Editor’s note: Dennis Wyatt is on vacation. This column first appeared on July 3, 2012
Cussing no longer shocks me — or most of us for that matter
And that’s bad.
The “f” word is now uttered casually in the conversation of many young people as is the word that describes a female dog. This is nothing new but it didn’t hit me how prevalent it had become until the other day when I was with a group of young people in their early 20s. It was a causal chat as you’d have with your neighbors discussing the weather. For whatever reason, I started keeping track of how often the two words were uttered. In the course of five minutes, there were at least 22 times the words were uttered by two of those in the group of three.
There were no angry tones. There was no arguing. It was just a pleasant exchange — minus the cursing of course.
Not every young person by far engages in what once was politely called “potty talk” on such a casual basis. And I certainly have dropped more than a few curse words in my life although I can honestly say I’ve never used the word for a female dog to describe any person because it goes beyond just shock value to the point it is downright degrading.
How did we get to this point?
If it is the byproduct of rebelling against the norm, I’ve got bad news. In many circles it is the new norm.
It certainly doesn’t make speech more eloquent or polite. Of course, that’s an opinion of someone who considers Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “Summer Wind” music as opposed to “Broken Language” by Smoothe Da Hustler.
As for shock value, the people it is supposed to shock which I assume are people who believe social discourse should be civil are pretty much numb to it.
Cussing isn’t cool, hip, sweet nor does it rock.
Language is always evolving. And so are social norms. I get that.
But what happened to being respectful of others? Mothers once admonished their kids to be sweet and have manners. Fathers imposed standards of behavior. Those quaint concepts are still being done by many parents but it is painfully clear those who push an agenda of being their kids’ friends first and foremost are starting to gain a lot of ground. If you doubt that, then rationalize kids not even out of puberty actually uttering profanity and degrading words
There is a big difference between repression and establishing firm standards.
If letting kids find themselves in terms of setting their own code of behavior evolves into a world where conservation is laced with profanity then something is obviously wrong.
And if you don’t think such words don’t evoke defensive and angry reactions in young people who hear them you are wrong. Of course, not every time someone is called a female dog is it said in anger or triggers a violent response. But guess what? It does happen more often than not.
So then why would anyone dish out such pointed words to someone they like especially when they are also tossed about in anger?
Human behavior is just like the recession. You don’t have to participate in it.
It’s all a matter of perspective and attitude.
Although I’m a rank amateur compared to a growing number of young ladies and gentlemen when it comes to bantering about obscenities and degrading words, I’m guilty to a degree of marring the spoken word with profanities occasionally.
It goes without saying even one time is too much.
Even though I’m a minor leaguer at best when it comes to today’s casual employment of cursing that would make a hardened sailor blush, I’m ashamed that I have contributed to the verbal pollution.
I’m going to work to drop what cursing I do. Cursing wears down your soul like excess pounds wear down one’s body.
It’s about respecting the language and about respecting others.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209.249.3519.