Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why I dislike profanity.

Perhaps you recall an earlier post where I referred to topics I might discuss in this blog. (Click here to see that entry.) This post is in response to the next issue I wanted to address: Why foul language bothers me.

"Swearing is the language of the ignorant." That's what I grew up hearing. "People who swear are not smart enough to think of a more appropriate word."

Think about it... when an author wants to indicate an intelligent race, he usually eliminates swearing from the vocabulary.

For years, I associated swearing with lack of intelligence and lack of refinement. I never really thought about the "author" of foul language. Other than the obvious "Lord's name in vain" type references, I never thought about how all swearing is offensive to God until I took a class taught by Randall Wright. He conducted a study on affects of strong language in the media. Research and study revealed that all swear words fit into four different categories.
  1. Describing body parts and/or functions. We are created in God's image. Our bodies are divine temples where our spirits dwell. So who would want to mock bodies? Satan...he who has no body! 
  2. Descriptions or references to intimacy. Intimacy is sacred and beautiful. Through intimate relations, husband and wives can draw close to each other, as well as bring children into the world. So who would want to make fun of such a sacred union? Old Scratch...he who would love to destroy marriage and family relationships.
  3. Describing others. We are all children of God, no matter what color, size, or shape. He loves us all, and wants us to care for each other. So who would want us to mock others? Yep...ole what's-his-no-face, the master of mockery (and misery).
  4. Vain references to Deity. The misuse, overuse, and downright abuse of holy names are utterly offensive to God. So who would want us to profane Deity? The evil one who fights against all things Holy and Good.
There you have it: profanity is authored by the devil. Foul language offends me, and worse, it offends God.

Sometimes when I complain about foul language, I hear the response, "Oh, I don't even notice. I hear far worse at school." (or work, or wherever...) When I mention strong language in films, I usually hear about "realism" and how it was "true to the character." Well, I don't care. A character can display anger through expression and action. I don't need to hear profanity spewing forth to understand his anger, or to understand his upbringing, or to understand his (or her) feelings.

Some accuse me of being naive if I think films don't need profanity. I say, "Look at the classics. They didn't need profanity and they are still held as a standard of great films."

Some tell me profanity is inevitable. I say,"The media helped bring profanity to this level, therefore the media can help bring the level of profanity down!"

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