Thursday, January 15, 2009

Quiet cussing

Several times lately I have heard people cuss but when they come to the naughty word they say it real quietly. What's up with that? You know how it is. "What the (say it real quiet) is going on here?" Does the volume determine the offensiveness? It's also usually accompanied by a quick head-bob on the word for effect.


The Donald said...

As I've commented on my own blog regarding the lack of decorum and the coarseness of comportment in modern society, I hate be the one to sound like the apologist for the foul-mouthed. Nonetheless, I'll take a swing at this.

For the sake of transparency, I will make the admission (this is not new material, it's been posted as comments on other blogs) that there are no 'blue words' that I'm aware of that I haven't used. At one time, say, high school, I was even quite proud that I could recite, intonation for intonation, Carlin's 'Seven Words...', as well as not a few Richard Pryor routines with perfect delivery.

Today, language that would never have passed muster in '60s on TV is commonplace, even in prime-time. I've grown disgusted with SNL's reliance on raw language in lieu of actual humor. At local high schools, the 'F-bomb' is as common as any other verb or noun.

Maturity doesn't automatically follow age, but, the good news is The Good News. Over time I realized that the swear words I used weren't so clever, didn't reflect well on me, and weren't a good way to honor my Creator. I also have come to suspect that I missed some promotion opportunities early in my career in part due to language.

Today, I'm reformed, but not perfected. Old habits die hard, though as time passes, it takes less effort. It's no coincidence that it mirrors my deepening Christian maturity.

Anyway, back to your question. Given today's toxic culture, I would count it as a consolation that the speakers still recognize (many today don't) a societal Norm ("Hi Norm!" "Hiya Cliff!"). And it suggests that maybe there's hope they can reform, too.

Anonymous said...

I promise to shut the <#$%%> up next time!



Don Dodson said...

Just shout that #$%@&*! out!

The Donald said...

Usually, I am the one to chime in with smart-alec comments...

The Donald said...

Just tonight I was making dinner for the kids (my weekend), and had turned the TV on while I was toiling in the kitchen.

From the den I could hear several 'bleeps', and from the context, it was pretty evident they were 'f-bombs' or some variant. Apparently it was a new Howie Mandel reality show.

Inasmuch as all three of my children 16, 14, and 7 were watching this trash, I promptly said "I've heard enough of this" and put in a DVD which I knew to be more kid-friendly.

It's tough being a parent these days...

The Donald said...

While researching something else, I came across a related issue: minced oaths. If you're like me, you never heard that term before, but it refers to pseudo-profanities or expletive-deletives, such as 'dang', 'darn', 'golly', 'heck', 'frig' (when not referring to the icebox), and the like; words that have been altered to substantially diminish or erase the more egregious characteristics of the original terms.

While some of the minced oath variants I may have problems with (e.g.: hearing my kids say "freakin'", especially with special emphasis or head-bobs) as I believe they are demonstrative of uncouthness, others seem to be so derivative (as in a copy of a copy of a copy) that I wasn't even aware they were once considered objectionable. Nonetheless, it was kinda interesting to learn the etymologies of some of the terms.

As well, I was reminded that if I'm going to use a word or phrase, or even a plethora of them, I should know what they mean, Jéfe.

The Donald said...

And speaking of TTA references, I still think 'son of a motherless goat' has got to be one of my favorite pseudo-profanities.