The current occupant of the White House excepted, just about everyone these days acknowledges that protective masks—or “face masks,” as they’re sometimes called, as though we might confuse them with elbow masks—are here to stay for as long as COVID-19 is uncontained, or maybe forever. (In California, where I live, they’re required attire outside the home when physical distancing isn’t possible.)
Rather than see masks as an annoyance, why not regard them as an opportunity for self-expression? Fortunately, many crafty merchants appear to know exactly the sort of self-expression we Strong Languagers prefer.
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After considerable deliberation and fucking around with shit, and probably a bit of “fuck it,” we’ve redone the look of the Strong Language blog a bit, including a new banner to make it bolder and to give us a more grabby icon for Twitter and elsewhere. Among other things, it features grawlix. Grawlixes. (Grawlices? Hm, no.)
You know what grawlixes are, right? Grawlix is a word invented by Mort Walker to refer to those various symbols – some typographic, others including skulls, spirals, and lightning bolts – that cartoonists use to represent swearing. (Read more about grawlix on my blog Sesquiotica if you want.)
Well, those are innocuous, right? Simply typography and cartoons, no swearwords actually presented. Suitable for all occasions.
Ha. Like fuck they are. Ask yourself if you would use “WTF” or “OMFG” with your Sunday school teacher (or equivalent adult authority figure). We know what the F stands for. Likewise, we know what grawlixes stand for. Continue reading →