In 1936 the novel Gone With the Wind used the word Damn in the ending.
In 1939 Damn was the first “swear” word to be used in a movie. The way Rhett Butler said those words was dramatic and has never been forgotten.
Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
And yet, with the passage of time it has become more and more acceptable to have stronger swear words, though there seems to be a greater acceptance of this language in movies than in books.
There is a lot of discussion among the crime writing community about the use of swearing in their work, as reviews can be marked down because of bad language. Readers don’t seem to mind death, blood and gore, but swear near them and they are offended. So, crime writers have to make the decision on whether to make their work realistic – because yes, as an ex-cop, I can tell you cops swear, and villains definitely swear, or cut the swearing to keep readers happy.
I have noticed a leaning towards removing the swear words in books. Or the books I’ve read, anyway. And I am aware of the issue and though there is some language in my books, I do take some out in the editing stage.
On the note of violence – readers being ready to read this – I will blog about the upturn in what is acceptable in this way next week.
What is it, that makes violence more acceptable in books but bad language not? Is the first question from me today. (I have a few.)
Do you think there will be a point where we stop “moving forward” with what is acceptable and go backward to the days where damn was the worst word we could write or say?
And, what is your personal tolerance?
To show you how language has progressed here is a short video, which though it is to advertise a channel that doesn’t use bad language or violence, it does show nicely the way we have moved from damn to f*ck.