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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Swearing in today’s society

Today’s society has been corrupted by vulgar and profane language like a plague upon the Earth.

We are exposed to it at the supermarket, over the back fence, and at ball games. It fills our novels, movies, and television. It spews out of the mouths of all genders and ages.

It used to be the case that a gentleman would never use profanity in the presence of a woman—and deep down he knew he shouldn’t use it anywhere. Nowadays, women swear with the best of ’em.

Small children, who have not learned to discuss much of anything yet—on an intellectual basis—are learning profanity before they learn the alphabet. It almost seems as if some of their first words are of the four-letter variety.

“There can never have been a time in history when so much filthy language is used as it is today,” wrote British scholar William Barclay. He wrote that nearly 40 years ago, image now how much worse the epidemic has become.

The tragedy is that today there are many people who have become so habituated to unclean talk that they are unaware that they are using it.

Experts say people swear for impact, but the widespread use of strong language may in fact lessen that impact, as well as lessen society’s ability to set apart certain ideas and words as sacred.

From every corner of our society, whether “taking the Lord’s name in vain” as written in the Ten Commandments or verbalizing other vulgarity, the words people use both shape and reflect modern culture in powerful ways.

Profanity is such an invasive influence; it gnaws its way into the recesses of one’s thinking and makes its presence felt at the slightest provocation. This is what happens when we allow ourselves to be unnecessarily and regularly exposed to its vileness.

Yet the plague of profanity is growing increasingly worse each year.

A recent study by the Parents Television Council found the use of profanity during the so-called “family hour” is up 58 percent from two years ago. According to the PTC, foul language on TV contributes to a general decline in civility and an erosion of moral values.

The PTC acknowledges that the specific harm caused by four-letter words is hard to pin down, but “the position seems fairly obvious,” says Melissa Caldwell, director of research for the PTC. “Foul language is the language of aggression: It can lead to violent acts. And it impoverishes the English language.”

Is this what we want to teach our youth; our children?

If it’s not OK for a child to say it, it shouldn’t be OK for an adult to say it.

We as a society know that it is wrong to use profanity as a regular part of our daily vocabulary.

Mostly it comes down to respect, if you wouldn’t talk to your mother like that, why then, would you talk to anyone else that way?

In the famous words of Bambi’s rabbit friend Thumper: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

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