Do You Kiss Your Mother with that Mouth?
Is it a case of life imitating art? I believe that may be a part of where this particular problem stems from though I do not completely blame movies, music or media entirely. I do realize that yes this is a free country and that the first amendment guarantees us free speech. What troubles me is the proliferation and rampant use of foul language in everyday settings, which seems to be growing.
You may be guilty of it yourself. I will grant you that in private or under extreme stress sometimes there may be no better word in the heat of the moment to describe or fit the agony, frustration or turmoil you are currently suffering. I would admit to being as guilty as anyone of giving in and using this type of language in the past, though as of the last several years I have made a conscious effort to curb that to a number of occurrences per year that could be counted on both hands at the most. As an alternative I often times mutter complete nonsense to myself as I’m working on a frustrating or difficult project; it usually makes me laugh and lightens my mood.
|If Ralphie were a real person today he'd go blind from soap poisoning|
Back to my opening statement, consider this; Hollywood is constantly trying to push the envelope, as is the music industry in many cases. The problem with language as I see it is that they’ve gone as far as they can go. Unlike gore, sex and nudity which “artists” will continue to push the limits of, there are only so many swear words available. So the only way to go further is to just keep piling on the expletives. When the only adjective in a sentence is the constant repetition of the same four letter word (or that word conjugated various ways) it makes little sense from a grammatical or reasoning standpoint, and it completely turns me off to what I’m watching (in this example).
Given the proliferation of such language in pop culture, it would seem that it has thus become more accepted in daily life, including in public use. As a kid I can rarely remember hearing the F-bomb being dropped in any place but in a movie. Keep in mind I grew up with a dad in the car business and spent quite a bit of time around a business environment both blue collar and white collar. I can recall no times prior to my teenage years hearing that word used in an open setting.
However today I hear this word among many others used on a regular basis. Not only do I hear it, I read it where various web sites, social media, etc contain stories or quotes containing not only that one but sometimes that one used several times or worse. Recently I had two college age women in our waiting area/office at work. One girl took a phone call on her cell phone and had a conversation that I can only describe as very colorful with the person on the other end. She not only used several colorful phrases but dropped the F-bomb at least every other sentence (sometimes three or more times in one sentence). This was all casual conversation for her, she was not angry or stressed, she was just using it in the same way I might use the phrases “messed up” “not right”, “unbelievable”, “whoa”, “you’re kidding” “blue”, “pretty”, “awesome”, “oh yeah”. People will come to my desk and speak this way across the counter to me, or when they call on the phone. They are not necessarily directing anger or hate toward me as the word might imply in some cases but instead are using it as an adjective to describe something casually. This really makes me want to ask someone to leave and come back when they can speak in a language that resembles daily English and not the script from the latest horror movie.
Does anyone realize how stupid they sound when every sentence contains the same word used repeatedly? Yet it’s supposed to have a different meaning? Or it may be used as various parts of speech in the same sentence, noun, verb, pronoun, adjective, and adverb. When the same word is used repeatedly in this manner and it outnumbers the words that actually relate to what you’re talking about I have to say you don’t look just look and sound stupid, you come across (at least to me) as a complete moron with a limited grasp of the English language.
Read this sentence aloud and see if you can keep yourself from laughing or smirking; “I loving love you you loving mother lover, you’re such a loved up little love.”Ok so I made that up, but you get the idea I have replaced most of the parts of speech used in that sentence with the word “love”. You’re probably reading that thinking, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. Do you see what I mean about the prolific usage of the same (or even multiple) profane words in a sentence. Replacing it with something that is not profane takes away the dagger’s edge of nastiness from the sentence and instead reveals how ridiculous it sounds.
Recently I was at my physician’s office for a routine checkup. I was alone in the waiting room. Another man came in and began talking to the receptionist. He was obviously frustrated and without getting into the details being a little bit whiney for not getting his way. He proceeded to start swearing at the receptionist. Without thinking I stood up out of my chair ready to ask him to leave (I really don’t know what got into me other than not wanting to see this young lady be bullied) she glanced my way and so did he “You will not talk to me like that!” she shouted. Glancing back at me standing up now and then back at her he backed down and apologized to her. I don’t know that I would have even done anything more in that situation but I’d like to think maybe I helped her take a stand and not be verbally abused by an abrasive person.
There was a time when using extreme amounts of expletives was reserved for combat situations, prison, R rated movies, comedians looking for shock value, backrooms, bar fights and private, quiet conversations. Such words were only shouted during those emergency moments when you’re about to crash your car, fall off the roof, stumble into a frozen pond or just smashed an extremity with something heavy or when two drunks were about to duke it out.
Not long ago using such coarse language was considered rude and disgusting in the presence of women and children. Saying such words in the wrong company was in some places enough to literally get you kicked out of an establishment, knocked out or in some cases maybe even have a gun pointed at you. In fact when I was a kid I can remember my grandmother saying that as a girl (think 1930’s) she was walking down the street with her older brother, a man walked by and said something foul (she never would say what the word was), my great uncle (her brother) proceeded to knockout the other man and leave him lying in the street for speaking in such a manner in front of his young sister. While I see no reason for us to go back to the horse and buggy days in terms of how we deal with rude people, or the ways of life in rural Kentucky during the early 1930’s I do see a need for us to be more creative in our use of language and to exercise some courtesy, morality and civility. We should not be so coarse with each other, or so casually use these types of words, especially when we’re out in public.
Watchdog groups often cry foul over TV, music and video game violence, language or portrayal of women. They claim children may be influenced or desensitized by repeated exposure to such things. I believe as a society we may have been desensitized to the weight such foul words carry. In fact I would wager that since foul language has become so common place that not swearing may bear more leverage in a heated moment than letting loose of such words. Just think about it the next time you’re having a conversation or are stuck in a moment where you might use an expletive, be creative and see what else you can come up with.
I’ll get off my soapbox now.