Friday, March 02, 2007
The 7 dirty words & Club Lefty
Just to give folks an idea about how sensitive members of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) are to foul language, let me relate a story. Last summer my wifes family, which nearly to a person are devoutly Mormon, had a reunion which was held on a ranch in northern California. To get to this ranch, one had to drive over Shasta Dam, and down Shasta Dam road for several miles. The height of risque hilarity for that entire reunion was to refer to the dam road, or the dam lake, or the dam whatever.
Another example of how clean my wife is when it comes to language is provided by the fact that there is nothing funnier in the world than to get her to say a swear word without knowing it, and then point it out and laugh. The only way to do that really is to make her say a word with a bad word in it (HELLo, Shasta DAM, etc..).
Please don't get me wrong. It's not like before meeting my wife I was a foul mouthed sailor type. I did swear (and actually still do in private, under my breath) on appropriate occassions. But I have substantially cleaned up my act.
The reason I'm writing a post on this in the first place is because of this article by a right wing blog on the use of foul language by blogs. I will not use the word "study" or "survey" when discussing the article, because the methodology used to reach the numbers that form the basis for it are highly questionable.
The author of the study simply googles his target blog with the seven (actually nine with variations included) dirty words. (Attention members of the Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints. Clicking that link will load an offensive page.) This means that not only do the posts on that site get scanned, so do the comments. I suppose this may be considered fair, but in my case I don't enforce compliance to community decency standards for anyone choosing to comment here. I recall at least two occasions when I was a bit startled at a commenter's coarse language, but those comments were kept as is. Thus while the articles I post may be clean as a whistle, the criteria used by these folks would certainly include more than at least a couple of instances associated with Club Lefty because a commenter got a bit foul mouthed.
Beyond that... the methodology used also counts words in hyperlinks to outside sites against the blog. In other words if I link to a site and a cuss word is part of the link, that counts me being vulgar. Here is a link to the one time the F word is supposedly used by Club Lefty. Search that page for that word, and you cant find it. It's because the link from that story has the word in the text of the link, which you would not even notice unless you looked at the address you were about to load.
Every poster, and every comment on Kos is treated equally by this methodology. Using this it is concievable that one could sock puppet vulgarity with comments on various sites you do not agree with, and have that count against them. It really is silly.
Even knowing the flaws of the methodology, the right wing can't help themselves. John Hinderaker details all the problems with the findings, concludes that it is fatally flawed and then touts them as proof that liberals are more foul mouthed than conservatives. Nevermind the well documented examples of President Bush flipping off the camera, or cursing at staffers... never mind Cheney letting the F bomb fly on the Senate floor. To the right wing, using a flawed methodology proves that lefty types are vulgar, as opposed to righty types being more virtuous.
I'm very tempted to end this post with a hearty F you to Hinderaker and the right wing blogdiots who will follow his lead in lockstep echo chamber fashion. But why sink to the Presidents level?
On the positive side---When people realize that you don't use profanity, most will attempt to refrain from using it themselves while in your presence.
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