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Pooch Cafe gets “bloody”

We’ve discussed the appropriateness of swear words on this blog before, but Paul Gilligan writes on his Pooch Cafe blog about the troubles finding the appropriate euphemism that doesn’t have double meanings for international audiences.

Anyone who has spent even a small amount of time with the strip will have noticed Poncho’s penchant for spouting off. The family-friendly vibe of the comics page necessitates keeping Poncho’s expletives G-rated, which presents a challenge: people in the midst of an eye-popping conniption don’t usually choose words like “gosh” and “golly”. So I began using the word “friggin'”. Well, I was informed quite heatedly by a few elderly folks of the British persuasion that “friggin'” actually had a meaning sexual in nature which for the sake of any gentler readers of this blog I will avoid defining here. So then I tried using the word “freakin'” in Poncho’s outbursts. This caused some complaints from people who felt “freakin'” was a too thinly veiled substitute for a certain other word that starts with “f”. One paper even took it upon themselves to change the “freakin'” to “friggin'” , which provoked another letter from one of the earlier British complainants in which he now vowed to never allow his grandchildren to read my “smut” again.

Community Comments

#1 Mike Wilson
January/23/2008
@ 7:51 am

Wow. I love Pooch Cafe and I’ve never found anything offensive in the way Poncho speaks. I’ve wondered what words are appropriate before myself, when working on my own amatuer strips. The words “friggin'” and “freakin'” never seemed that bad. I wonder if its a vocal minority that are making the complaints. I can’t believe a lot of people would have problems with the word “freakin'”.

#2 Scott Metzger
January/23/2008
@ 9:41 am

One paper even took it upon themselves to change the â??freakinâ??â? to â??frigginâ??

Wow, that’s quite an improvement. That editor earned his money that day.

#3 josh shalek
January/23/2008
@ 2:42 pm

Censoring those words is @%#$ *&$%#@ *&&@@# absurd.

I bet that’s why Donald Duck spoke so unintelligibly. He probably swore like a sailor, but nobody would ever know.

#4 Rich Diesslin
January/23/2008
@ 2:42 pm

I seem to remember a Bill Cosby album or show (when he was the b-ball coach before his really big hit show) where his team kept cussing and getting fouls. So he told them to use substitutes like “Oh peanut butter and jelly sandwiches” and other every day words. It was a hoot and had the same effect with no one being able to penalize them. Since that was verbal (and inflection carries a lot of meaning), not sure how it would translate into a cartoon strip .. but it might be a thought. For the record either “f” word substitutes are thinly veiled, so they have a legitimate gripe. Might as well use @#$%^!* as similar sounding euphemisms. IMO

#5 Scott Metzger
January/23/2008
@ 2:55 pm

I agree. Sometimes random tame words are funnier than using actual curse words. There’s that scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin where Steve Carell gets his back waxed. He starts dropping curse words left and right and itâ??s funny. But I thought the funniest part by far was when he yelled, “Yooow, Kelly Clarkson!!”

Scott Adams used â??carpâ?? in his strip instead of crap. It’s all about being creative. Still this freakinâ??/friggin’ thing is dumb beyond belief.

#6 Garey Mckee
January/23/2008
@ 4:58 pm

I curse often on my strip, but I draw to cops. One of the benefits to webcomics. I believe it all comes down to who your audience is, or more importantly who your editor and syndicate WANT your audience to be, which would determine what word variations they would feel were appropriate or not. That’s just me conjecturing as I type, I don’t know if that’s true or not?

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