Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Why don't I swear?

I've had brief stints here and there where I've been more relaxed with my language and have taken up various profanities. These stints have, as described, always been very brief.

Studying language, my claims of what were linguistically right and wrong changed drastically after increased exposure to the wide variety of accents, dialects, and basic word choice. I may drink milk and you may drink something more similar to melk, but I understand what you're talking about. Communication still occurs.

Where profanity is concerned, I think we, as a society, self determine what words we consider to be swear words. Or at least we give them more power as words. I think, to some extent, the more we just ignored them and didn't worry about them, the less we'd notice them at all. They might become more common and unobserved, but in taking away their attention, we'd also remove much of their power.

But here's the thing. The reason I don't swear, in general, has more to do with my love of language than it does with my discomfort with certain words. You can watch a handful of movies and there will be an F-bomb or two at least in two thirds of these. Often unnecessarily. And F-bombs are, to some extent, the softer choices for language. There are "worse" words. I honestly don't have a problem with most language in movies, unless it becomes so excessive that it starts to heavily distract from the rest of the movie. In fact, in storytelling, the occasionally well placed "hell" or "damn" can have an incredible effect. Although, in most movies (like the one F-bomb in Lincoln?) it does usually seem pretty unnecessary. I'm not really sure why they add it as part of the story at all.

One of my favorite movies to come out in the last several years is, "The King's Speech." This movie was originally debuted at a rated R level, due only to one small scene of great profanity. The profanity was part of the story, demonstrating that the King's stutter was all but absent in his moments of anger. Anyway, that scene really didn't bother me, but when they softened the scene and made it rated PG-13, I didn't really mind that either. There needed to be some excess to get the point across, but they were able to make it slightly more mild without taking away from the story. That would be a moment where I think profanity was somewhat necessary to the plot, but I can't think of any other film or movie where it was quite as important.

But, back to me and swearing. The reason I don't swear is because I already have enough trouble trying to put thoughts into words with the plethora of words on the tip of my tongue without dumbing my language down to a handful of expressive words. I firmly believe that my odd phrases and expressive nature (I'm a hand talker) do so much more to express what I wish to than any four letter word could. And I like it that way.

When I've spent time in the company of those whose language usually has an F-bomb every three words or so, it honestly gets boring and monotonous for me. The content of their mind is....cheapened by their lack of ability to articulate. Not because they are unable to articulate, as some people aren't, but because they choose to use that small handful of words to describe everything. It's like taking all the vibrant tones, shades, and hues of the rainbow and turning them into a simple gray scale. At first the contrast between the dark and light will be interesting, but after awhile, it's all kind of boring.

So, don't get me wrong, if you like to throw the occasionally profanity in there, it won't bother me at all. It's more than fine with me (although, if there are children around, I might think it is in bad taste). But if it starts to become the majority of the words coming out of your mouth, don't be surprised if I don't choose to frequent your company.

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