Oh, the hand-wringing, desk-pounding, snips and snipes over at Ragan.com about the use of profanity in writing! The debate's been going on for literally months (maybe years), and it's downright amusing to see the level of emotion the subject evokes.
Face it: any writing device can be inappropriately applied, be it profanity, metaphor or a simple adjective. But I can't imagine removing any of those from my toolbox!
Today, anyone who closes himself or herself off absolutely from that which might offend risks perpetuating their own ignorance. (George Bush offends me far more than any profanity ever could, but I ignore him at my own peril!)
What's more, our perceptions of the profane change over time. Like fashion, what constitutes acceptable today may be very different just five or 10 years from now. Hot pants were once scandalous; today they're ubiquitous. Going 'commando' is the new version. (Can't wait to see how that one evolves.)
Language is a living organism. As our generation of professional writer ages and degrades into obsolesence, so too will our values and perceptions. And no matter how self-righteously we proclaim profanity (or same-sex marriage or rap music) to be unacceptable today, time will march steadily on, deaf to our objections.
Profanity can be used to great effect with the right audience and under the right circumstances. The 'wrong' audience will quickly self-select themselves out of the discussion (and maybe straight into oblivion!).