There are few (and I mean few) things that I despise more than foul language. As a lady, I make every effort to refrain and get miffed when people swear in my presence. Not just profanity but crass terms especially the ones for bodily functions. It’s all gutter-speak to me and my threshold for it is lower than ever. Somebody please tell me when profanity became socially acceptable? Perhaps, it’s the reality TV phenomenon where people swear almost constantly. I tried to watch one of them recently but gave up after about a minute. They swore so much that the whole conversation (if you could call it that) was one continuous beep. For the sake of my remaining brain cells, I changed the channel.
Almost all the reality shows (Housewives, Matchmakers, Bad girls, etc.) are known for excessive swearing; in addition to other loathsome behaviour like promiscuity, vanity, drunken brawling, etc. It’s as if people switch off their decency filters when the cameras start rolling. The worst part about all the filthiness is that it’s 99.9% unnecessary. Apparently we’ve forgotten that curse words are just that – curses and a universal sign of disrespect. Sometimes, they’re appropriate but often they’re not. There’s nothing worse than having a conversation with someone, who curses so much that we wonder if they secretly hate us.
Swearing has its place. It’s not a good place but there is a place for it. Rage, anxiety and despair usually cause us to invoke colourful metaphors. Does that mean we’re constantly in such an aggressive frame of mind? It’s very prevalent on the web where keyboard courage has people typing and texting things they’d probably never say out loud. However, there must be a reason why these are the most commonly used words in our vocabulary. Just when I thought my views may be too old-fashioned in a get-off-my-lawn kind of way, validation came from the fabulous Mr. Derek Blasberg. In his book, Very Classy: Even More Exceptional Advice for the Extremely Modern Lady, he says:
“Often a foul mouth is symptomatic of an attention craver. Lots of young women think that by using nasty words they can get some unwarranted time in the spotlight, or appear more mature. But listen, ladies, if you’re not saying something of substance, dressing it up with a few f*cks and sh*ts isn’t going to make it any more impressive.”
He’s absolutely right, of course. People swear and/or use cruddy terminologies to pass themselves off as people deserving interest. It works but at what cost? The English language is vast and varied, with multitudinous ways to express ourselves properly without debasement. The real bender is when we claim to be good and decent but our language betrays a severe shortage of quality. I’m not saying that we all should put on airs and adopt a faux upper-crust accent. However, what we say carries far more weight than how we say it. Words of wisdom, humour, humility or even sweetness won’t be emphasized by expletives. In fact, I’d wager it’s quite the opposite.
Of all the people to have the final say on bad language, it was Lord Jesus who said it best in Matthew Chapter 15:18 to 20a (NIV):
18But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person…”