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Friday, October 8, 2010

F bombs and other obscenities

My 14 year old and I were enjoying a casual stroll down the street this evening, on our way to her favorite eatery. A truck drove past and a very audible "you're shi@!ing me" came from the window. As I shook my head, I couldn't help but reflect on how frequently I've noticed what a profane society we've become. I don't think I have become one of those old, intolerant individuals---at least at 41 I hope not to be considered old. But it seems that every which way you turn, people have no problem launching obscenities. A recent visit to a college campus illustrated this point perfectly. Every corner you turned, you could hear f bombs being launched as easily as one might say "good morning".
I don't think my forty-one year old sensibilities are prude. And truth be told, I can be known to launch a few words from time to time myself. But whatever happened to the day when saying damn was strong language? Or when teens might sound like drunken truckers amongst themselves, but wouldn't dare use obscenities in the presence of an adult. These days you can hear teens curse and not bat an eye. I have had the opportunity to observe this in various settings and conclude that this phenomenon is no respecter of persons--it crosses both genders, all races, social classes and economic groups.
I am not naive enough to believe that we will ever return to the days of Andy Griffith or The Brady Bunch. Hopefully, though, we can turn the tides a bit. There was once a time when use of vulgar language and profanity was a class distinction, and those with "proper upbringing" wouldn't dare to publicly use such language. Now, though, it's a national pastime but it makes our society look bad.

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