Skip to comments.Jonah Goldberg: Vulgarity invades entire culture; few options for escape
Posted on 12/28/2013 5:43:13 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
Newspapers are among the last places in America that have close to zero tolerance for [expletive deleted].
I could give you a hint about what word is between the brackets, but Id best not for fear of arousing the ire of the editing Comstocks. About twice a year, I quote a profanity from a public figure, using just the first letter of the word and then some bowdlerizing asterisks for the rest. No dice, my editor tells me. Youre writing for a family newspaper.
There was a time when such standards were the norm at major media institutions in America. Sometimes things went too far, as when Lucy and Ricky had to sleep in separate beds, lest the public get the right idea about where babies come from.
But, as Lee Siegel wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal, vulgarity has become so common in the culture that theres nothing rebellious about it anymore.
Elvis below-the-belt gyrations were taboo-breaking and suggestive. Today, theres nothing suggestive about Miley Cyrus. Nobody watching her twerk thinks, I wonder what shes getting at?
Indeed, if theres any larger message to her routine, it is simply to announce that the exception has now become the rule: vulgarity is expected, decency a surprise. (The two most rebellious comedians in my youth were Bill Cosby and Jerry Seinfeld because they kept it clean or, in Seinfelds case, at least kept it suggestive.)
But my complaint isnt really with singers, shock-jocks, comedians or whatever category Cyrus falls under. Theyre not merely immune to finger-wagging on this score, they actually think such criticism is proof theyre rebels. The wiser course is to simply yawn and move on.
No, my real complaint is with how vulgarity has gone viral. We constantly hear that there is no common culture anymore.
(Excerpt) Read more at omaha.com ...
I despise how low class we’ve become. Along with all the other garbage accepted as OK now. Idiocracy.
“If anything, the new taboo is decency.”
And that about sums it up. I have co-workers who use the f and s words in just about every sentence to point of banality.
I threw a 401k advisor out of our office and canceled our company’s contract with him because he dropped the eff bomb on our premises. He later was fired by the investment advisors that employed him. Probably not because of my yanking our very small account, but if he could talk like that at my company, he probably did it elsewhere too.
After a year, I finally complained to a day manager at our gym that most of the employees commonly use foul language for anything. This is a very open gym where anything can be heard on 1 end of the gym. I also took the opportunity to mention I think he himself is a high class guy. Very nice, friendly, and never heard him utter nasty hostile words.
‘22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”
23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.”
24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”’
I could use the language of Shakespeare, but today, these dimwits would not even know what I am talking about.
It’s bad enough, that where I live, and to whom I speak, I have to practice the “Mickey Spillane Rule”, i.e., nothing more than two syllables in each word, or you lose them!
ya know? ya know? ya know? NO I DON’T! Now, either tell me, or shut up!
ya know what im sayin? NO I DON’T!
Lastly, I do not have my ears tuned to the abomination of the English language, actually two, Ebonics and Cajun Pidgin English.
Related post here
I’ve known more than one married couple (even today) who sleep separately. Some people have bad backs, sleep warmer or cooler than their mate, snore, etc. It was more common in the 50s than it is today, but people didn’t have King sized beds in the 50s, either.
Our public square is debased.
I am not a “prude” and have no problem at all with swear words in war movies or other appropriate places, and no problem at all even with pornography (a matter I leave to individual taste) so long as it is not paraded in the public square and all over the internet like it was free candy at Holloween. There is a time and place for every purpose under heaven, but the mass culture is not the place for such a steady parade of debasing or demeaning material.
Having had my say about all that, two cents worth maybe,...
I want to add that the debasement of our constitutional liberties and the almost complete abrogation or usurpation of our representative system of governance (”you have to pass the bills to find out what’s in them” -— no budget in five years so we can’t even begin to find out where they are spending or stashing all our money -— a steady stream of lies from The Occupant, etc....... just how do American citizens participate in the formulation of public policy and in the decision-making process now?)
I find these recent changes in our civic lives far worse, even, than the offensive language on the boob toob.
So now you have, for absolutely free, not just two...but THREE cents’ worth...of my stellar wisdom.
Don’t squander it all in one place, and
Happy New Year!
On another web site somebody nominated “The Wolf of Wall Street” as the perfect examplar of Johah’s argument. I agree.
I’ve heard all these words, but I won’t tolerate them in my house. My children would never dare to talk in front of me like the actors do in some of the Hollywood movies of today.
Clark Gable’s “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn...” is far more memorable and mor meaningful than all of the language spewed in “Wolf of Wall Street” (a movie I walked out of after 10 mminutes.)
I curse very little. My acquaintances know this even if it is at a subconscious level. This has it's advantage. When I do get profane it really gets their attention and they know I mean business. Those that curse constantly are crying wolf and lose this tactic. “When I want it to stick I give it to them loud and dirty” George Patton.
In a recent critically acclaimed 700+ page novel by a woman author, the main character, throughout the 16 or so years of the action, communicates with others mainly by saying to them “F*** you!”, while in the meantime becoming an art connoisseur.
I seem to recall reading that Don Ameche, James Caviezel and Roberto Benigni were the same way.
Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me:
and to him that ordereth his conversation aright
will I shew the salvation of God.
I wasn’t aware that comic strips still exist. Interesting.
We met an interesting couple recently while traveling andl the wife & I still correspond.......most anyone would find them charming
Until the guy opens his mouth
He can barely get through any conversation without using G__D***
I can’t stand to hear this profanity .....there’s just no need to do this in polite conversation.....or ever!
He’s an educated man.....but this surely must be a turnoff to others as well
Vulgarity and horrible language are a form of violence and terror. As the author said, even when you stick to clean programming - I love ME tv - you have to it through disgusting commercials.
I watched a bio of Marvin Hamlisch very late last night and then switched to TV to something very boring so that I could fall asleep. I woke up this AM to Melissa (?) Curry advertising on HLN a show called “Cook My A** Off”. I couldn’t believe it. They actually have a show on HLN that uses a crude word in its title. I guess that’s why I never watch HLN.
Haven't seen that one, but for God's sake, steer clear of "Serial Mom". It appealed to me because of Kathleen Turner and Sam Waterson, both likeable actors (on screen). The IMDB site reviews extol it as a masterpiece of black comedy (as in graveyard). Got it from the library. I lasted longer than my wife, but after 10 minutes I hit the "eject" button.
I've been in the Navy and worked overseas and am quite familiar with vulgarity of all types, but this one hit new levels - and it was non-stop. I was stunned that such crudities were performed by such known actors. I've used some of those words in stressful situations (thumb meet hammer) but not in casual conversation.
On the TV and spoken level, while surfing, you run across conversations (court cases) where every other word is bleeped out and it is so widespread that it reaffirms Mr. Goldberg's article.
Another peeve, and I've often seen it here, is the casual use of "it/this/that/etc. sucks". Another vulgarity that's become an every-conversation epithet.
(The only time I thought that use was proper was in a bit of graffiti, which said, "Dracula sucks".
A friend of mine and his wife stopped at our place in Texas on the return leg of a cross country trip. He's an online buddy, but lives in the same area of California where I hung my hat for decades. We've got several friends in common, as well.
Anyway, what really astonished my wife and I during their visit, was their kids' potty mouths. The eldest daughter is about fifteen, and the younger girl is perhaps eleven, but you should have heard them. They didn't think a single thing of uttering every swear word in the book in front of my wife and kids.
Later, as I was chatting in another room with my buddy, he unloaded a few choice words in front of my eight year old. I reacted pretty strongly to that, and he immediately apologized. He didn't swear in front of my kids again after that, but it still sort of shocked me that his standards were so loose that he didn't think twice about using such language in front of someone else's children.
I work in a factory and my co-workers are mostly intelligent, hard-working people. But. They over-use the same few words as every imaginable part of speech.
I have zero tolerance for bad language at home and keep reminding the kids, if they want to sound stupid, just talk like that.
Depends on what one defines as vulgarity. Open vulgarity or coded vulgarity ie innuendo/double meaning.
I like the comment of legendary British comic actor Kenneth Williams who referred to ‘healthy vulgarity’, a form of comedy which is based on innuendo and its the listener who makes the rude connection, not the comic. Rude, naughty without being open and crude.
The concept of grown adults taking really pleasure in being “naughty” kinda sums it all up.