Friday, July 20, 2012

Profane Thoughts

On the way to the airport the other day, Worldwide and I were talking about profanity, and our approach to it vis a vis the Gs. As someone who doesn't really swear, except when I'm singing along with West Coast Rap (Explicit), and whose friends' and colleagues' use of profanity seems to bear scant relationship to their thoughtfulness or intelligence, I'm conflicted. You can call someone a jerk or an asshole, and the intent is not affected by whether the term employed is allowed on the Disney Channel or not.

So what message are we sending to our children, when pop songs containing forbidden words appear all over the radio with strategically placed bleeps? I'm afraid we're turning the whole thing into a joke, with the added detriment of endowing a set of words with the intoxicating allure of the forbidden. Better, I think, to show our kids by example how to use proper grammar, to help them understand that some may be offended by language, and to treat profanity in movies or song as just words in a work of art, which sometimes makes it better; sometimes worse.

Everyone knows from experience that their kids' exposure to profanity at school, and on the playground is unavoidable. But we can help them understand, at home, and through exposure to the arts, how truly powerful words can be. There doesn't seem to be anything gained from covering their ears, let alone washing their mouths out with soap.

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