Monday, March 29, 2010

Modern Vulgarity

So let's face it: vulgarity has become a regular, everyday, nearly acceptable part of our day to day conversation. How many of you actually go an entire day without at least saying the word "jerk?" Not swearing, you say? Tell my brother and his Zest stained tongue that. My grandmother thought it a strong enough word to scrub his mouth until it was zestfully clean, and that was in the mid-nineties. That and a few other words that the majority of us (that is, us born after 1930) would never consider swearwords (like suck, pimp, etc.) were enough to earn us a few whacks with my grandma's flyswatter (it sounds like nothing, but I assure you, with the right flick of the wrist, that shit stings). The point I'm trying to make is that time heals all wounds; especially those caused by the masses and what is deemed socially acceptable for base conversation.Consider this quote from Bill Bryson's Mother Tongue, a book that examines the nature and origin of English: "in almost all cultures, swearing involves one or more of the following: filth, the forbidden...and the sacred, and usually all three" (p. 215).

In the thirties, when my Grandmother would have been a teenager, prostitution being called forbidden filth wouldn't have done enough to express how poorly it was perceived. It was something that was just ignored, especially in the mid/southwest, where my grandmother was raised on a small farm by God-fearing people. Currently, we have phone books in major cities loaded with "escort service" listings; we have a "ranch" in Las Vegas where prostitution goes on...legally, I think? And there's a BBC program (Secret Diary of a Call Girl) that humanizes a very real, very popular, prostitute. While Billie Piper's character in SDOACG (a bad anagram, I know, but I did not feel like typing the title again (yes, I know I've spent more time typing this than I would have the title of that show, but I'm trying to be clever, dammit. Respect my efforts!)) while it may be nothing more than a fictional depiction of a girl trying to make it in the world without a man to collect the dough and dole out misdirected backhands, we can see why the word pimp has lost a great deal of it's impact since 1939. We no longer see it as forbidden, as filth, but as a part of society. (At the time of writing, I'm ashamed to admit I'm actually watching a "professional" wrestling program that features a pimp character. The fans are actually chanting something or other about him pimping as he delivers a speech and has a female actress request he make her his "hoe.")


I realize my example above doesn't do much to explain why other "four letter words" we hear day to day are perceived less as vulgar and more as colloquial, but doesn't this sentence take care of that for me? My over-explanation here is just my way of saying, albeit cautiously (hence the advisory against the explicit being added to the tag line under our title), what's the big fucking deal?

-j


3 comments:

MScottW said...

Where the fuck do I start? You did this for me, you son of a bitch, didn't you? How fucking sweet! My cunt bus driver in high school busted me for saying ass and friggin'. (she was actually a sweet old bitch!) She was of the 1930s era old bitch language censoring ilk. My 7th grade earth science teacher (Whorey McTwatson) used to bust me for words she THOUGHT I was saying. I nearly got detention for saying "funk dat". Can you fucking imagine that?

Now, you're probably reading this and thinking nothing of any of it. You're so desensitized to my cursing that you don't even see the bad words. I'd like to try a little experiment.

Where do I start? You did this for me, didn't you? How sweet! My bus driver in high school busted me for saying "ass and friggin'." (she was actually a sweet old lady) She was of the 1930s era language censoring ilk. My 7th grade earth science teacher (Mrs. Cavo) used to bust me for words she THOUGHT I was saying. I nearly got detention for saying "funk dat". Can you imagine that?

How did that read? Was it the same, or did you insert the curses that I normally would have thrown in there? Did you make up some of your own after having read my filth-ridden entry prior?

My point is this: I have ruined you all for filth. I have taken what others have done, said, written, and taken it to a whole new level for so called "daily-basis vulgarity." Anyone who is still upset at dirty language and potty mouths can cry me a fucking river, build a god damned bridge and SHUT THE FUCK UP.

George Carlin said it best:
"...There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those words in and of themselves. They're only words. It's the context that counts. It's the user. It's the intention behind the words that makes them good or bad. The words are completely neutral. The words are innocent. I get tired of people talking about bad words and bad language. Bullshit! It's the context that makes them good or bad. The context. That makes them good or bad. ... They're only words. You can't be afraid of words that speak the truth, even if it's an unpleasant truth..."

I deleted some crazier parts of that, but you get his point. I didn't feel like starting a fucking race war even quoting words that are racist. He says the words themselves aren't racist, it's the racist asshole using them that is the problem.

Was that wordy enough for you, asshole? lol

MScottW said...

Shit. Can't figure out how to edit posts on iPod touch.

That should say, in the last paragraph, "words that are generally percieved as racist" to continue my point instead of contradicting it.

MScottW said...

I also think the the picture you lead off with is fucking gross. Between the bad teeth and zits, I can't do anything but thing of vulgar ways to describe my hatred with that picture. FUCK.

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