Watch Your Mouth

I’ve been thinking…..

Dissenting Editor Speaks Out Against verbal pollution

I’ve been thinking…..

This summer there was a street dance in Downieville. It was billed as adult content and attendees were warned to take their children off the streets. Ok, that was nice of them, I live downtown so I enjoy all the activities including late night dances. The band was great and they may have used explicit language but it is really hard to understand the lyrics mixed with music and crowd noise. However, for some reason the announcer who had been announcing activities during the day, decided to continue talking throughout the dance. The band leader talked in a normal voice over their loudspeakers but the announcer blared loudly and it could be heard pretty much all over the downtown bowl and up the hill.

The adult content proved to be four letter words, the bad ones, like f***, sh**, f***ing asses, G**damn, some others and any combination of those words the Announcer could think of and it was annoying because there was no reason for it, it added nothing and detracted from the music and the children taken off the streets could lay in their cozy beds at home and listen to him.

This weekend the Clampers came to town. In addition to pee, vomit and drunken men staggering down Main Street was the added sound effect of how many times any man could say f*** in one sentence. It isn’t just me. Children under ten years live on the corner across from me. Though their parents keep them inside, I know if I can hear the words in my well insulated home, their ears are being assaulted too.

I wonder if I should complain or just let it go but then my thoughts turned to what being an adult means. Does using obscene language signal to society that we have now reached adulthood? It just seems all backwards to me. Shouldn’t teens be the one using the bad language until they grow out of it and have a vocabulary developed enough to have many word choices.

Most of my life, I have taken the position that a word is a word. One word is no worse than the next. Who cares if you say poop, big whoopee or shit. Why not say f*** instead of fornicate. But now I think it matters, just because of the emotional response to such words. It does not bother me when someone says f***. However, when I hear the word sh** spoken in frustration or anger I react emotionally and physically because as a child in an abusive home that word prefaced a beating or other really bad event.

As adults we spend time teaching our children not to use swear words. Some adults think we become adults when we can swear with impunity. Why not have the years between 13 and 17 swear years. I do hear teens swear a lot, kind of a showoff thing, so maybe that is a normal time, to try new things, and of all the things teens can try out , swearing may be one of the safest. Then when adult status is reached we know swearing is pretty dumb, helps nothing and can cause volatile situations.

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