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Mario500

Profanity in Works of Fiction: Necessary or Not

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I had seen many movies based on works of fiction I thought would had been better if only they had been made without profanity (I would rather not be reminded of profanity outside of fiction). If they could be better without it, why have it in any work of fiction at all?

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Just now, Mario500 said:

I had seen many movies based on works of fiction I thought would had been better if only they had been made without profanity (I would rather not be reminded of profanity outside of fiction). If they could be better without it, why have it in any work of fiction at all?

I guess my question would be, do you have any examples of some book-to-screen adaptations you were thinking about upon starting this thread? 

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3 minutes ago, Mario500 said:

I was referring to any written work of fiction (such as a script), not just works made for books.

My question would be why does profanity upset you so? Why do you give it that power over you?

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For me, if the profanity fits the story and the characters, I don't have an issue with it.  Or if it's used for effect to emphasize a character's feelings on another character or the situation, then I don't have any issues with the profanity, sometimes I even find myself cheering for a character's use of profanity.  If the profanity seems gratuitous or doesn't really lend anything to the character or scene, then I find it off-putting, but more than likely that's more of an issue with the script than anything else. 

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10 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

For me, if the profanity fits the story and the characters, I don't have an issue with it.  Or if it's used for effect to emphasize a character's feelings on another character or the situation, then I don't have any issues with the profanity, sometimes I even find myself cheering for a character's use of profanity.  If the profanity seems gratuitous or doesn't really lend anything to the character or scene, then I find it off-putting, but more than likely that's more of an issue with the script than anything else. 

I agree completely with this.

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25 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

My question would be why does profanity upset you so?

I had never liked profanity and had never felt like using any.

25 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Why do you give it that power over you?

I had always felt power in words.

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8 minutes ago, Mario500 said:

I had never liked profanity and had never felt like using any.

I had always felt power in words.

Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate those feelings. Think about it, instead of feeling.

You also use "had", the past tense of "have". Does that mean that you no longer feel that way? I mean, someone who assigns such power to words would be careful to use the right ones, wouldn't they?

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28 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

You also use "had", the past tense of "have". Does that mean that you no longer feel that way?

No.

30 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

 I mean, someone who assigns such power to words would be careful to use the right ones, wouldn't they?

I believe I was using "had" in a proper and appropriate way.

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Thought someone would mention the Hays code trying to persuade Selznick to find some way Clark Gable could say "Frankly, my dear, I don't care" instead--And it was ultimately decided that Rhett Butler would never say anything else besides what he said in the book.

Profanity has to have a purpose, which it usually doesn't in most teen/stoner/slacker Kevin Smith comedies, otherwise, it's either gibberish, or just some rhythmic traditional melody of Richard Pryor concert films.

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2 hours ago, Mario500 said:

I had seen many movies based on works of fiction I thought would had been better if only they had been made without profanity (I would rather not be reminded of profanity outside of fiction). If they could be better without it, why have it in any work of fiction at all?

Of course, they shouldn't. Any work of fiction with profanity must be trash. It's too bad that GWTW is ruined over one profane word. I would recommend to you that if you run across a profane word in a novel or a profane word in a movie, you should stop reading that book and stop watching that movie immediately. Not being reminded of profanity outside of fiction is a larger problem. Try to stay out of as many conversations as you can.

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32 minutes ago, laffite said:

Of course, they shouldn't. Any work of fiction with profanity must be trash. It's too bad that GWTW is ruined over one profane word. I would recommend to you that if you run across a profane word in a novel or a profane word in a movie, you should stop reading that book and stop watching that movie immediately. Not being reminded of profanity outside of fiction is a larger problem. Try to stay out of as many conversations as you can.

Were you being sarcastic?

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Depends on the target market.  There are plenty of parents who don't want Hollywood bringing up their kids for them.

However if you are talking about a character type in a comedy/fiction piece targeted at the adult market, then that is a different thing.

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles had to take an R rating because of that one scene where Steve Martin lets the rental car attendant just have it with a lengthy string of F-bombs, and then she finally fires one back at him at the very end, letting him know that despite all his righteous anger, he's ... well ... out of luck. I can't imagine that scene working without the profanity. Ditto the ending of Gone With the Wind.

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I personally have come to the conclusion that profanity has been used more and more as the years go by. I mean, the Hays code in movies obviously prevented the use of profanity, along with other touchy subjects such as nudity and what they deemed to be inappropriate dialogue/situations in film. If you look at something like "Pulp Fiction", for example, the language is veery strong. I think with newer generations, there came a stronger sense of open-mindedness. I know that a lot of people my age don't mind the use of profanity in the so-called "comedy" films these days (some of them are funny, others are trying too hard and simply use profanity as a method of comedy). 

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1 hour ago, NickAndNora34 said:

I know that a lot of people my age don't mind the use of profanity in the so-called "comedy" films these days (some of them are funny, others are trying too hard and simply use profanity as a method of comedy). 

I believe this was true for many movies originally shown either through theaters or through broadcasters. 

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2 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

Planes, Trains and Automobiles had to take an R rating because of that one scene where Steve Martin lets the rental car attendant just have it with a lengthy string of F-bombs, and then she finally fires one back at him at the very end, letting him know that despite all his righteous anger, he's ... well ... out of luck. I can't imagine that scene working without the profanity. Ditto the ending of Gone With the Wind.

That scene,  "those aren't pillows!" and "Doin' the Mess Around" scenes are my favorite parts of the entire film. 

Steve Martin's "F-bomb" scene (which I believe contains something like 18 uses of the word) in the car rental place is hilarious and works completely for the scene.  This poor man, just trying to go from New York to Chicago, has been screwed by everything and everyone and finally, he has his chance to rent a car and get himself home, and he gets screwed by that too.  Up until now, he had been seething under the surface and trying to maintain his cool (somewhat) and now he's done.  He's so fed up, so mad and then has to listen to the car rental lady's inane Thanksgiving conversation ("gobble gobble") it pushes him over the edge. "You can start by wiping that [blank] dumb [blank] smile off your rosy [blank] cheeks!" Lol!

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Who can forget Chevy Chase's passionate Christmas speech in Christmas Vacation? "We're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny [blank] Kaye!" 

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2 hours ago, NickAndNora34 said:

I personally have come to the conclusion that profanity has been used more and more as the years go by. I mean, the Hays code in movies obviously prevented the use of profanity, along with other touchy subjects such as nudity and what they deemed to be inappropriate dialogue/situations in film. If you look at something like "Pulp Fiction", for example, the language is veery strong. I think with newer generations, there came a stronger sense of open-mindedness. I know that a lot of people my age don't mind the use of profanity in the so-called "comedy" films these days (some of them are funny, others are trying too hard and simply use profanity as a method of comedy). 

I would agree with this.  What's interesting is when profanity starts creeping its way into the movies.  Of course Gone With the Wind has the classic use of "damn." There are quite a few classic Hollywood films use "damn" and its variations.  In The More the Merrier, Charles Coburn's character frequently sings "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" In Picnic, William Holden's character uses "damn," stating "no damn jail" when faced with possible arrest.  It makes sense however, that Holden's character, a drifter, would use saucier language than the folks in small-town Kansas. 

I find it funny when profanity accidentally makes it into movies.  I'm fairly certain that toward the end of The Gold Diggers of 1933, when the chorus girls are scrambling trying to get dressed and on stage, one girl is overheard saying "s--- where's my shoe?" 

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I remember reading Sidney Kingsley's DEAD END and was surprised at the vulgar language in the play. I very seldom curse, but I just finished writing the first draft of a play based on an uncle of mine who was in vaudeville and I found myself using quite a bit of profanity in the dialogue. So I guess if it fits the character....

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2 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Who can forget Chevy Chase's passionate Christmas speech in Christmas Vacation? "We're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny [blank] Kaye!" 

Which was meant to reflect Chases's original Vacation speech where they were going to have so much [blank]ing fun by the end of the trip, they'd need plastic surgery to remove the [blank] smiles from their faces!  They were going to be whistling Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah out of their [blank]-holes!

("Dad, you want an aspirin?..." "Don't TOUCH!!")

2 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I find it funny when profanity accidentally makes it into movies.  I'm fairly certain that toward the end of The Gold Diggers of 1933, when the chorus girls are scrambling trying to get dressed and on stage, one girl is overheard saying "s--- where's my shoe?" 

Without going back to watch, I'm pretty sure that's "Shoe, where's my shoe?"

She's getting dressed, y'see, even though, as Aladdin says, good kids take off their clothes.  :rolleyes:

5 hours ago, hamradio said:

OK see Star Trek laced with colorful metaphors.

"Dr. McCoy...I wonder if you would do me the very great honor of eating my shorts."
 - SNL

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I am on the side of less profanity the better.
If a charactor was written as a "street" kind of lower class individual, course language illustrates their inability to think of better words to use in the situation.

And I'm not talking about Rhett Butler's use of the relatively mild "damn". Saying "I don't care" hardly has the same impact. But that's one word in 3 hours of story.

The repeated use of really offensive vulgarities (and you know which ones I mean) severely limit who can enjoy the story or movie. I can't take my 15 year old child nor my 75 year old mother to some modern movies because of the over-the-top vulgar language.

I think THE BIG LEBOWSKI is a fun oddball movie, but the language pushes my personal barrier. I think the charactors are smarter than the language they often resort to. I would have found it just as funny -actually more so- if the lead charactor actually USED "smarter" language. George Sanders biting comments comes to mind-just as nasty, but said in an intelligent way, avoiding the "easy" use of profanity.

That said, I absolutely hated CHASING AMY (1997) because the language was more vulgarities than actually communicative, expressive words.

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