words we learned.
        I had a book that listed all the dirty words in French, so my misfit group of wannabe ‘French Foreign Legionnaires’ would always sprinkled in a few French curse words when asking ‘where is the subway’ or ‘how is your family’…
        The class would always looked confused when we said them, but the teacher would start to yell “silence!” -LOL

    • That’s exactly where I come out on the subject, Katarina. There is a comfortable sense of civility on this site, one of the reasons I hang around. There are certain truly offensive words and phrases that suggest to me, at least, that the writer/speaker is desperate for attention or severely limited in vocabulary. Other than that, let ‘er rip, as far as ideas and opinions.

      Nicely said, Keith.

  4. Thank you, Keith, for clarifying your policy. We are all adults here and in my opinion, NO-ONE, not one regular poster, has ever crossed the line into disgusting, truly offensive speech. I hope those of more tender sensibilities will now stop lecturing the rest of us.

  5. Keith

    I must take exception to one word you used: Leader

    We do not have leaders — we have public servant, elected officials or the like….but we are not a people that has a ‘leader’.

    We are a free people! And when we talk about words like this we have to know that ones like ‘leader’ sneak in and teach us that we must, by extension, be followers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    To me — seeing ‘leader’ is more offensive than the F-bomb or any other word.

    Keith — you meant no harm. Please, though, clean up your language around the ‘leader’ word. It is unbecoming.


  6. I’ve been away at Live from the Met in HD today, and your post reminded me of something I overheard two little old ladies say after the opera (Carmen). They said that if the kids had realized that it was an R-rated production, they would have flocked to the performance.

  7. Thank you, Keith. If one cannot make a point without injecting profanity, then I recommend they utilize the boards on DummieUnderground for such emotion-based rants instead. On that forum, profanity is not only condoned, it is encouraged.

  8. Keith, your blog is my “go-to” site every day. Thank you.
    I am educated by your thoughts and perspectives as well as those who comment.
    One thing we all share, I believe, is a love of country. I hope and pray we all share a love for God.
    Here, we are friends and allies in the quest to save our nation from those who seek to destroy her.
    Here, we seek solice among like minded individuals.
    Here, we find emotionally charged -and- calmly rational analysis of events and people.
    Here, we are free. Thank you.
    God bless you, Keith – and may God bless the United States of America.

  9. I teach HS and am rearing 4 sons to boot. It’s tough out there…”Shut up” is a swear, as is s-u-c-k. F-bombs earn 3 days in school suspension with me.
    I watched Kevin spacey drop 2 bleeped f bombs Friday night on Fallon’s show. Never happened with Johnny Carson as far as i remember. (And all you guys on this blog, take off your hats! :))
    This blot has been ok. We’re. Adults. I must have missed the troll.

  10. Keith, since you didn’t say that we can’t post mean things about the Religion of Peace, I am taking that as approval of what I and others post.

    For those who continue to take umbrage, I suggest you do some reading at Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch. Check out Walid Phares, an eminent scholar on Islam. (He was one of Mitt’s foreign-policy advisers.) Look into Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the price she’s paying for leaving Islam. Read about Wafa Sultan.

    Ever since that delusional, infidel-killing, wife-beating, war-mongering, sex-enslaving pedophile wrote down his thoughts around 1,400 years ago, Islam has been the scourge of civilizations.

    Islam is NOT one of the Abrahamic religions. Mohammed stole from Judaic and Christian texts, and he appropriated more than a bit from the local pagan religions.

    Islam is resurgent again after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The actions of the men who are terrorizing people in Southwest Asia and Africa comport quite well with the Koran-based notion of “Islam’s perfect man.”

  11. My last comment for the day – something I read on fb:
    “Hurt people hurt people. That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation. Break that chain today. Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. Greet grimaces with smiles. Forgive and forget about finding fault. Love is the weapon of the future.” Yehuda Berg
    I had to break that chain. I have to break it nearly every day. I think this is good advice.

      • Yes, I agree. There is just plain evil. Recently had a great discussion regarding evil and whether we should flee or fight it.
        I come down on the fighting side…my friends want to flee.
        I have always been a hot tempered little snot…hence the attitude towards people who “get on the fighting side of me! (Thanks to Johnny Cash, I believe.)
        However, I am learning to see past my hot temper so that I can view their hurt. On the faces and the behaviors and in the words of so many….daily. The loads we carry as humans…it is heartbreaking.
        My mother often reminded us that we never know what others are enduring…and how that endurance reflects in their lives and actions. She said…and I have written this here before…”The opinions you have of others is just a reflection of what you see in yourself.”
        I don’t always think my reflective vision is that pretty…hence the need to break that chain in my life. I don’t try to speak for others. Just thought this was thought provoking and hope that it makes a positive difference in someone’s life today.

        • Now that I am an adult (my children would challenge that some days) and am working more diligently on my relationship with my Savior, I can (with His help) look at most people in love and compassion. I still get angry about what they do sometimes, but I can see them. I should not get upset when lost people act……well…lost. I must remember that every individual is important to God. Everyone is made in His image and He desires that not one should perish. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

  12. When I was a little girl (back in the day….WAY back) there was a school yard saying “sticks and stones can break your bones but names can never hurt you”. I think it applies here. And if you don’t like what someone posts, skip it and move on!

    • As a person of faith, I can agree. I don’t always like what I hear other people say. Someone once apologized to me when they cursed in front of me and said “sorry if I offended you.” My response, “I’m not the one you should be worried about offending.”

      I have just as much responsibility in choosing not to be offended as I do to ensuring I attempt not to offend.

  13. Keith, thank you for this very reasonable post. I’ve never seen any of the regulars go overboard. What I have seen, more than anything, is self-appointed moderators repeatedly scolding other posters for very minor “offenses” such as acronyms and asterisks being used for some curse words. Thanks for clearing this up for everyone.

  14. Profanity is a mental outlet for aggression in many cases. For some, it can be a crutch to augment a limited vocabulary, but for others, it is a way to blow off steam when you really just want to take a ball peen hammer to a few foreheads.

    If you smash your thumb while hammering a nail, I doubt that you mumble under your breathe “I say! How dare you, hammer?!”

    Maybe Alfred from Wayne Manor does, but most don’t. Having the Church Lady determine the rules for the entire forum is a bit much.