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Tweets, kids and expletives

I was in a group of parents and children watching my daughter’s soccer game one recent morning, when a woman, talking on a cell phone next to me, suddenly blurted out loudly, “Get the f**k out of here!”

She wasn’t angry. She was excited. Big smile. A number of heads turned, but she offered no apology. I wanted to say something to her, but she kept talking while a few people just shifted their chairs and kids to other parts of the field, not knowing what other bombs might come out of her mouth.

Then the other day, I came across this ripe tweet from Laura Gonzalez, a teacher and Santa Rosa School Board member no less. (NOTE: I’m including asterisks where none exist.)

7:23 p.m.Oct 4th:  “Just crossed Farmers Ln, returning from Doyle Park. 2 red light runners. Mother f**kers, red means STOP. That’s how ppl die, assholes!!!”

 7:26 PM Oct 4th:  “F**k, I’m going to have to drive instead of walk my dogs since crossing the street can get you killed by ignorant mother f**kers!”

Hey, I hate crazy drivers as much as the next guy. But clean up your language.  Students follow Twitter, too.

Maybe it’s just when you have young children, you’re more sensitive to the abundance of foul language out there. But I’m sick of it. Am I alone on this?

- Paul Gullixson





49 Responses to “Tweets, kids and expletives”

  1. @Laura says:

    Look at her dozens and dozens of tweets about Rabbitt, Hernandez, and swearing. She just goes on and on with her hating.

    http://twitter.com/SoCoLaura

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  2. @Laura says:

    Now she’s calling David Rabbitt a racist just because he doesn’t like ILLEGAL immigrant sanctuaries. A law abiding citizen =/= racism.

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  3. @Elsa says:

    Heavyweights. :)

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  4. Elsa Stevens says:

    OH! I GET IT NOW! The ridiculous, lame attacks on two Latina Political Heavyweights was just a ploy to get more letter-to-the-editor web hits. It worked. Next time just print “Dead puppies, I like them.”

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  5. twins says:

    If Lisa and Laura don’t harass onetrolltorulethemall for posting anonymously, they are being hypocritical.

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  6. @@onetrolltorulethemall says:

    Yes, we have to leave the bashing to Laura against all of the council candidates she has problems with.

    You know what strangers care about? You must be a mind-reader to know what someone else cares about if they didn’t say it directly.

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  7. @@onetrolltorulethemall says:

    You didn’t say criticize Laura for her offensive language! You must love the f-bomb, too! Ha ha. I guess people are taking the naysayers seriously if they come back to argue with us. :)

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  8. @onetrolltorulethemall says:

    Obviously you *doesn’t* understand irony. It’s obvious by your silence in the face of yes, a racial epithet (!), you care more about bashing the person than offensive language. Otherwise you would’ve told us how horrible it was of the PD to leave such language up for 12 hours (or so) where children & students were seeing it.

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  9. @Michael, Mr. Gullixson mentioned “Children follow twitter,” too; but noting this doesn’t clarify the distinction between adult forums and family forums. If your point is that any forum which allows kids is a “family forum” then this seems implausible. There are plenty of forums which allow kids, but are not “family forums.” For example, the fact I’m allowed to take my five year old to see the PG rated movie Secretariat doesn’t make it a G-rated movie (ie, a curse-free experience). Rather such forums allow kids while also encoruaging parents to monitor their usage. I would consider Twitter more analogous to this than a youth Soccer game.

    I would expect Mr. Gullixson to think about such things when addressing these important issues. That he didn’t makes his commentary come across like a crass attempt to attack a community figure.

    Okay, enough for now, I’m off to the Toad in the Hole and watch the Giants-Phillies game. I may curse once or twice, so you’ve been warned! :-)

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  10. @Michael. That’s a start. It’s better than Mr. Gullixson’s commentary; but do we really want to treat all forums that “are not limited to adults only” as the same “family forums”? I don’t.

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  11. @Michael says:

    Twitter and the Press Democrat are not limited to adults only.

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  12. As the father of a five year old I share Mr. Gullixson’s concern about cursing during a youth soccer game; but his attempt to compare this to Laura Gonzalez’s tweets is a childishly over-simplistic commentary. Mr. Gullixson could have highlighted the distinction between “family settings” and “adult forums,” then challenged readers to think about this distinction when using online forums such as Twitter. That’s a discussion worthy of this public forum. Instead, Mr. Gullixson completely ignores the distinction between “family settings” and “adult forums,” then openly compares Ms. Gonzalez’s tweets to cursing in a family setting. This is the type of crassly fallacious reasoning which would fail my freshman-level Critical Thinking course. Sonoma County deserves better than this from the Director of the Press Democrat’s editorial department.

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  13. johndoe says:

    i don’t get this invasion of personal privacy in the digital age if you want something to curse about how about the fact employers are starting to use facebook,twitter and other social networking sites to dig up dirt on employee’s so they can fire them talk about invasion of privacy and this article just proves how nothing is private anymore it’s like we live in Fahrenheit 451 or something very close to what ray Bradbury envisioned if we don’t stop soon you will be judged on what you make for breakfast and told what you can and can’t say or door read or agree with

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  14. @LG says:

    Laura’s tweets are deflecting the blame onto others.

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  15. @Victoria says:

    don’t*
    :)

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  16. @Victoria says:

    Victoria is now calling us racist. Wow, I love these false accusations from people who doesn’t know us.

    You didn’t express outrage at Laura’s comment, so you must LOVE the F-word. Ha ha.

    :)

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  17. @Victoria says:

    Was that poster a school board member?

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  18. Victoria says:

    Paul, obviously that word is not offensive to everyone. Only a few people, all Hispanic, even commented on it. I guess the f bomb is not to be tolerated, but racial epithets don’t make anyone’s radar. Hmmm….

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  19. Victoria says:

    All the naysayers here might actually be taken seriously (tho highly doubtful), if they had expressed *any* outrage at the highly offensive racial epithet that was posted. Obviously, you all (all what, 2 of you) have a personal ax to grind and don’t care one bit about bad language or racism.

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  20. @Laura says:

    I can see how someone might verbally blurt out a cuss word, but to go online and tweet it, that is making a conscious effort to share those words with hundreds of people. A tweet is not a slip of the tongue.

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  21. @Lisa says:

    Lisa doesn’t think Laura should be held accountable for her actions, but anyone who disagrees with her should be.

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  22. Lisa Maldonado says:

    Paul
    I hope you can see that what was offensive to me (and I am sure to Laura) wasn’t the “bad word” but the racism and hatred behind the post. Many of us (and our children) see and hear that hatred every day. Often on the blogs and forums of this very family newspaper. I have been called an “anchor baby” “wetback” and union thug so many times by the good readers of the Press Democrat that it no longer suprises me that a comment like the one on your blog stayed up for as long as it did.
    My point is that perhaps focusing on real hate speech, the everyday “acceptable” kind might be more important than railing about people using the”F ” word “in front of the children”. The racism, sexism and hate that your own paper’s forum is full of is far more toxic to kids than a ‘bad word” uttered after a close call.

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  23. John Hudson says:

    This stuff about words being “dirty” is absolutely nuts. It imbues “dirty” words with magic properties. With one word, that people have a constitutional right to use, anyone can turn a room full of people away from an important topic and make them concentrate on the “dirty” word as the issue. This is the heritage of religious fanatics running the culture.

    Secondly, how would anyone know that certain words are “dirty” unless someone told them that they were? You cannot tell somebody not to say the magic word without saying it yourself! Just for fun, I looked up exactly what George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words You Cannot Use on Television” were. Do you know what they are? How could you know without someone telling you what they are?

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  24. Inside.Opinion says:

    Lisa,
    I deleted that comment as soon as I saw it. I’m sorry. I don’t know why people have to use language like that. It’s offensive to everyone.
    - Paul Gullixson

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  25. @Elsa says:

    City council members and school board members are both public figures. If Laura can attack all of the council members she disagrees with because of their actions and opinions, we can definitely scrutinize her poor judgment, especially when she chooses to go out of her way to make it public. Thanks, Paul!

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  26. Elsa Stevens says:

    This is my 3rd try. I don’t know if I took too long or if someone didn’t like what I was typing. Here goes something (again)…

    As a teen of the 70′s and a lifelong George Carlin fan, I’m not as offended by 4 letter words as I am violence, bigotry, and injustice of any sort. Still, my husband and I made a huge effort to clean up our language when our son’s first word was “shit”. That was 29 years ago. We still struggle to this day. Bad words are far more grating coming out of someone else’s mouth and less noticeable coming from your own. (kinda like bad breath or BO) Having said that…

    I know Laura Gonzalez from one of the many civic organizations she supports and I converse with her regularly on Facebook. The community is lucky to have her services and her students are lucky to have her as a teacher. I find her delightful.

    Anyone who uses his “bully pulpit” of a newspaper column to attempt to commit a character assassination on such a gem of a lady (and mother of Super Teen) needs to do some soul searching and plenty of apologizing to the lady and to the community.

    I’d go on in greater detail, but I’m hoping this version takes and gets printed.

    Very sincerely,
    Mrs. Elsa Stevens

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  27. @Lisa says:

    False accusations. We’re all used to you spreading lies anyway.

    One typo is EXACTLY as shameful as 8-10 in one post. :)

    You said you can’t carryon an argument with me and can not continue a conversation with me, yet you keep coming back.

    :)
    :)
    :)
    :)

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  28. Pablo Martinez says:

    I don’t know Laura, but I just looked up her Twitter profile. Not only does she use offensive language, but she also seems closed-minded… I would not want her teaching my kids.

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  29. Lisa Maldonado says:

    I guess I can take a cowardly scoundrel who posts shocking expletives and then tries to deny it in a childish and chicken fit of pique…but I absolutely can not continue a conversation with a cowardly scoundrel who hides behind anonymous names and criticizes others for spelling errors when they misspell themselves…reread your own post and then insert smiley, sarcastic emoticon here…
    Signed
    Lisa (not as scared and cowardly as you) Maldonado

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  30. @Lisa says:

    I’m glad my posts make you glad. Just because I’m a cowardly scoundrel so far beneath you highness who signs her name, that doesn’t mean I use vulgar language. Be careful with the false assumptions.

    It’s okay to change the subject from swearing to anonymity, but not from anonymity to terrible spelling? That makes me :(

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  31. Lisa Maldonado says:

    Mr Gullixson,
    Good thing you are so concerned and vigilant about the level of public discourse and people using bad language. I am certain that the type of profane expletive Ms Gonzalez used after being nearly run over would never find it’s way into your blog or a family newspaper. And yet…the extremely vicious racist and sexist hate slur against me and Ms Gonzalez has been on your blog for over 2 hours..you are probably busy monitoring our tweets. That’s more important anyway.

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  32. Lisa Maldonado says:

    And criticizing spelling on a blog post is the last refuge of a cowardly scoundrel. (I think Oscar Wilde said that….)
    Yours derisively
    Lisa (“not afraid to sign her name”) Maldonado

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  33. Lisa Maldonado says:

    I am glad you admit you are a coward. But since you remain hiding behind anonymity there is certainly no reason to believe that you are not the same profane and misogynist hater who posted at 4:37. I find your language and namecalling juvenile and offensive. And your smily emoticons are jejuene as well.

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  34. @Lisa says:

    Speaking of lowering the standards of journalism and public discourse…

    carryon
    someoone
    to
    arument
    gneralized
    benind
    key board
    (no comma where needed)
    (parentheses after punctuation)

    Oh, and name-calling!

    -The coward who knows how to spell. :)

    By the way, that profane 4:37pm post is from a different coward than the one who’s been posting regularly.

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  35. Michaele Morales says:

    What about the offensive racist comment above Mr. Gullixson, is this ok with you???

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  36. Michaele Morales says:

    It must be really slow news day for Mr. Gullixson to write about Laura’s tweets as if he, or any of the other anonymous people who are commenting have never cursed before, give me a break. Maybe Mr. Gullixson should write about the New Voter Forum this morning at Roseland school, all City Council Candidates were invited, and the only ones who didn’t show up were the Big Box slate of Ours, Bartley and Hernandez. There were almost 200 people there and were registered more than 35 new voters. I think that would have been much more newsworthy Mr. Gullixson.

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  37. Lisa Maldonado says:

    In the interests of not carryon on an argument with someoone to cowardly to sign their name (and who uses emoticons as well) I will merely point out that I made an arument in my (signed) post and did not merely attack others with gneralized accusations from benind an anonymous key board. Maybe the lowering of the public discourse and standards of journalism that is a consequence of anonymous postings is a good topic for your next blog post Paul? (Only after you have thoroughly exhausted the more important issue of swearing of course.)

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  38. @LOL says:

    Since they don’t have good arguments, they always change the subject to be about anonymity. I’ve seen it so much in the Watch Sonoma County comments.

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  39. @Lisa says:

    Way to change the subject. :)

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  40. Lisa Maldonado says:

    See what I mean? Is it’s so easy to lob vague accusations and attacks from any random anonymous post. Say what you will about Laura, but she has the guts to print her own name when she shares her opinion. I have a lot of respect for someone like that and not much for someone who hides their anger and vituperation behind a phoney handle, no matter how “appropiate” their language is.

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  41. Laura should be ashamed says:

    She continues to prove she is a terrible example for children and the community.

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  42. @Laura says:

    Laura is constantly viciously attacking anyone she disagrees with. Just one blog post about Laura, a school board member, using inappropriate language and now people are acting like she’s a victim. The tables have turned.

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  43. Lisa Maldonado says:

    Not as grating as personal attacks from people who are afraid to sign their their own names to their posts!

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  44. What a Surprise says:

    Gee, Lisa and Laura think this post is “politically motivated.” What a surprise. When you look at everything from an “us vs. them” viewpoint, it’s pretty hard to engage in conversation or read anything without political paranoia creeping in. Just like religious wackos or baseball-stat freaks, the constant stream of one-note dialogue must get pretty grating on friends and family.

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  45. Laura Gonzalez says:

    I find it rather amusing that out of my 5,000+ tweets, you have chosen to focus on the 2 where I used foul language. I admit I should have probably self-edited, but having come close to being run over by not one but two (2) red light runners, the words that came to mind were not “golly gee wizz!” I am human, not a robot, excuse my brief expletive-ridden example of humanity.

    I’m curious, have you blogged anything on the prevalence of red-light runners? What has a bigger impact on our community? My use of bad words four times, or bad drivers?

    Slow day, Paul?

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  46. Lisa Maldonado says:

    I find it interesting that Mr Gullixson takes tweets from Ms Gonzalez’ twitter feed and then publicizes them on the PDs blog where even more children (who have never heard the F word) might hear it. Ms Gonzalez’s message was meant to express her anger at the danger and frustration of being a pedestrian in a town where drivers don’t care about walkers…it was a strong and salty message but not everything has be sanitized and G rated in our society. Swearing is still legal (for adults) I believe and this public hand wringing of Gullixson’s seems contrived and politically motivated. Of all the things to use your blog for this is hardly the biggest and most pressing issue facing Santa Rosans. Must have been a slow news day nothing big popping but the Juan Gonzalez tax evasion story…guess that’s not worth writing about when serious issues like swearing are so much more crucial…

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  47. Inside.Opinion says:

    I agree, Crissi. It seems you can’t take your kids to a baseball game or a county fair anymore without hearing a few f-bombs dropped.

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  48. Crissi says:

    Not alone. My kids are older, and I still feel ashamed when we walk by people swearing loudly right out in in open.

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  49. none says:

    really classy language for a school board member. hope she’s not the only candidate on the ballot.

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