Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

What the?…

While I understand a person’s need to express him/herself, I am not a big fan of the curse word.  My grandpa Andy used to say, “If a man can’t be creative in his attempts to express himself, he ends up resorting to primitive language, forced to break words down to four simple letters.  Let me tell you, it is not a smart man who resorts to cussing.” 

&#*% straight, Grandpa.

According to Oxford Dictionaries there are at least a quarter of a million “distinct English words” and that doesn’t even begin to account for the not-so-distinct and slang words floating around out there in the cosmos.  With all of those choices, I have to believe that there are better options to choose from when one is trying to put a very pointed blankety-blank-blank point across to their listening audience.

A study was done by the Department of Communication Studies at Virginia Tech to examine how profanity was used as a source of “communication power and control”.  Yes, it does seem that folks who pepper their dialogue with expletives (you know like: %&$# or $!*^ and the multiple derivations of +%*! or &<**) seem to be trying to exert additional strength and domination through the shock value of their tiny little words.

I, for one, am not impressed (nor feeling particularly controlled by you, dirty birds).

Then again, maybe I’m not your average bear.  Words have great meaning to me.  I don’t take them lightly and when someone chooses to continually resort to using the smallest ones their brain will let escape… well, Sorry Charlie.  You lost my interest in whatever it was you were trying to say or punctuate.  Even if it was your overwhelming passion about a subject that led you to utilize profanity in your effort to impress upon me the importance of your words, I sort of stopped listening to you awhile ago.

Not to set myself up as some high-collared, Victorian prude who is totally against curse words.  Know that there is something about listening to people going off on a blue streak that makes me laugh.  Not just chuckle, either – I’m talkin’ inappropriate giggling at a funeral with your grandma giving you the evil eye kind of laughing.  Granted, if there is angry spittle around the corner of the mouth of the curser and I am the targeted cursee, it’s not so funny.  However, being in the cheap seats viewing someone come completely unhinged with profanity is just raucously funny to me (the YouTube video of the frustrated motorhome salesman outtakes?  Wrecked me).

To that end, I’m also a big fan of George Carlin’s routine about the history and many uses of one particularly popular four-letter word.  Not because I’m a fan of the word itself, but I am absolutely amazed at Mr. Carlin’s ability to show the complete inanity of the word.  He has distilled it down until it is crystal clear, how silly it is to shove one word into every possible conversational angle (Noun! Verb! Adjective!), rendering it ridiculous by the time he’s finished with his two minute diatribe.

The Virginia Tech Study, which was titled “Sex Differences in Uses and Perceptions of Profanity” reported that more males than females felt that profanity provided a “demonstration of social power and serves to make the user socially acceptable” – but I’ve noticed a fair number of not-so-fair damsels who regularly color the air around them with blue language.  Perhaps they think that it makes them look somehow bigger on the playground, keeping bullies at bay and helps them to be heard over the din of their playmates.  Whatever their motivation, it is a trend I wish would stop.  The world is an ugly enough place without littering it with wasted words, especially if you’re trying to say something important.

Otherwise, feel free to continue walking through life unfiltered.  Just know that some of us are going to be laughing.  Not necessarily with you.

 

The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.” – George Washington

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