Thursday, September 08, 2011
Cozy, My Ass
By Paula Matter
None of us Working Stiffs are old enough to have watched Gone with the Wind when it was released in 1939, but I’m sure we all know of the controversy this scene caused:
Frankly, my dears, GWTW was not the first film to’ve used profanity. That honor goes to the British version of the 1938 film, Pygmalion. The things we learn in the name of research.
Nowadays, swearing seems to have become the norm in books, films, and television. Recently I watched the TV show In Plain Sight and one character referred to another as an asshole. Ah. Should I have written that as a$$hole? Or maybe a**hole? Is anyone offended by my original choice?
I started thinking about the use of profanity in books after I picked up a cozy mystery to read the other day. At least I thought it was a cozy because of the cover, and the title. I had certain expectations when I curled up with this book. I knew immediately I was wrong.
I also had no problem with the swear words. If you know me at all, you know I don’t shy away from cussing. I hear you laughing, Annette.
Anyway, there are times I want to read a lighter mystery. I love dark, intense hard-boiled fiction, but when I’m in the mood for it. I like cozier, small town setting, amateur sleuth stories when I’m in the mood for them.
I know what I’m in for when I pick up a Miss Marple. Ditto Jack Reacher. Could you imagine if Miss Marple told the vicar to fuck off? What if Jack Reacher joined a knitting club?
Now, if Reacher later used those knitting needles, well. . .
Expectations. What are some of yours when reading? Do you find swearing offensive? What’s your favorite cuss word, or its derivative?