Peggy Barnhardt: Foul

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 12, 2018

Peggy Barnhardt

When did four-letter words slither out of their darksome category of offensive expression and gain entry into acceptable language under the guise of “free speech?”
So commonplace in today’s society, cussing is in full display in writing, music, movies and in everyday conversations, taking on a life of its own. It goes so far as to incorporate phrases including words such as “God, mother and sons of” in preface to exclamations of discomfort, annoyance, frustration and the like.
The practice of bleeping in movies and television has not worked. The actor mouths the word, defining the space of the profanity, the blatant sound beeps in that space and the viewer’s mind says the word, so both are cussing.
Cussing is even implied in cartoons, where word bubbles are placed over the head of the character in squiggles to indicate anger or plotting. Children are featured cussing at parents, in what is rated as family programming.
Does freedom of speech mean infringing on other’s freedom not to be inundated with foul language? Because obscenities are used by celebrities and the higher echelon does that make it OK?
Some simply say, “Don’t listen,” but that doesn’t seem to be a viable option. You can be driving in your own car, pull up to the light next to a car with glaring sounds of so-called music speaking of graphic sex, violent attacks and cussing, all emphasized and accompanied by pavement-shaking speakers, the vehicle’s driver quite unconcerned with your presence.
Sadly, societal standards have taken a nose dive into the toilet, but parental guidelines do not have to follow.
A saying that kids have been using to convince mom of the validity of a course for a millennium has been “Everyone is doing it.”
A phrase parents have been using for the same time slot is “We are not raising everyone, just you.”
Language has its own ethic, conveying a message of beauty or ugliness.
We don’t want foul-mouthed, disrespectful children, do we? Take a firm stand. You have a multitude of support: the Bible, Quran, Book of Mormon, even Confucius finds profanity repulsive.
So, parents, hang in, you will reap if you do not tire out.
Think about it.

Peggy Ann Barnhardt lives in Salisbury.

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