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Profanity

Well I figureI should probably blow the cobwebs off my site after putting it on the back burner all of October. Last weekend, I decided to game it up and go for a 10 hour lock in at Zone Gaming. It was a blast and I’m even going to throw in a plug for Borderlands right now. Way to much fun but keep in mind the ESRB rating (somewhat ironic given what this topic is about). Anyways, as I was playing with a couple colleagues I could overhear a group of younger kids (I would guess around 12ish). First thought that came to mind was “Wow”. First of all, try as I might at 12, I simply could not stay up all night. Never made it past around 3:00 or 4:00. What really amazed me was their… let’s say advanced vocabulary. Call me gramps and old timer all you want but the things that were coming out of these kids mouths left me slack-jawed. Granted, I’ve been known to shout out the occasional expletive myself. I know gaming can get a little emotional (I’ll pause to let some of you stop laughing). Now I knew that simply telling the kids to watch their mouths would accomplish nothing as it didn’t work on me as a teenager nor I suspect any of you. So I thought to myself on the “Whys” of the problem.

It may be cliche but I do blame in part the media. As much as I do enjoy South Park and other shows featuring somewhat (im)mature humour. I feel shows like South Park have absolutely no place on primetime television. Since the whole daylight savings took effect November 1st, South Park can be seen at 7:30PM. Any child can simply stumple upon it. Though the earlier timeslot is censored, censorship really does nothing. In fact, a beep can be more enjoyable than the word being censored and anyways, everybody knows what word is being said anyways. Especially as censorship guidelines become increasingly relaxed. As an example I’ll write this: F—. Now everybody in today’s time knows exactly what that means but guess what? My hidden word is “fart”. After seeing a show that originally aired in 1997, I found out that “fart” was repeatedly censored. 12 years ago you couldn’t get away with saying “fart” but watch even a family sitcom and you’ll be amazed what passes for “acceptable” language. Is this linguistic evolution, or just society’s way of saying goodbye to morals and professionalism.

The professionalism is what really concerns me. University students are indeed the next inheritors of our culture. I see a bleak future for professionalism after picking up our last newspaper. To quote a 3rd year Education student on his concerns (I can’t remember the actual issue). “It’s f—ing b—s—!”. Very promising indeed but it’s not just the future educators. I read that entire newspaper and found 2 articles that did not contain the F-word, one being the food review. Assuming at least some of the contributing writers have aspirations in journalism, would it not be a wise idea to use your university newspaper as a foundation for your portfolio, not a medium for your angry rants?

As far as a solution goes, I am well aware I am not going to single handedly end profanity nor do I want to. Using words with strong emotional connotations can really help relieve yourself from certain stresses (like getting constantly destroyed in a video game). I am also aware I am probably not going to stem the tide of increasing liberations on censorship regulations. Kids are going to learn swear words eventually and I think the best thing we, as teachers, can do is to both continue to be role models of professionalism and respect as well as to inform students of the proper social contexts in which swearing and profanity may be acceptable. To end, here’s another quote for your troubles:

Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world. – The Buddha

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. JP
    November 12, 2009 at 5:57 PM

    Darn kids, hey? I like your overall summary of this topic. Very good points to be heard.

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