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It seems there are ardent supporters on both sides of the issue of whether to allow vulgarity in print. There are many today who believe that “anything goes”; for these people, vulgarity in print is simply a realistic reflection of what is happening in mainstream culture. To others the rise in pointless, gratuitous vulgarity seems to be a reflection of the general decline in civility in our culture as a whole.

We at Safari Press take the approach that in most modern cultures profanity is regarded as substandard speech and inappropriate in formal communication. We believe that vivid descriptive words can easily be found to replace offensive wording, and we urge our authors to understand that writing can be vivid, even colorful, without being an affront. We ask that our authors refrain from submitting MSS (manuscripts) to us that contain profanity and vulgarity. 

The New York Times is probably one of the best-known, and liberal, newspapers in the country. This is what the Times has to say about this issue:  “The Times virtually never prints obscene words, and it maintains a steep threshold for vulgar ones. In part the concern is for the newspaper's welcome in classrooms and on breakfast tables in diverse communities nationwide. But a larger concern is for the newspaper's character. The Times differentiates itself by taking a stand for civility in public discourse, sometimes at an acknowledged cost in the vividness of an article or two, and sometimes at the price of submitting to gibes." The Times dedicates nearly one-and-a-half pages of its style guide to its reasoning for ”we-will-not-print-bad-words philosophy,” and it cites the three instances where the paper did, in fact, permit foul language to be printed: the Watergate transcripts, the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings, and the Starr report.

Safari Press heartily agrees with this stance and wants to go on record for “taking a stand for civility in public discourse.” Safari Press believes that publishing offensive language, and to some vulgar/profane language is offensive, coarsens the tone of our publications and further desensitizes an already jaded public to the use of these words. Peggy Noonon says in an opinion column for the Wall Street Journal: (21 April 2012) “The leveling or deterioration of public behavior has got to be worrying people . . . something seems to be going terribly wrong.”  We at Safari Press see substandard speech as a lessening of a civil tone that not only reflects the general decline in civility in our culture but also the decline in the character of who we are as a people.