Friday, March 30, 2012

Of F-Bombs and Freedoms

So, all year my creative writing class and I have been going around and around about the ubiquitous (well, not ubiquitous, but almost daily by a small handful of students) f-bombs and other expletives hurled during sharing time.  The "bad" language is not being used to bully other students or put anyone down.  It's usually just pure expressionism, anger and frustration expressed about human hypocrisy and the breakdown of policy, reasoning, common sense, respect or kindness.  It doesn't personally bother me, but as a professional in a public school, and as a teacher of (ideally) good writing, I must pause and consider the cost/benefit of allowing such liberties.

Classmates have privately and openly asked these students to tone down the use of "fuck."  I don't think they necessarily are offended by a single use of the word; they just seem tired of the daily barrage.  So I outlawed it for a few weeks, just as a little break, since we're all "forced" to be in that room together.  But it spontaneously came back. If Jurassic Park has taught us nothing else, it is that chaos will always find a way.

Well, now it turns out that in this era of accountability, and creating "college and career readiness" in my students, I can support my practice of permissiveness.  Check out this article which cites a study that shows that dropping a few f-bombs in the workplace lowers stress and increases group solidarity.  In terms of reducing jihadist threats, vandalism and off-task behavior, group solidarity has to be at the top of the list of school priorities.  Why else have pep rallies?   

In celebration of my newfound classroom liberalism, I offer my favorite literary manifestation of f-word frivolity and other crassness, David Sedaris's essay "You Can't Kill the Rooster" published in (I'm pretty sure...) Me Talk Pretty One Day.

Wordle: Untitled Click image to link to my highly intellectual wordle.

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