Monday, April 23, 2007

Profanity and our times

I can remember when I was a senior in high school. I was participating in intramural volleyball. The teams were co-ed. I also had a very bad temper as a teenager, and when I felt it was necessary, I cursed like a "sailor on leave". I wasn't very good at volleyball either. My team was playing a game and I missed the ball and somebody hit my hot button. I then yelled every foul word I knew(or so it seems) at the guy, and one of the teachers took me out of the game.

The next day I went to talk to this teacher and he reminded me of the incident and told me that I was lucky I wasn't suspended from school for that display of language, especially since there were young ladies present. I asked him if I should have thrown a punch and he told me that that might have been less severe.

During the next several years my language didn't get any better. Maybe it was just as well I didn't make it into radio at the time. I would have had a short career. People would tell me about it and my standard answer would be that I didn't use the Lord's name in vain. My language would change for the better after I got married, saved, and involved in church.

Between 1980 and today I noticed that things gradually changed for the worse. Language I wouldn't use around ladies was used more by women than men. And I was in professional situations where people used the Lord's name in vain almost as often as they breathed.

I also noticed in the media things gradually changed. I would listen to John Lanigan when he had his program on 1220/WGAR, and I thought he was getting away with something when he used all sorts of innuendo. Some were appalled because he used innuendo as entertainment. Gary Dee shocked his audience, come close, and sometimes crossed the line, which caused him to be fired many times.

I know times have changed and we have lost most of our respect for each other. I can tell by the language we use without regard of who might be present.

It pains me that language we would only speak in hushed tones and not in mixed company can be said on over the air radio and television. As long as we are politically correct we can be as foul as we want. To tell someone to police their language is an infringement of their first amendment rights.

I think that a lot of radio personalities need to go back to journalism class to learn what entertainment really is. Maybe listen to some old Bill Cosby recordings, or maybe Bob Newhart, and steal some of their material.

And I think the general population needs to look at the dictionary to find some new words since a majority of people are suffering from, as my grandmother used to say, a limited vocabulary.

4 comments:

BizDecision said...

Well said! I was a toddler in the 70s and grew up in the 80s. I can remember being shocked at hearing "whore" or "slut" on shows like 'Dallas.'

Cussing on tv has gotten so bad. Bitch, slut, ho, ass, and jackass are some words that growing up, I didn't think I would ever hear on tv but today, they are way too commonplace.

Rich in Medina said...

This is timely...in my office we have been considering putting out a collection box to which everyone would donate a $1.00 if they cursed. The problem was that we couldn't agree on was was a curse word. Damn? Some said yes, some no. Personally, I think the word "sucks" is inappropriate, but others(typically the younger folks in the office)thought it was acceptable. If anything, the whole discussion has been a learning experience and thought provoker. What I find interesting is that the line in the debate are usually divided along age differences and not religious convictions.

Hast Thou Slain the Jabberwock said...

It has been said that "Profanity is the crutch of a conversational cripple."

74WIXYgrad said...

Thanks for all the comments on a subjcet I feel strongly about