About Hal’s Quotes & Notes: Language and Content

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While I enjoy an occasional foray into children’s literature, Q&N represents an adult’s reading tastes. Not, however, a taste for “adult” material (usually distinguishable by its childishness!) This collection is more restrained, in the matters of violence, sexual references, and “bad words,” than its sources, for the obvious reason that such material is less quotable.

My policy on offensive language is fairly simple: I do not omit or bowdlerize quotes because there are arguably “naughty” words, but I do find such material less attractive. There are two exceptions: the two English words I consider most likely to offend – one sexual reference and one racial epithet – do not and will not appear in this collection (although some of the sources, including some personal favorites, contain one or both).

The only case where I post a language warning is for a children’s story, written in a time and place where one of those words was accepted. I do so because the story is written to be read aloud, and the reader, depending on the audience, might need to prepare a substitute phrasing.

Some content warnings are in order. These generally have to do with sexual matters or language, and are meant to warn readers that the source – however interesting the quotes I’ve drawn from it – might not be to their taste. I do not use these routinely: if you read all of my sources that lack warnings, I can practically guarantee you will find something to offend you, anyway. To simplify matters, the warnings are reduced to notes with links to the following more-or-less graduated scale:

Content warning levels:

  1. There’s enough potentially offensive material that some might not like it.
  2. There’s enough offensive material to interfere with my enjoyment.
  3. In my opinion, this work has utterly gratuitous offensive content.
  4. This work is offensive and annoyingly obsessive about being so.

This is not a scale of merit. Level 3 (gratuitous) is potentially worse than level 4 (annoying); yet, in the right mood, level 3 might not be as bad as level 2. (That is, “gratuitously” offensive material can sometimes be enjoyed. If you have trouble understanding that, see the Monty Python “undertaker sketch” – so offensive that they ended it by having an “audience” rush the stage to put a stop to it.)

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