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DFC No.'s 1,2,3 and 4 
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Garen wrote:
While I think the word 'damn' is actually fine for 10, 11 and 12 year olds, I admit, I do not like the idea of a 7-year old going around using it as a new word they've learned from my strip.



There's your yardstick then, Garen.

I think you have to take each word you publish for kids at its most base level, and ask yourself if you'd be comfortable with your 7-year-old using it. Otherwise, you can actually find 'safe' versions of almost any word to justify its usage.

I fully understand your dilemma, and there are occasions where the word 'damn' has proved irresistible and irreplaceable in my own vocabulary, but if any of my kids had used it at the age of seven, eyebrows would have been raised. It may not be the most offensive of words around, but it's not one you want to legitimise for children, is it? I'm old enough to remember the first time the 'f' word was uttered during a live TV programme, and the furore that caused. These days, nobody bats an eyelid at its multiple use on TV, sometimes even before the Watershed, and we commonly have 'celebrity role models' using it almost as a catchphrase. I never, EVER thought I'd say this, but in respect of the 'thin end of the wedge' argument, Mary Whitehouse was actually right.

There are all kinds of arguments that could be applied to this one, revolving around freedom of speech, censorship, reflections of reality, over-protection of our kids. But really it all boils down to your own conscience....and that seven-year-old.

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Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:32 am
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Again, Steve - agree. Personally I do not like the overuse of the f-word on the television, just as I despair at the use of guns in (mostly American) entertainment as the hero's answer to all problems.

The only reason I actually raised this issue is because I do not consider 'damn' to be at all offensive. Looking into a bit more, as I have now, I see people are divided on its level of profanity - from 'none' to 'mild'. I've learned that if the word is used in a film, it can raise its classification to a PG (eg. 'The Greatest Game Ever Played'). Is the DFC PG? Probably not - the envelope is addressed to the child in most cases, and many of them probably open it first to devour its contents.

I looked at my strip ('Charlie Jefferson and the Tomb of Nazaleod) to see what I've done so far as far as exclamations go...

"Teeth of a ghost, it's cold!" (a phrase I made up)
"Oh hush it!" (I should say this bit is a Victorian era flashback scene)
"Bog off!"
"It's none of your smelly business!"
"I hate you! You're bogies!"
"And you're a great big stinking..." (doesn't get finished)
"Why you little..." (doesn't get finished)
"What the blazes?"
"Oh flip!"
"What the hell's going on?" (hmm, possible fire and brimstone here?)
"Get in you little..!" (again, doesn't get finished)
"Oh my goodness!" (an old lady)
"Will you just shut your trap for a minute?"
"And those two runts of his..." (possible problem here?)

Image

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Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:29 am
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Garen wrote:
Is the DFC PG? Probably not


Definitely not, because it's not rated at all, which is the issue. Not that it should be rated in my opinion.

I wouldn't even use "Bog off" personally, or "runts", as they could be used by young kids too. I think the criteria is that if you're introducing children to aggressively offensive phrases in a children's comic then it's wrong.

Then again I work for Toxic and we use words like "fart" so what do I know?

Lew

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Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:52 pm
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Uhm, the DFC strip I've been working on has a "Damn you" in one episode. I was kind of surprised to see it in there but, since I'm not the writer, I can't claim responsibility. Then again, it also features a character that smokes continually and that I did question, because I believe there's all sorts of guidelines in place at the moment to not expose kids to images of smoking (it's certainly forbidden in the Beano, Dandy and Toxic, as far as I know). The character made it through intact on the logic that he's a villain. Hmmm. Personally, I'm not sure I approve of teaching kids that only bad people smoke (speaking as a person raised by a perfectly nice family of smokers - !)

But it's very easy to be over-sensitive. The publisher I previously worked for banned the word "cocktail stick" from all its children's books because the use of the word "cocktail" could be seen as an encouragement to underage drinking :roll:

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Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:25 pm
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Garen wrote:
Thanks for your reply, Mike, appreciate your thoughts.

At the risk of sliding helplessly into off-topicdom, I must say that 'damn' is not short for 'damn you'. Damn means to condemn, it exists quite happily on its own. If you have "lies and more damn lies" you are not saying "lies and more damn you lies", you are saying the lies are damned, or condemned.


Afraid you're wrong, Garen. The phrase is, correctly, "lies and more damned lies", although if you render the phrase idiomatically, you could use "damn lies". In any case, it doesn't change the meaning. Damned, in this case, is an adjective i.e. the lies are damned.

In your script, however, presumably you are not having your character utter a disconnected adjective - he may as well shout "Pink" or "Average". The exclamation "Damn!" is a shortening of "Damnation!", or more commonly, "Damn you!" or "Damn it!"


Garen wrote:
Its religious use is not profane, though it has been appropriated as such since. Its past tense is 'damned' (eg. condemned to hell, or to peeling potatoes):

"And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith"

Then there is the act of 'damnation' itself.

"and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation"


What I actually said was that "damn" and its variants have perfectly acceptable usages, and some that are regarded as profane. Which is just what you said there, really.

Garen wrote:
Things or people can be 'damnable'. 'Damn you' is just a phrase that uses the adjective - 'damn'. I concede that you are probably correct that the word 'damn' is not uttered by vicars all over, but only because its augmentative versions are more useable in a religious context: damnation, damned etc. - perfectly acceptable uses in front of the congregation, I'm sure (hmmm - edited to add this link).


People can be described as damnable with no risk of offence (at least in language terms!), but in the phrase "Damn you!", damn is certainly not an adjective - it's a verb. You are damning the object of the sentence. That's why it's offensive to some people.

Hope you figure it out soon!

Mike


Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:37 pm
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Lew Stringer wrote:
Garen wrote:
Is the DFC PG? Probably not


Definitely not, because it's not rated at all, which is the issue. Not that it should be rated in my opinion.

I wouldn't even use "Bog off" personally, or "runts", as they could be used by young kids too. I think the criteria is that if you're introducing children to aggressively offensive phrases in a children's comic then it's wrong.

Then again I work for Toxic and we use words like "fart" so what do I know?

Lew


Agree about not rating comics, Lew. My point was that because it isn't rated, it should be extra-careful.

I think "Bog Off" is okay, but "runts" isn't. Bog off is quite child-like and absurd, whereas runts certainly isn't, and obviously carries unpleasant aural echoes of other words.


Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:41 pm
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Mike - cheers for your 'damn' notes :wink: and correction on the 'damned lies' quote - I think we're in agreement. But my main point was that the word 'damn' in itself is not short for the phrase 'damn you' - that's just a use of the diminutive (as you suggest, 'damn it' would be my meaning). But I'm getting pedantic now! I think we're in agreement... despite my clumsy reply.

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damn is certainly not an adjective

Damn it! I meant 'verb'! (okay, that's the end of using that word - I hate it now. The first (and only) time I used the f-word in front of my mum, age 11, she made me say it 100 times to the door to get it out of my system.)

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Hope you figure it out soon!

Yup - I've figured it out now. I've been writing for my intended 10-11-12 year old audience - where I think you can push a little further, but forgetting the fact that 7-8 year olds are going to see it too, and in that light I'm going to make changes.

I'm going to change 'runt'. Again, fine for older kids, but it has connotations. Like 'bitch' it has a perfectly acceptable meaning, unless used in a certain way. I *hope* 7 year olds won't know of any unpleasant aural echoes!

I'm going to draw the line at "bog off!" though :)

Thanks for everyone's thoughts, and especially those that did not go off on a Daily Mail rant about the whole thing. It's been constructive.

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Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:15 pm
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The Dail Mail? Now that is offensive! :lol:

Lew

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Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:03 pm
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Back to the DFC - issue 4 arrived today. Any thoughts on the cover? I think it's brilliant, a great idea. Would probably not have been done if it had to go on a WH Smith shelf, with half the cover being taken up by a bag with some plastic rubbish inside. I didn't even open the comic for 5 minutes while I tried to find 'The Boss'.

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Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:21 pm
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Where is the Boss then? I can't find him on the cover...


Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:25 pm
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Clue: he might like hot dogs...

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Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:30 pm
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Aha. Thanks.


Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:51 pm
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Just to play devil's advocate for a moment: chances are 7 year old kids watch shows such as Doctor Who (with semi-regular use of "bloody") and The Simpsons (with regular use of "damn", "hell", "ass", "crap" and "b******", though the latter is usually censored in UK broadcasts). In the US, Marvel's comics with an "A" rating are considered to be suitable for readers aged 9 and over, and these include the words "damn", "hell" and "crap". By using mild, PG-rated language in The DFC, aren't they merely bringing it in line with other forms of entertainment enjoyed by children in the same age bracket? Standards are different now from 20, 30, 40 years ago - you won't see someone getting the slipper or playing with fireworks now, just as you wouldn't see the word "bloody" then.

I must admit though, I'm still surprised when I see "fart" in a kids' comic. And I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the word "turd" in a copy of Jetix magazine that I'd bought for my then-7 year old god-daughter. I'm not arguing that seeing such words in a comic is a good thing, just that kids are already hearing them in other forms of entertainment, so why should comics be any different?


Sat Jun 21, 2008 12:11 pm
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PaulTwist wrote:
Just to play devil's advocate for a moment: chances are 7 year old kids watch shows such as Doctor Who (with semi-regular use of "bloody") and The Simpsons (with regular use of "damn", "hell", "ass", "crap" and "b******", though the latter is usually censored in UK broadcasts). In the US, Marvel's comics with an "A" rating are considered to be suitable for readers aged 9 and over, and these include the words "damn", "hell" and "crap". By using mild, PG-rated language in The DFC, aren't they merely bringing it in line with other forms of entertainment enjoyed by children in the same age bracket?


True, but it's a flimsy excuse to say "others are doing it so we can" if you're the one the media/PTAs decide to clamp down on.

Lew

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Sat Jun 21, 2008 12:31 pm
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to the DFC's credit i think, one b****** slipping through isn't going to corrupt a generation, especially not when used in an appropriate context. the simpsons already tackled the word b****** in one episode by repeating it constantly, within the argument that it was a perfectly legitimate word.
though, i'll admit, when i saw pullman had said b****** in his strip, i asked the DFC if this meant i could swear freely in my work, to which the response was a resounding no. spoilsports :(
i agree comical swearing (like bum, gosh, blast) is funnier than actual swearing, which is why i use it alot, but we're under an illusion if we think kids don't hear bad words on tv, and probably already know more of them than we do. so one word in one issue of a comic isn't, i don't think, reason to lambast the editors.

i hope nobody objects to me using the phrase 'cat teets' in the first of my upcoming strips O_O

jx

ps. he he. cocktail.


Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:11 am
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