Recently we had a pretty big disagreement at Heave Media. Lines were drawn, and I found myself a one man army the face of what I considered to be an overly sensitive knee jerk reaction to “obscenity”. Twice in the same day I had an article pulled because of obscenities. I was given two choices; self censor the article and change the intended message or post a disclaimer and turn off potential readers.
Let me be perfectly clear, dear reader. I really hope that you find my articles entertaining and thoughtful. My writing style reflects my personality. Sometimes I use profanity to shock you into thinking, sometimes I use it to give you a good laugh, and sometimes, for the ladies, I use it to perpetuate my bad boy image. However, as much as I love you, I have to tell you that when reading my articles I reserve the right to draw the line at what I want to say. You, my friends, do not have the right to NOT be offended (or apparently wade through poor grammar). If you are the type of person who would be offended by certain words or euphemisms, please do not read my article.
The issue we ran into here at Heave was with the word “cunt” in an article about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s secret baby. Upon getting some negative feedback from a few readers, my article was pulled by the Culture Editor, Ryan Peters.
This is an artist rendering of what Ryan Peters may look like.
Here is the first email I received from Ryan, to let me know I had “crossed a line”: “So Everett’s article was really funny and actually kind of sweet at the end today. I really enjoyed it. But E, at one point you wrote: “Whore + Liar = Total Cunt.” More than a few people brought it up to me today to say they thought it was offensive, and I actually kind of agree. I don’t think it’s that much different than a term like “faggot.” I know you didn’t mean it like that at all, but I just think it probably isn’t appropriate to drop the C-bomb. I’m going to change it to something else, but that’s just so that we don’t turn off potential readers. Everett, I don’t want to censor you or anything, especially when your articles have been so great, but I think this needs to be changed.”
And then I received this email from co owner and Musician’s Liaison, Amy Dittmeier: “Cunt is offensive to ALL women, regardless of character. It’s a really good article and I enjoyed it…up until that line. Then I couldn’t get over that word and just stopped reading. I agree that we shouldn’t censor our articles. A certain amount of profanity is fine. But when you throw down words like “cunt” and “faggot” I feel that a writer’s work can lose all credibility.”
In response to the negative feedback we made a deal to change the “offensive line” and allow me to publicly respond via this article. So, this is going to be a slightly different MLC than you are used to, but we’ll be back on track with our “playlist’s for jerks” next week.
Thank god they don’t have pitchforks!
First of all I have to say this, offensive comedy is completely subjective. In my previous articles I have written terms such as “dickwad”, “asshole”, “beaner” and “bitch”. I’ve even written articles in support of euthanizing the elderly, and lambasting Christianity. All of those articles could be deemed as highly offensive to certain people. In fact, my article on the “2011 rapture” brought in the most views HEAVEmedia.com has ever gotten, and was extremely offensive to fundamentalist Christians. So, why would the word “cunt” be so offensive that and article would have to be pulled from the website? Simply put, it’s because everyone has a different level of what is acceptable and what they consider obscene. I received just as much negative feedback for “the rapture” article as I did for “Arnold’s Baby Mama Drama”. Why didn’t that article get pulled? Because it didn’t cross the line of “offensive material” that our editors toe, and that line is arbitrary.
More bitching after this quick bunny break.
I don’t write articles for people who have arbitrary lines of “offensive terminology”, and although I do include a lot of toilet humor in my articles, it is done with intention to provoke thought. When I used the term “cunt” to describe Arnold’s mistress, it was not a knock on women everywhere; it was in response to what I believed to be strongly inappropriate behavior by the one woman in question. The women I write for are strong enough, and intellectual enough to understand that the action of one woman doesn’t represent the entire female population. Therefore, the terminology used to describe the woman doesn’t reflect upon the entire female population. How could the term possibly be “offensive” to women everywhere?
As for comparing “cunt” to “faggot”…that is absolutely ridiculous. One word is used to describe one person whose actions are unconscionable and the other is used as a word of hate to repress an entire group of people with an attraction to the same sex. One term is used to label an individual based on their actions, and the other is used to label a group of people for being born the way they are. It’s not even remotely the same thing.
How’d this picture get into an article about the C-word?
I write for people who understand that words are just words. I take real issue with people who would censor, or otherwise, make a scene about offensive material, especially when they become champions of other types of “offensive comedy”. Friend of Heave, and offensive comedian, Doug Stanhope said it best in an article about a woman who heckled a comedian because she thought his comedy was too offensive: “Everyone instead questioned good taste versus bad or free speech against common decency, yet all of this responsibility is heaped on to the shoulders of the comedians and none on a random audience member who – for the price of a ticket – can wander into a dark room, stir up a ruckus and blend back into the sofa never to be heard from again.”
This is why I chose to write this article today. It’s because I love the fans of my article. They know that sometimes we have to make fun of real life hard to discuss topics like rape, cancer, disabilities, natural disasters, and even impending raptures. Does this mean I’m a heartless bastard who is incapable of being empathetic to my fellow brothers and sisters? No, it does not. By laughing at difficult subjects it takes a little bit of the sting out of life. Sometimes when life gets tough, or find ourselves in tough situations, we need to laugh. Many people have a pet issue that they feel is taboo to discuss, make jokes about, or make light of, but those issues are different for everyone else. If we tried to cater to everyone’s pet issue do you think any funny or entertaining articles would be written? So instead of censoring how about we all just lighten up a little bit? Cool?