by Anniel 10/15/15
I have always been fascinated with the idea that our language abilities constrain our thought. Can we even know something if we have no words to describe the event or idea? If our vocabulary is not understood or is impoverished, are our thinking abilities limited?
So many individuals in America act like lower-class English speakers in the UK now, where every other word is vile and profane. Such profanity is no longer used to emphasize a point or even express anger. It just IS, part of the air society breathes.
My husband, Bear, reminded me of how long the profanity problem has existed and of some of the things we saw at our children’s high school. I often went lap swimming at the school on weekday mornings. The entryway to the pool building had four doors, each with three glass panes from top to bottom. One morning I went out to the entry to wait for my ride home when I noticed that all the bottom glass panes were gone and their area covered with heavy plywood. I was surprised because I hadn’t noticed the damage before
The doors were the kind where you push on a horizontal bar to unlatch and shove the door open. Five teenage boys came out of the gym adjoining the pool, and headed for separate doors. All of them were using loud, filthy language. Four of them managed to push through and open their doors, but the fifth didn’t even touch the latch, he just turned and hit the door with his butt to open it. When the door remained firmly latched, he began screaming, swearing at the door, then he turned and began kicking the door over and over as hard as he could, yelling at it to open. All he had to do was push the bar, but he seemingly couldn’t even figure that out. His friends outside watched him for a few minutes, then finally one opened the door from the outside. They left still swearing at the door.
I was too stunned to even understand what was going on. When I got home I told Bear about it. That evening our daughter told us that all the doors of that type, which were in use throughout the school hallways, were boarded up because the kids kicked and broke them. Most of the kids also used serial profanity, even in class, and cursed teachers to their faces.
That behavior was before a dumbed-down curricula, self-esteem, political correctness, and Common Core made matters worse.
There are linguistic ideas worth considering in our attempts to communicate ideas, and I do intend to think and write about them, but right now I have been struck by how profanity-laced English has become ubiquitous, and by what passes for profound thought in Social Media.
Someone no one has ever heard of can tweet, spelled out completely (which I will not do), “FU, Dr. Carson” along with a stupid selfie grinning at – what? His navel gazing brilliance or his supposed bravery? Then some news site publishes said tweet and photo as though we should be impressed, or shocked, or even care. Free speech has become about profanity, even in front of babes in arms, and the First Amendment is reduced to a moronic level.
I recall a few years ago when some writer said that The Huffington Post would never fire him because he was the most creative user of profanity in the business. I have no idea what became of him, but we appear to have a single word issue now, drop the F-Bomb and you’re a hero and defender of the Constitution.
What happens to the minds of those who think this way? Do they think in
crude sound bytes and become incapable of any deeper thought or introspection? Are great literature and philosophical ideas able to penetrate their stupor? Do they have room in their brains for truth or even value it?
We can read and write about the ideas in our minds, and even come up with our own sound bytes if necessary, but if no one else is reading and writing, or even thinking, what are our options? Reading and writing may not even be a possibility now for many of our children, miseducated as they are by our floundering Common Core schools.
I really do despair at the minds of so many going to waste.
P.S. I see on Drudge this morning that a New York Times writer tweeted a FU to Jeb. Such classy people. [Editor’s note: It wasn’t the Editor. Honest.] • (1008 views)