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Internet Articles and Leaving the Expletives at Home

The following can be added to my canon of "Old Man Ranting" articles. Previous rants have tackled such topics as click bait headlines and people taking the title of "President of the United States" and shortening it to the term POTUS.

Clicking on headlines on the internet can be a hazardous risk. There is so much information out there it can be hard to filter what is going to yield an interesting article and what is going to yield simply a fluff article that is traffic driven because of a click bait headline.

The internet has a great many number of writers that write thoughtful and entertaining posts and articles. To these writers, I applaud you. Thank you for your time and dedication to the craft.

The reason I'm here today, though, is to talk about an alarming trend I've noticed on many websites and the articles they post. It seems, that in order to either A.) feel hip and fresh or B) to make up for lazy writing, articles are being overwrought with expletives. I reached a breaking point on reading these sort of articles when I read this article during my morning traversing of the internet.

Before I get much further into this, let me explain that I don't mind cursing. You can talk like a sailor with the saltiest mouth of all time and it's not going to bother me. 

As a playwright and novelist, I also can be generous of my use curse words. Often times they help to create the world of the play or novel, and a good curse word can also add to the flavor of a character.

The trick is this: the less they are used, the more powerful they can be.

In reading articles across various websites, I've noticed expletive filled articles seem to be gaining momentum. Over at Elite Daily, it's pretty much the norm that posts and articles will be filled with a lot of this: F***. 

Okay. I get it. They at least have a bit of decency in typing well placed asterisks, even though it's pretty evident what the word is. And I've come to expect it of the more personal articles on this site. Still don't really approve of the cursing, per se (just spell out the word if you're at least going to use it), but at least there can be information and interesting articles on this website.

The problem that made me reach a tipping point today was this: the opinion piece doesn't even seem that well researched or thought out. Throw in expletives every other sentence and the piece causes me, the reader, to lose any sort of value I may have given to your opinion.

To think, I gave the site I click. I suppose that's all that matters, in most cases.

I clicked on the headline because of only a slight interest in the subject. There are millions who enjoy The Big Bang Theory immensely. Though I have seen plenty of episodes over the years, I don't love the show. Nor do I hate it and think it's the worst thing on television. I mean, it's not Two and a Half Men. (Now there's a show that shouldn't have lasted ten years, let alone five.)

Technically not a click bait headline, it was still a pretty bold claim for someone to call The Big Bang Theory one of the worst shows in the history of television. I was intrigued, figuring there would at least be some validity to back up the headline.

Instead, I was treated to a bunch of curse words that didn't enhance the article. I was treated to ideas by a writer that were seemingly based off of reading a description of the show on IMDB. Or perhaps the author of the article had only seen the first two to three seasons of the show, when in fact they are currently in their ninth.

Failing to research an article before writing it is one thing. It's the expletives that are the issue at hand. We get it, author. You don't like the show and you are fired up about it. If I was talking with you in person about the show, the cursing would be a great way to display your contempt and vile towards it. This is an article, though. There is a much better way to drive home your point without the unneeded curse words.

By the way, this was not some random website I stumbled upon. It was featured this morning on the front page of Yahoo. It is not specifically by an article written for Yahoo, but was still one of their suggested articles to read in the column below their main headlines.

Perhaps the problem is much deeper than click bait headlines. These, of course, are what make websites money. It's all about a click-through rate and all that technical stuff. Well-written articles are suffering because of it. The idea of curse words being featured so prominently in articles is disheartening. Coupled with a poorly researched and poorly executed article, matters are made even worse, leaving me with an empty feeling and sympathy for the real writers of the world trying to make a living.

Of course, maybe I'm in the minority. Maybe people don't care about curse words and don't care how well the articles are written. If that's the case, as a writer in this competitive world of the internet, I'm totally f***ed.




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