Hyper Sensitivity and Point of View

| March 3, 2011

WriterThis post is sort of a rant, but I guess it’s more of a commentary on the sad state of our hyper sensitivity.

I received an email today from someone who read one of my older articles. This person apparently took exception to the fact that I used the words “darn it.”   The article is located under the “My 2 Cents” portion of my Tidbits and Stuff site (here’s a hint: My 2 Cents means it’s my two cents).

The person took offense because he is a public school teacher and discourages his students from using “substitute words for known vulgar words.”

Tea Bag and Fire

Situations only bring out the inner thoughts of a person (as a man thinketh in his heart so is he). In other words, if you place a tea bag in boiling water, the heat draws out the flavors previously locked inside the tea bag. The tea bag didn’t change; with the addition of hot water the tea bag could no longer hide its flavor.Tea and Hot Water

In my response to the teacher, I explained that his email told me more about his way of thinking than anything else. The use of “darn it” in my life is a expression that I use in addition to dagnabbit, aw man, c’mon and probably the most offensive of them all, holy smokes! (yes, the exclamation point is always sat the end of smokes). These are words that I use when I’m expressing displeasure. They are not substitutes for known vulgar words; they are terms of displeasure (sort of the opposite of terms of endearment).

Point of View

In our hyper sensitive society, I’ve found that people seem to enjoy dissecting articles, speeches, video clips and blog posts to isolate a word or phrase, deem it offensive and then proceed to vilify the writer, speaker or performer. This saddens me.

No longer do people view the whole body of work and take the “offensive” word or phrase in context. The contents of their teabag (which views the words as offensive) takes over and they focus on the perceived negative and forego the overall positive message.

The My 2 Cents article that offended the school teacher discussed my real life “practice what you preach” situation involving the Bible verse Matthew 5:37. Do you really think I would use vulgarity when sharing a Bible lesson?

The saddest part of this situation is that instead of benefiting from the Bible lesson, this person’s tea bag caused him to focus on the word “darn” and thus made it his mission to admonish me for using a word that he considers a substitute for vulgarity. Unfortunately, I think he missed the entire purpose of the piece.

Cannot Change the WorldRant

My goal is to write informative, inspirational, sometimes thought provoking pieces and sprinkle them around in cyberspace. It is never my intention to offend anyone. However, it is also not my intention to allow everyone to chip away at my authenticity by taking small pieces of what I say out of context and admonishing me to change. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome notifications of typos, poor grammar, misspelling and factually incorrect or out dated information. Requests asking me to change who I am based on a hyper sensitive misinterpretation; no, those I won’t accept.

Whew, glad I got that one off my chest. Thanks for listening to my rant. Now it’s time for me to get back to writing real stuff.

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Category: Freelance, Self Employed

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she's not writing or commenting on NJFM, she's either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites.

Comments (26)

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  1. Chris says:

    Damn… (er, ‘darn’). Is this truly considered a ‘vulgar’ term by conscious adults?

    Dammnation refers to a subset of religious profanity and is — prima faci — profane. But neither vulgar nor obscene.

    Good grief! (fill in a more appropriate and vulgar term here)

  2. Lissie says:

    Darn – I hope your reader never finds my blog LOL
    Lissie recently posted…Farmer Update Fail Why Google Hasn’t ChangedMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      Lissie, your blog would blow his mind! I think he’d know better than to write to you complaining about the word “darn.” 🙂

  3. Renee says:

    Hi Felicia,
    I just got your welcoming newsletter and I have to say your story sounds a lot like mine(acepting any job to pay bills)Yulk! I wasn’t sure where to go to ask my question so I ended up here. By the way, I can’t believe a teacher or anyone would have a problem with your choice of language. My question is, how do I set up a website? It seems as though you need one to get started.I am a newbie at this and I’m not sure how to get started right away. Is there anything else I need in addition to the website to get going? I was thinking if I started blogging that would be a good way to get my “feet wet.” What do you think? Sorry for all the questions. I am clueless , but excited about getting started.

    Thanks a bunch,

    Renee

    • Felicia says:

      Renee, spend a little time learning about online writing before you create a website or blog. Read through this blog and a few other online writing blogs.

      Having your own blog is always helpful. In addition, write for a few content sites so you can get your feet wet. If you want information on how to start a blog, I have a link on the right for Grizzly’s Money Making blog. He provides information on how to create a blog. There’s also a link to The Freelancer Today which also provides a few step-by-step tutorials on how to create a blog and experiments in online writing.

      I’m always hesitant to provide step-by-step information to newbies. I think it’s best that you read, learn and the come up with your own game plan. I started 4 years ago. I recently did a year-by-year recap of my first four years writing online. Check out those posts. They can give you an idea of what to expect.

  4. Ignatius says:

    Why am I tempted to sneak into this guy’s classroom to talk about darning socks, damming streams, making fudge and “heck”-ling at sports events?

  5. Grandma says:

    LOL Eve…you make it sound like there is a ton of stuff to criticize Felicia for saying? LOL

  6. Eve says:

    Wow, Felicia. That guy has WAY too much time on his hands. Of all the things that you could possibly say, the worst criticism of you is your use of the word “darn”?

    Unbelievable.
    Eve recently posted…I Heart This GuyMy Profile

  7. Hi Felicia,

    I’m still reading and enjoying your blog. Poor trolls, they are very unhappy people. I wish them peace, joy, love and wellness. I also find ways to block them from ever contacting me again.

    What on earth is wrong with the word darn? Some people just don’t want to hear a good message. They’d rather conjure up a puff of evil smoke.

    You gotta’ love the net. It’s a ranters heaven. Loved your rant! It was done in good taste. You proved your point well.

    You are cherished by many and run one of the best blogs in cyberspace.

    Bless you…

  8. Bill Swan says:

    Darn,I’d hate to think what that teacher would think of what her students see on TV or other places. (sorry that’s my new pet word for the day after seeing this)
    Bill Swan recently posted…Business Lesson From Google to Content Writers – It’s About the MoneyMy Profile

  9. Judith P. says:

    Being politically correct all the time has gotten way out of hand. I write the way I speak; that’s what keeps it interesting. I don’t use vulgar words and I do use all manner of substitutes. I’ve actually thought about adding my own small dictionary on the side bar.

    I’m glad you straighten him out Felicia. Grandma is right, why would kids be reading your blog? Sounds like someone has way to much time on his hands.
    Judith P. recently posted…One Day at a TimeMy Profile

  10. Crystal says:

    Holy smokes, Felicia! Who knew someone could be THAT sensitive? I say if you visit his classroom, you should respect his wishes and use an alternate expression. When he chooses to visit your blog, however, he just needs to chill out.
    Crystal recently posted…Goodbye OutrightMy Profile

  11. Deanna says:

    If “darn” is the the most offensive word you’ve every used in a blog, then I think you are doing pretty darn good! This guy should read what’s on Twitter these days. 🙂
    Deanna recently posted…Which Writing Sites are Worth Your TimeMy Profile

  12. Ken says:

    Darn it Felicia. Now I have to go back and find every use of the word “dangnabbit” and take it out. LOL It is silly sometimes how people will overlook the content for a single word.
    Ken recently posted…Writing For Money at Hub Pages Week Two ReviewMy Profile

  13. Grandma says:

    WTF Felicia….oh, yeah, that now means “where’s the food” people…. there are many dams holding back water of all types in the world. Surprised the teacher did not point out the misspelling (dam+n – oh maybe that was the substitute…dam…) and what are school children doing reading your blogs anyways? Like they would be interested or even understand the adult topics? Why would they be on “NJFM” MOM??? Teachers should know that kids hear stuff all the time. My 6, now 7 year old grandson knows better that to say the real bad words…he uses his own substitutes. Like, we call the cat that will scratch “Bi*ch Kitty” and he calls her “Bad Word Kitty”…I love his version, and we now use that instead.

    I really hate all this “politically correct” crap, and the “offensive” crap. Cripes, you could offend a TREE if you took it far enough.

    Enough changes in history, and language already liberals and “teachers”. Why not go back to original writings and teach that? Oh, yeah, people have used cuss words to express feelings for centuries, and many worse than what we use today. Get over it! (expletive deleted works well too)

    • Felicia says:

      Grandma, next time I get such a request, I think I’ll forward the email to you and let you handle it. 🙂

      “Bad Word Kitty” that’s funny.

  14. Loretta says:

    Congratulations, Felicia, for standing up for your right to use the word darn. The downside of free speech is that people want to be free to say what they feel, but those same people want to restrict others from saying or writing things that they find distasteful or offensive. Personally, I don’t see a darn thing wrong with the word darn. I occasionally use it myself, preferring it to the more profane word that I hear tossed around which often follows the word God. You are so right; we are definitely a hyper-sensitive society. It is strange – but no coincident — that you posted this message today, because just last night I was venting about the same subject and about the downside of political correctness and all of its related, excessive restrictions including a demand that certain topics, expressions and even words be off-limit. God-speed to you, Felicia. Darn it, I probably should not have used the word God either.
    Loretta recently posted…The Name GameMy Profile

  15. Susanne says:

    It’s funny that he complained about using “substitute words for known vulgar words.” Would he have preferred you used “known vulgar words”? 🙂

    I think he was missing the point and context of your article. There are always trolls in cyberspace, make sure you maintain your authentic voice.

  16. cadebe says:

    Well put, Felicia.
    cadebe recently posted…Don’t Be A Stumbling Block To Your RewardMy Profile