Balancing Creativity and Group Sensitivities

This situation came up in LinkedIn, in my group for writers and copywriters. I’ve thought it would be nice to get input. Somebody posted a piece by a well know ad writer , who used profanity in an article. They quoted a part from the article, that used profanity, Should it be allowed?

Well, first and foremost, we operate under the LinkedIn company umbrella. If I were to take a guess, I would think they would not allow it.

I suggested to delete the article and remove any profanity from the linked to piece Instead, edit it to use simulated profanity (i.e. I don’t give a %$#&, like you see in newspaper comics or comic books).. And don’t use any profanity in the commentary regarding the article, unless it is simulated..,Then resubmit the article and commentary. Sound like a plan?

I know that books like Catcher in the Rye are full of cuss words. But you have to balance group sensitivities with using cuss words. Not that I’m a moralist in good writing, mind you. People who quote form Catcher in the Rye also use simulated cuss words in quoted book parts. People can do a Google or Bing search for the unedited piece.

Kind of like displaying the rated video of the song blurred lines by Robin Thicke. People who want the “unrated” version with nude dancing women can search for it and find it. Would you be offended if I published the video link with the nude dancing women in a LinkedIn group on music you belong to? Especially since the song video is full of sexual suggestions/ I would post the link to the rated version (i.e. fully clothed women), I would inform people there is an unrated version and might even give the keywords to conduct the search

My personal view is this. A few years ago, artists were doing crazy things. They might take a toilet or a board full of condoms and exhibit them at an art show – with their name on it, of course. Then folks would scratch their heads and ask: “is this art?” It really only shocked people the first time they saw it. But is it really art?

If a good ad writer (or good writer) needs to use profanity, then what is the point? The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger had a purpose for using profanity. It’s to capture the actual speech of youth, during the time he dated the work. But I fail to see the purpose an ad writer would achieve, unless it was to have “shock art.”

Let’s take the music video Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. I saw both the rated and unrated videos, after seeing him perform on Stephen Colbert. I personally like both video versions, but I won’t allow the unrated one to be directly linked to.

My take. If a clear majority wanted profanity and LinkedIn allowed it – so be it. In the meantime, simulated profanity (i.e. &4*#@), like you see in comic books and newspaper comic scripts, will be what I would go with. Reply it with symbols. Look at Correct usage of replacing cuss words with symbols at cuss word rules. Use the same notation they use in the comic books (i.e. point 3)

I would like input on balancing group sensitivities with creativity? Comments, suggestions or input?

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