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Thought Control

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Ron
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25 posted 01-05-2004 11:00 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

If there were any words, offensive or otherwise, capable of conveying raw emotion, there would be no need for writers. I could just say "blankety-blank" and you would know precisely what I was feeling. We could just shorthand everything.

Interestingly, actors are specifically taught to not depend on their dialog to convey emotion. After all, if the words alone were enough, there would be no need to act, and no difference between one performance and another. Emotion must be drawn from a deeper well.

Shorthand is just another way of saying cliché.
Aenimal
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26 posted 01-05-2004 09:35 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

I think there are some words capable of that raw emotion. I could tell you for example that I dislike my boss because the way he treats us leaves something to be desired. Or I can say my boss is an A$$#@%@ and not only convey the same message but the raw emotion of hate.

And while actors are taught not to depend on the dialogue for emotion they still draw from the image or feel presented? What works better Al Pacino working with dialogue from a Pauly Shore script or from Coppola and Puzo?
Ron
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27 posted 01-06-2004 12:00 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Pacino would probably do well with a phone book. I'm not sure, though, whether that's more or less compelling than Pauly Shore?

As to your Boss examples, in my opinion neither of them conveys emotion, raw or otherwise. All you've done is supply observations, leaving the reader free to feel what they will. Dickens didn't tell us Scrooge was an A$$#@%@, he showed us. I suspect if you really look at it objectively, Raph, you'll realize that either of your observations would inevitably reveal more about the narrator than about the boss?


Aenimal
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28 posted 01-06-2004 03:08 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

Watching paint dry is more compelling than Pauly Shore..

I suspect if you really look at it objectively, Ron, you'll find you're much to rigid on the topic of swearing. It's not a reflection on the narrator, but a reflection of just how much they may hate their boss. They don't convey raw emotion?! Try stubbing your toe in the middle of the night, what are the most immediate words that come to mind? Is it because you're lazy? No, it's because they suit the frustration and raw emotion at the pain you're feeling.

You don't appreciate the art of the swear word. Vulgarity aside there is a beauty to them. They all share a unique structure in harsh consonants, forceful vowels. They're also poetic when used properly. After all what are swear words but metaphor and allegory? I agree with Brad, 9 times out of 10 it's simply bad writing, but your assesment of swear words and their usage is a matter of judgment. We obviously disagree.
Ron
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29 posted 01-06-2004 06:58 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I think you're comparing apples and oranges, Raph. I spent several years in construction as a kid, four years in the Marine Corps, and trust me, when I stub my toe in the middle of the night, I don't yell "Sugar." Swearing can be a way of venting emotion, in the same way crying is. Releasing emotion is healthy, though I personally draw the line at imposing my release on others. I don't break down crying in the grocery store, even if it might make me feel better, and if I stub my toe in church I'll probably (hopefully!) refrain from anything harsher than Sugar.

All of which has absolutely NOTHING to do with good writing. Metaphor and allegory only lead to good writing when they are good metaphor and allegory. Clichés don't cut it.

There are only two instances where I think swearing can be woven into the written word with effect, and both of those require unusual skill.

Some very good writers have used profanity to purposely offend the reader, both to get their attention and to make a point (has to be both). Most who try this path fail miserably, ending up with nothing more than a venting of their own emotion. That's cool for them, but I'm not going to spend my time or money watching someone stub their toe in the middle of the night.

Other good writers have successfully put profanity into the mouths of their characters as a way of telling the reader something important about that character. This is exactly the same thing as using dialect to reveal character, and it carries exactly the same dangers. Unless you have the skill of a Mark Twain, you're far more likely to destroy a story than to elevate it. Whether it's dialect, stuttering or swearing, reality can't be merely mimicked, but must be reflected and focused. It can be incredibly powerful stuff, but there have been only a handful of writers in all of history who could do it successfully.

Any time someone wants to prove me wrong, they have a whole Mature Content section with which to work their literary wonders.
Aenimal
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30 posted 01-06-2004 10:07 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

No I'm not comparing apples to oranges Ron. A word is a word is a word profane or not. Word usage is a matter of taste. Someone may like to use the word silly where you might use the word ludicrous or ridiculous. It's a matter of choice and style.

As we stated earlier 9 times out of ten it's simply bad writing. This still leaves one in ten. So the possibility remains that someone on this site, given the chance, may have the skill to pull it off. Of course seeing as few of us are professional writers there's a trial and error process involved.

Unless we can have the skill of Mark Twain? Now who's comparing apples to oranges? If you're going to use that logic that then you may as well state that unless anyone here has the skill of Blake, Neruda or Bukowski they should be limited from using words, metaphor or allegory? Should we then block certain poets from posting and who will make that judgment?

The forum is about learning that skill, including the use of slang, dialect or profanity. You seem to be harping on the words themselves rather than their use. They can be used, it does take skill.

As for the Mature Forum, there still seems to be system censoring and word blocking imposed on starting posts, at least, the last time I posted in there. I've brought this to the attention of a moderator but have yet to see a follow-up or action.
Ron
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31 posted 01-06-2004 10:48 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

LOL. If someone wants to use silly instead of ludicrous, I don't have any problem at all with their choice of style. If they want to use silly as a verb, on the other hand, well, frankly, that's just plain silly.

The language restrictions in MC, and which forums are or aren't free of them, are posted in Grok This, Raph.
Aenimal
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32 posted 01-07-2004 12:13 AM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

Not sure what that had to do with anything but bravo, you have a masterful grasp of the english language.

The description of Insight states..'This genre is often angry or ironic, with the author's anger expressed in adult language"
but then in Grok we're told "Insight - no profane words but hard edged poetry about life."

Please explain the difference between adult language and profane? And how a forum which claims to be hard-edged refuses to allow 'profane' language?

Also considering its a supposedly mature forum why is there no profanity allowed in GROK either. Not that it's enforced except in starting posts. Actually nevermind, it's become evident that boring,conservative rigid thinking is the rule.

Ron
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33 posted 01-07-2004 03:03 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

The language restrictions in MC, and which forums are or aren't free of them, are posted in Grok This, Raph. The reasons are in there, too.

Like it or not, believe it or not, words have the power to offend just as they have the power to enlighten. You might think you should have the freedom to yell racial slurs in the middle of Harlem or Chinatown, but I honestly wouldn't recommend it in practice. You may not care if you offend others, and may take no note of the hurt and anger you provoke, but others do care. Sure, you have the freedom to write any way you want. And, we have the freedom to refuse to listen.

Have you read Charles Dickinson lately? Melville? Kafka, Hesse or Hemingway? You'll find little or no profanity in the works of most great writers. Do you really think Orwell or Huxley were guilty of boring, conservative, rigid thinking? Rigidity isn't defined by the words you use, but if anything, by the words you think you must use.

When fifteen or so people banded together almost five years ago to start these forums, it was explicitly because we were tired of the shock-and-awe garbage being dumped so prodigiously everywhere else on the Internet. We, as a group, defined the Guidelines we felt comfortable supporting. I suspect some of those discussions are still floating around in early threads somewhere.

For a few months, the forums were invitation only, with only a handful of like-minded individuals joining the original group. When we decided to open our doors, we put up big signs all over the place as to our expectations. Those who want shock-and-awe have lots and lots of places on the Internet to find it, but we have always been very, very clear that this will never be one of them. We don't force anyone to join, we simply offer an alternative to those who want it. If our standards don't match closely enough with theirs, they have plenty of other choices.

We don't try to be all things to all people. Not five years ago. Not today.
Aenimal
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34 posted 01-07-2004 06:55 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

Ron I did see the guidelines in Grok and quoted from it in my reply. Thus the inquiry as to how adult language differs from profanity. As for people being offended by language isn't that the point of the mature section? The easily offended have a the choice of keeping to the host of other sections.

A great list Ron, and yes I have read them. Have you read Solzhenitzyn. Revolutionary writers like Hunter S. Thompson? How about the newest crop of authors Chuck Palahniuk? Irvine Welsh? Joe Conelly? All of them have used profanity for realism without hindering their work.

I've conceded that it takes talent and that most of the time it is poor writing. Reading any of the above authors you'll find the opposite side of the coin. Brilliant, raw honest writing. I can see that it's incredibly difficult for you to accept or concede to anything but your own opinion here, so there's really no point in arguing it further.

P.S. I guarantee that Hemingway swore and I'm sure some of it was over the dinner table

[This message has been edited by Aenimal (01-07-2004 11:16 PM).]

Brad
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35 posted 01-08-2004 03:32 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Aenimal,

I think you're asking two different things here.

One, can profanity work? Yes, but rarely.

Two, therefore, why not allow it on these boards?

Two doesn't follow from one. And in fact, profanity leads to a muddled distinction between literature and, what, muck. Take the Supreme Court decision that allowed things like "Lady Chatterley's Lover" and "Howl" to be sent through the mail. Immediately, pornographers jumped on that to claim that what they were selling was art and the decision, more or less, backed them up.

The same thing happens on the internet. Either you have mothers or watchdogs to clean up the muck or you have . . . editors who choose the art. Nobody here really wants the responsibility of being an editor (Yes, taste is being avoided), but a certain common sense approach has led inevitably to a standard rule, no profanity -- period.

Does that mean we might lose out on a very good poem with profanity in it? Sure.

Does that mean you or somebody else can't post it somewhere else? No.

I just don't see anything you're talking about happening anywhere on the internet. In practice, you must have a close group who understand each other intuitively, a group of people who will clean up the poetry, or a group that edits as a result of taste. Otherwise, I don't think you'll find a particularly hospitable place for people who are interested in writing what they want to write -- or for honing what they write.

Interestingly, I think this is a little more than a minor point. I'd like to see a discussion on capping the beginning letter of each line reach this level of discussion.      
Ron
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36 posted 01-08-2004 04:21 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I'd like to see a discussion on capping the beginning letter of each line reach this level of discussion.

And punctuation!
Aenimal
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37 posted 01-08-2004 04:29 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

You're right Brad two different topics (I'm multitasking ) the latter was only brought up after Ron stated that:
Any time someone wants to prove me wrong, they have a whole Mature Content section with which to work their literary wonders

In discussing the first topic I've conceded that indeed, most often it doesn't work. Reading my last post you'll see that I've named some brilliant authors, however, who have made it work. Of course it's a matter of skill but then all good writing is. Which ties in with the second topic.

Most of us here are not professionals. That's why we post here. It's why we encourage critiques and have the critical analysis forum. To hone our craft. If the purpose of the forum is to help guide members in all aspects of writing then this includes the use of language. Profane or not.

You've mentioned that though rarely, it is possible for profanity to find itself into good writing. So allow the writers to use these words(in the appropriate forums) and then critique it accordingly and help them use it properly.

Heller used goddamn throughout Catch-22. I've seen it on these pages many times. But surely this is a curse, and likely offensive to some? It just happens to be more socially acceptable than other curse words, at least to certain people which brings me back to my point of usage being a matter of taste. And the cycle continues.

All good writing needs skill, this particular style of writing may take a little more as it is rarer. Thus one should have a place to hone said skills rather than simply being censored and judged.

Shrugs..what more can I say? I have yet to sleep so I'm off to slip into a partial coma.
Ron
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38 posted 01-08-2004 05:08 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Raph, writers are allowed to use ANY words they want in the appropriate forum. All they have to do is go Behind Closed Doors and they'll find no censoring of language at all (though we will never have a forum where advocating harm to another is allowed).

In at least one sense, people are also allowed to use offensive language in any of our forums. It hasn't happened a lot, and there's been no need of it since opening MC, but there have been past instances where we've fought to allow profanity because it was integral and necessary to an exceptional piece of writing. I suspect Heller would manage to squeak by should the occasion ever arise. And if the writer is not as good as Heller? As with all things in life, they then have to accept personal responsibility for their failed attempt to exceed their skill. The first ten or twenty times that happens, they get a polite email telling them their post has been moved to one of our MC forums. On exceedingly rare occasions, where they've failed time after time after time, they eventually have to take responsibility for faulty judgment. That has never happened, though, without LOTS of previous warnings.

I applaud and support anyone who really wants to learn. In too many cases, though, that's not really their goal.
Aenimal
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39 posted 01-09-2004 01:27 AM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

Great, except that Behind Closed Doors
states 'Past innuendo and allusion, lies an adult world of raw passions and power' which s fine for erotica but not exactly where one might want to post say, a political poem, or an exploration on abuse where one might want to use adult language. These are topics better suited to say...insight.
Ron
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40 posted 01-09-2004 01:06 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I guess if someone can't write about politics or abuse without using the single word variant disallowed in Insights, they have a real conundrum. It does, however, remove a conundrum for the many who find that particular word inordinately offensive, and that's a tradeoff I can live with.
Aenimal
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41 posted 01-09-2004 04:08 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

What I find disturbing is that you don't see a problem with this? On the one hand you say go ahead, if you wish to use that language you can try it in mature but then restrict it to erotica. Worse is that you judge and condemn people for using or even wanting to use 'offensive' language. I suggest you reword the description to Insight,
Insights
Much of the richest poetry in the world centers on either very mature themes or the mature handling of more innocent themes. This genre is often angry or ironic, with the author's anger expressed in adult language. You may find sexual references, but the poetry isn't about sex. It's about the World as seen through the eyes of an adult. Poetry and Prose.

and while you're at rename the Mature part of the forum.
Ron
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42 posted 01-09-2004 07:43 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Nope, I don't have a problem with it at all. Adult doesn't mean anarchy, and freedom doesn't mean the right to impose one's offensiveness on others.
Aenimal
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43 posted 01-09-2004 11:42 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

LOL ANARCHY!!? Using adult language in a restricted forum (one that states in its introduction that adult language is acceptable)is anarchy?

You continue to either ignore or wave away evidence that displays a discrepancy with telling people to prove you wrong in the Mature forums and then restricting them to erotica.

Or worse, the error in stating "with the author's anger expressed in adult language" and then blocking said language out.

Is it really that difficult to concede anything in an argument? I'd curse out of frustration but I wouldn't want to cause a full scale riot. So I give in 'nuff said.

Cheers.

Ron
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44 posted 01-10-2004 12:47 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
… and then blocking said language out.

Why equate adult language to a single word? Do you really know any adults with so limited a vocabulary? (That's a rhetorical question, because if anyone does know such an individual I'd rather not hear about them.)

The description of a forum is exactly that, and nothing more. Our Open forum doesn't say "For sharing and enjoying all the many beauties and wisdoms … except for those glorifying harm to a human being." Descriptions are not all-inclusive. Just because we don't put all the rules in the forum description is no reason to argue those rules shouldn't exist.

And yes, advocating no rules, no limitations, and no responsibility is pretty much a workable definition of anarchy. Defining an audience as adult, rather than family-oriented, certainly changes the standards but just as certainly doesn't eliminate them. Our MC forums fall under different restrictions because people who want adult fare should still have the option of avoiding what many find overtly offensive. They should be able to visit the bedroom or talk around the table in the kitchen without worrying whether the person there before them thought they were in the bathroom and forgot to flush.

I've already conceded that a few talented writers know how to use profanity, and I'd be more than happy to concede other points as well. You just haven't made very many of them, Raph. I also suspect you haven't voiced your real concern yet either.


Essorant
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45 posted 01-10-2004 01:57 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

If you accomodate profanity for "intellectual" and "artistic" control how do you block out profanity coming out of the same rashness and perversity, the same that makes people curse and use it anywhere?  How do you draw that line, when the aspects will commingle?   So many artists protest "intellectual" and "artistic" stability but then you look at much of the artwork and the curses and profanity seem completly mad.
Aenimal
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46 posted 01-10-2004 03:49 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

It's so incredibly obvious that This genre is often angry or ironic, with the author's anger expressed in adult language refers to swearing. But rather than concede there's an error or that the description needs revision you stubbornly assert "Descriptions are not all-inclusive."

Where exactly do I advocate no rules, no limitations, and no responsibility? I'm talking about the use of colourful language in an adult themed mature forum. OF COURSE there should be limitations.

If a writer is using adult language in an obvious attempt to offend, outrage or slur than by all means censor, edit and punish the culprit.

Conversely here's an example. In an emotional song of hope U2's Bono(a brilliant writer) uses 'don't let the bastards grind you down' (in reference to a latin saying nolite tes bastardes carborundum.Mind my latin, it may be off).

I don't think many would find this offensive especially in its emotional context and if it were in the appropriate forum. The problem with MC, again, is that in its current scheme that kind of writing would be limited to erotica whereas this poem is clearly an angry/ironic insight into life.

As for having an alterior motive or concern I haven't. But sadly I suspect that you do. Or have something you'd like to say. I've always appreciated the site and the work you do to keep it up. But sadly ego, stubborness and conservatism can turn gold into lead. Say what you will, I give in and would rather leave this thread before things get worse.
Ron
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47 posted 01-10-2004 05:06 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Maybe I'm guilty of assuming you know more than you do, Raph. Have you read the threads in Grok about the language expectations in MC? Why do you believe "that kind of writing would be limited to erotica" when Insights is clearly an ideal platform for it?
Aenimal
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48 posted 01-10-2004 07:23 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

(Edited for personal attack)

..whereas this poem is clearly an angry/ironic insight into life

The point WASthat it would be better suited to Insights. However, because of language restrictions (assuming bastard is considered profane)this or similar writing would be limited to Behind Closed Doors (or perhaps adult)which is essentially erotica though it clearly belongs under the Insight forum as it's described.

But I'll shut up seeing as me don't know too much 'specially compared to y'all. Take care

Whatsoever sayeth Ron, so shall it be..

[This message has been edited by Alicat (01-10-2004 07:34 PM).]

Alicat
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49 posted 01-10-2004 07:40 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Discussion is fine. Arguing is fine. Personal attacks are not fine, nor will they be tolerated. Please exercise a little bit more discretion when formulating your responses.

Thank you.
Alicat
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