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What Difference Is there in hiphop's language with those of Literary novels?

While Rap music has been derided, deservedly, for their misogynistic and foul languages, I find it strange that society has overlooked or even celebrated another medium, that constantly insert this repulsive and appalling languages . . . literary novels. Seldom, have I not come across these languages used freely, or even sparingly in some 'notable' books. After reading and listening to the high acclaim heaped on Toni Morrison, the black American writer, I decided to read one of her novels. "Sula" was my first choice, and the novel was a turnoff because of her choice of words which were used quite freely. I'd have to ask, if she would read that novel to her grandchild, if she has any.

Most African writers that I have read have been very respectable in their choice of words in the medium. Except for Achebe, whose 2nd novel, raised the ire of some Kenyans, who likened it to Indecency.

Even the newly celebrated Nigerian writer has also joined the league with her insertion of a foul language. I did not finish her novel, because I did not see the need to do so. But I just don't get this double standard. Certain words that are forbidden to be uttered in public, are freely transmitted in the literary medium. While rappers are condemned (I have no regards for them in the first place) for spewing out filthy languages, it appears that most people have accepted their inclusion in text books. If one may protest, would this hinder the "Freedom of the press", and given this excuse, what then can we say about "Freedom of speech"?

If it is true that Oprah is turning her back on rappers, then, she might as well refused to endorse or promote Toni Morrison's novels, for her inclusion of this filthy language. Unfortunately, that is not the case. At least one of her books was inducted into "Oprah's book club". I would not even gift that novel to anybody. I look at some of our African writers, and their choice of words they use in writing. Respectable. Hope it remains so.

So much for double standard!

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@Ndipe

There's something else I would like u to understand. There are just some situations that cannot be said to have been mirrored properly without at least an ounce of profanity.

For example, any work that tries to recapture certain scenes of war atrocities might as well be described as weak if it fails to create the right imagery.

Though I personally loathe the reality of the day: profanity, I loathe even more, works laced with "catcalls" as it were, "where there should be thunder". I'd go with apt representation any day.

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Oh, I see what you mean, using the same classification, adopted by the movie industry will perhaps work. But you get my point right? Rap music, deservedly, has been given a bad name, but why extol the written word that contains the same foul language? Like, what happened to clean literature? I have read Adichie, the heading in her first chapter was just a turn off, like "Could you not have come up with a better word"?

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If books were to be given different classifications or ratings like films currently are (e.g. PG, 18 e.t.c.), anyone will be able to tell the books which would tend to be sexually graphic or use profanity. If a reader then decides to ignore the ratings, he/she would only have himself/herself to blame as the ratings will act as a suitable warning (the same way they do for films).

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Certainly not@SMC, how can you know which book contains an atrocious word or not, without reading it? Moreso, with the public outcry against rap music/hiphop, I think the same outcry should be extended to books.

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The truth of the matter is that times have changed. The world has become a global village and people in Africa emulate their counterparts in the Western world. Profanity is the order of the day. Now, while I am not saying this is a positive trend, it is the reality of this day and age. Some people are of the school of thought that sex in its entirety should be obliterated from literature, but it is a fact that sex goes hand in hand with our daily lives. The manner in which it is broached by an author is what makes a difference.

Writers can adequately write without recourse to profanity in dialogue. However, there are situations where colourful language cannot be avoided, but these where possible should be kept to the minimum.

All these regardless, I do not agree that sexually graphic material/language should be expunged from literature. Rather, I think it would be better if there is some kind of censorship or classification like movies have, where books would be awarded ratings in line with how sexually explicit or graphic they are (as well as the choice of language used). This will help in ensuring that they are restricted to the appropriate age group. Also, those people who find profanity or sexually explicit material offensive will know which books to stay clear of.

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Newera, you got that right. In the past, or even in some periodicals in the country, any foul language is usually not spelled to the end, so I see no reason why publishers should disobey the 'conventional rule' (if there is any) and include those foul words. You know what I mean? I wonder what those novelists would do, if they were invited to read their novels in a public setting and they had to read those foul words in front of the children. Maybe, they might choose to be 'politically correct' and skip the words for the sake of the children, but then again, why include it in the first place? My observation, as you clearly wrote is that Africans have now adopted those words because it is acceptable in the Western literary field. Some Africans too dey do follow follow!

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Filth is filth no matter what container it comes in.

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It is obvious that Half of a yellow sun was an extremely well written piece of fiction. But I also didn't care much for the explicit adult details and language used and the only reason why I read it to the end was because i had to carry out a personal reveiw on the book. When i started reading i decided to introduce it to our readers club in church, but then i had to change my mind.

However, its a free world and writers have a choice of language they want to use. Readers in the  western tend to celebrate writers who package graphic adult details in their writings. That's a possible reason why African writer's now feel compelled to satisfy their readers in this regard.

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I feel ur pain. But wat I'd have loved u 2 do is highlight the "foul" parts of the works u claim u read, or partially read. Reason is because they might not necessarily be as offensive as u think. Some other critic might see it differently perhaps in relation 2 its relation 2 sorrounding text.

U know grammar is not just about the words, it's also about the harmony of their combination.

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I was waiting for you to go in depth about your problems with Sula, Ndipe

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