Saturday, May 20, 2006

Cussing & Cursing and Swearing OH MY!

Remember when we were kids, it was scandalous to hear anyone say crap, damn, ass or bitch on daytime TV? Now it's pretty common, since those words seem to permeate our very culture lately. I still perk my ears up and think "Whoa, that was brave on network TV!" if I hear something colorful on The View or other daytime show, but it's not shocking like it would have been 10 years ago.

Now, I'm no prude, and I'm not a virgin to using crap, damn, ass, bitch, twat, piss, dick, or shit (among others). There are words that I hate and will not use, and cringe every time someone says or writes them (F***K, C**T) and I just feel dirty hearing them. I think in my entire 31 yrs I've only used the F* word twice, both in print. I don't look down on anyone who uses these words, per se, I just don't like hearing or using them.

Curse words are great for punctuating certain points. There's also a certain humor to using them in the right context. Certainly, they're expected in some instances, especially emphasizing anger and disgust. I understand the "need" for them and why they're actually a valuable part of our language. But in the appropriate contexts at the appropriate times.

What I don't get is why some people use them JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN. I don't understand the big deal in being allowed to use them in certain places and on certain web sites. I don't understand why being asked not to cuss is a bad thing. It doesn't make someone appear smarter. It doesn't help prove a point. It doesn't make people listen up, but rather it can actually make people tune you out. An occasional curse here and there, great, we all do it... but every other word? Every comment? Every post whether positive or negative? Don't people realize that it DOES make a negative impression on their intelligence and social status? Yes, it does make someone seem trailer trashy, uneducated and/or ghetto-fabulous to speak "like a truck driver" all the time.

My father cussed all the time when I was a kid. Even when was very young, I didn't like it. It embarrassed me even though he wouldn't use that language in public, only around us, my mother, and close friends or family. He seems better now about it, but of course my exposure to him is (thankfully) limited. Yes, he has cussed the F* word in front of my kids, but he's usually pretty careful about it. Moreso than when I was a kid myself. As a matter of fact, he was quite free with cussing and using any curse word in front of me and my brothers, yet, he would go ballistic if we hinted at using those words ourselves. Geez, we couldn't and STILL can't say "Oh my God" in front of my parents OR my grandparents. It's blasphemy, don't you know. I say it, but have curbed that too since hearing Juliana repeat it. It just doesn't sound right somehow to hear a 5 yr old say "Oh my GOD!" Now, of course, my brothers cuss worse than my dad did but usually in high humorous spirits, and they even cuss in front of him and my (gasp!) elderly grandmother. They barely bat an eyelash. Well, my Gramma will look surprised but not say anything. Hell, this past weekend they got my Gramma to say "shit"!!! Twice!

Now maybe it's me still being intimidated by my dad, but I will not curse in front of him. The worst I've said in front of my parents is "crap." I just realized that my mom never really cussed much, and the only time she really does even now is when she's telling a joke or a story about someone else who's cussing. My leanings to cussing are more like hers I guess, although I'm all for a "God damnit!" and a "Oh shit, now what?" every now and then. I use it more for humor or when I'm truly pissed off, but I'm also very careful because of the kids. Since Juliana reads what I type over my shoulder half the time, I have to be very careful in writing as well. It sucks, really, but a sensor isn't so bad. The more you cuss, the less intelligent you sound. The less your POINT is heard or even recognized. I'm much more likely to dismiss someone's argument/point if it's littered with cussing every other word. My eyes glaze over and I let out a big {{{sigh}}} thinking "I know there's a valid point in there somewhere."

So really, what's the big deal? It's become too commonplace, too gutteral in everyday language. Maybe that's part of why Americans seem so crass and uneducated to other countries. We seem so low rent and tacky and boisterous and over-bearing because our language isn't refined any more. We're not so worried about what other people think any more. We're so focused on living our own lives and looking out for Number One that even our language reflects that. Cussing and cursing and swearing to other people just isn't respectful.

I've run into people in public who cuss loudly and often in public. Not caring how rude or awful it sounds. And you can tell that it's normal to pepper conversations with F* and shit and C*. If there's any place it's NOT appropriate it's in public. It's just so disrespectful to those listening. People you speak with whether you know them or not deserve to be shown respect through language because cussing IS offensive. That's the whole reason it's cussing! The whole PURPOSE of curse words is to be disrespectful! We all need a bit of that and to loosen up, but I'm just so... I don't know. Disillusioned? I'm disillusioned that offensive language is so common-place and normal now, as if no one deserved the respect of formal, common language.

Maybe I am a prude, to a point. But really, I just don't get the appeal of cussing ALL THE TIME. It's not a huge deal to me, that's all.

Rant over.

1 comment:

jackie said...

LOL, this is too funny. Your "worst" words are my favorites to say lol. I feel so grown up :)

Jackie