Friday, February 15, 2008

A Word on Profanity Or (Please God Save Us From the No No Words.)

Listen. We are all adults here right? Right. If your not, stop reading now. Actually scratch that, if your young, read on little one and learn something. I would like to talk about the words that we don’t say, or rather, the words that we ALL say, but not around certain people. George Carlins list was:
1. Shit
2. Piss
3. Fuck
4. Cunt
5. Cocksucker
6. Motherfucker
7. Tits

Take a good long look at those words. How do you feel? Do you feel ashamed? Dirty? Or do you feel like most of the world and you just plain don’t care. It’s the words you hear (and probably use) every day, but now they’re in a list. Why are these words banned from polite society, so much so that people have to pay large sums of money and publicly apologize for the use of them?
These words, for the most part, have very negative connotations, but so do these:

1. War
2. Torture
3. Rape
4. Murder
5. Genocide
6. Suicide
7. Britney Spears

This looks like the rundown sheet for a normal Fox news broadcast. Those words (which mean much much worse and TANGEABLE things) are repeated over and over every day on TV, in papers, and in the office.
No one bats an eyelash when someone utters something like;
"Did you hear about the Genocide that happened in (other country)? It looks like it might be War, what with all the murdering and torture going on over there. Britney Spears was talking about it."

But it’s all gasping and meetings if someone says;
"Mediterranean wrap for lunch? Fuck that."

I don’t get it.

So what’s the deal? Why are we so scared of saying fuck now and then? by they way, don’t get me wrong, racial slurs are racial slurs, you don’t fuck around with those.
From Wikipedia:
Terms of profanity have historically been taboo words. Some words that were originally considered profane have become much less offensive with the increasing secularity of society. Others, primarily racial or ethnic epithets, can be considered part of hate speech and are now considered more profane than they once were.

This brings me to a recent event.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Television network NBC apologized for itself and actress Jane Fonda on Thursday after she used an offensive word on the "Today Show."

Fonda was on the program on Thursday with playwright Eve Ensler to discuss Ensler's award-winning work, "The Vagina Monologues," in which women talk about their sexuality using frank language about their bodies and references to genitalia.

"Vagina Monologues" has spawned a movement called V-Day that aims to stop violence against women, and it is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Thursday.

On the "Today Show," Fonda explained how she first heard of "Vagina Monologues."
"I was asked to do a monologue called 'C***,' and I said, 'I don't think so. I've got enough problems," Fonda said. "Then I came to New York to see Eve and it changed my life."

The "Today Show" airs live on the U.S. East Coast, and the word was not muted or bleeped. Moments later program host Meredith Vieira apologized to audiences.

"Jane Fonda inadvertently said a word from the play that you don't say on television. It was a slip and obviously she apologizes and so do we," Vieira said. "We would do nothing to offend the audience, so please accept that apology."

U.S. broadcast standards and practices bar the use of the word uttered by Fonda.

NBC said for other U.S. time zones, it silenced the word and covered the video with a still photo when Fonda uttered it.

Seriously? Are we so far gone as a people that even seeing someone MOUTH the word cunt (even when used in a situation where its NOT negative to women) is offensive in the extreme? While, on the same channel, they showed video taken with a cell phone of a bloody dieing student from Illinois college just days later? That is fucking hypocrisy my friends.
Some might say "That’s the real world, Will. That’s why they show it on the news." Yes it is the real world. Just as much as Jane Fonda saying Cunt on TV and just as much as me saying Fuck.

Edit: I just got an email here at work that proves my point. it was an attachment of a slideshow with amazing grace playing in the background. It was filled with pictures of very nice things, some scenes from nature, than came the "patriotic" pictures. Scenes of children crying because their daddies were soldiers leaving for war, pictures if children crying and dieing in other countries. children starving and weeping over dead parents. A child crying and screaming while clearly holding out an arm that has been recently amputated. Then comes the Reply-all emails of that was beautiful and I cried when I watched that. If these things are acceptable at work, then I should be able to voice my opinion using whatever language I fucking like.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree with you. Words are only offensive when directed at an individual or group and it should be up to that individual or group to decide if they are offended, not the FCC or gov't.

  2. I agree to some extent, although I believe when you're in public where younger children (who easily emulate what it is that adults do), some discretion should be used. Now, I'm not saying censor yourself 100%, but, you know, use an indoor voice. I know quite a few people who don't know what an indoor voice is. On top of that, they swear like sailors. When I've been with them, and the voices carry, and I see the parents giving me the evil eye as if I'm the one saying it..well, needless to say it's uncomfortable.

    It's one thing if people are just being hypocrites and getting offended over something they have probably said at some point in their lives. It's another if it's a child that's being exposed to words that, in my opinion, they shouldn't know even exist until they're older. (Of course, this is just my personal opinion)

    I dunno, I'm mostly for being considerate of others, but there are some people you just can't please, and will find anything they can to be offended about. And to those people, I say, "Fuck you."