The use of colorful language is not foreign to me. In certain settings I may occasionally use words that would, were I fifty years younger, result in certain punishment. My parents were more likely to spank me and send me to my room for an extended time-out than to wash my mouth out with soap. Mostly this taught me not to cuss in front of them.
Using foul language is rarely attractive. I say rarely because I learned a long time ago never to say never. In certain circumstances, cussing can make a difference. When you stub your toe really hard, blurting out a nasty word somehow lessens the pain. Otherwise, gutter talk reflects poorly on the speaker.
When I was a teenager, we had a rather extensive collection of dirty words to draw from to spice up conversations. Words like hell, damn, and ass were often used. Certain words were reserved for only the most extreme situations. Use of the f-bomb and all its permutations was relatively rare.
Not anymore. The f-word has become one of the most popular adjectives in the English language. The worst offenders are bloggers and reality television personalities.
I’ve recently visited many blogs with lists of do’s and don’ts for writers trying to get published. The f-word is liberally sprinkled throughout most of these lists. I have no idea why. Of all people, you’d think a writer could find better words to get their point across. Because they didn’t (or couldn’t), I automatically discount what they say, no matter how sage the advice may be.
Gay bloggers also tend to rely heavily upon coarse language to make a point. Some relish the use of vile and offensive names for entities who disagree with their point of view. When the offended party objects, the response is to ratchet up the name calling. For examples, check out Joe.My.God or Diary of a Mad Gay Man–links to both can be found on my blogroll.
I’d bet that any gay man in America has been on the receiving end of this kind of name calling. As with foul-mouthed writers, that gays would ever use those kinds of terms baffles me. We, of all people, should understand how hurtful and unproductive derogatory slurs can be.
I’ve thought about boycotting the blogs and television shows that rely heavily on foul language. For various reasons, I haven’t. Joe.My.God, for example, is the best source of gay news I’ve been able to find. When I can get past the language, Diary of a Mad Gay Man makes me laugh. Deb’s constant use of the f-word is not enough to keep me from watching Dexter.
The proliferation of potty mouths is a sad statement about the world we live in today. I can’t change what others do. But I can promise you’ll never see that kind of language and name-calling here on…
My Glass House