Would You Like a Side of Profanity With Your Literature?
Via USA Today:
So I'm pitching my agent on a new book called Pray Good, Fuck Great, which is actually part of a new genre I've invented called Christian Erotica. Essentially, what this book will do is provide sexual instruction (positions, role-playing, experimentation, etc.) and teach the reader how to embrace these things while remaining true to their faith. Think of it as the happy medium between the Bible and The Kama Sutra. Whether you've been married fifty days or fifty years, Pray Good, Fuck Great is the sexual and spiritual enlightenment that no couple should be without.
This is the part where various editors lean back in their chair, thoughtfully scratching their chin and say, "Eh, I'm not really sure about that title. Can we clean it up?"
No, you cannot "clean it up." Don't you know that potty talk is all the rage in book titles?
Shit My Dad Says peaked at #9 on USA Today's bestseller's list. Do you think it would have done as well if it was called Stuff My Dad Says? Hell no!
Go The Fuck to Sleep topped out at #6 (Thanks, Sam Jackson!)
And now we've got If You Give a Kid a Cookie, Will He Shut the Fuck Up?
Marc Resnick, who served as editor of the book, said, "Whether they verbalize it or not, every parent has that moment when they want the kid to shut the fuck up."
Yeah, I get it. "Cleaning it up," as it were, would subtract from the authenticity of the sentiment, but that's just another way of saying, "Our previously grabbing title will cease to be as grabbing."
On a completely serious note, our favorite four-letter words are commonplace in film, TV, and radio. Some of them flirt with it, i.e. Meet the Fockers. Some celebrate it; see the infamous "shit" episode of South Park. Literature seemed to be that one corner of the room we hadn't yet defecated in, but it's steadily changing one "shit" and "fuck" at a time. True, there's a certain novelty to seeing a curse word on a book, and that's mostly because we, the book-buying public--we're not expecting it. There's a quirkiness about it. Or shock. And it makes me wonder if we're crossing yet another hash mark to the not-so-green pastures of an Idiocracy-type society. Are we choosing to be more crude for the attention of potential consumers, or is this the natural progression of things?
Remember the Luke Wilson quote:
People wrote books and movies, movies that had stories so you cared whose ass it was and why it was farting, and I believe that time can come again!
Pray Good, Fuck Great shall be recalled from the various slush piles of New York publishing houses. It would only contribute to an ever-increasing fad and is a prime example of ill-applied literary ethics. It's also completely fabricated. I'm pretty sure my agent would dump me if I ever seriously tried to pitch something like this.
Sound off in the comments section about curses in titles: Is it a fad? Funny? Or is it dumbing down the industry?
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