Editor’s Note: This is one of Z. Carlson’s first blogs ever posted on the site. Enjoy!
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I am mourning the death of proper language. I had feared its demise for some time, but I now have proof.
I was at seventh-grade orientation with my family, and we spotted one of my daughter’s friends at a table with some other sixth-graders. As we were walking by, I heard a boy call the girl at the table a not-so-nice name.
I stopped in my tracks.
The boy grew wide-eyed at my expression and quickly tried to deny what he’d said. The other children were readily and gleefully confirming the slur. I asked him if he kisses his grandmother with that mouth.
He actually looked as if he felt ashamed about being called out. I understand that it is almost a rite of passage in ’tweendom to push the boundaries, but demeaning girls is not the way to start.
There’s a new movie coming out that has a commercial on, it seems, every 10 minutes. It’s squarely aimed at the 18-24-year-old male demographic. The commercial shows a guy in a pool using the same not-so-nice name I overheard at my daughter’s school.
This commercial is on when my 15-year-old son is watching ESPN. It’s meant as a joke, but I am failing to see the humor. I know some people are saying it’s just a movie, but using words like that while watching PG programs is not a good thing.
As a movie theater supervisor, I get a chance to see parts of a lot of films. I have walked into the auditorium and had my ears blistered more than once. One of the Academy Award nominees played recently. In less than three minutes, I heard the granddaddy of all swear words being used as a verb, an adjective and a noun.
I am 45 years old, so I have been around the block a time or two, but that scene embarrassed me deeply. It wasn’t necessary. I know filmmakers are striving for gritty raw realism, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere.
The thing that gets me the most is that some parents think it’s OK for their children to talk this way. I don’t fool myself into thinking that my kids will never swear or use improper words, but I am also hoping that I am giving them the tools to have their edit function kick in.
I think we should go back to swearing like they did in the old days. A good fiddle-dee-dee is just as satisfying as a four-letter word.
In my case, I go as far as “cheese and crackers!” as my exclamation of choice. It serves two purposes: No. 1, I get to express displeasure, and No. 2, most people start laughing, and that usually helps dispel the tension.
I try to remember to choose my words carefully, because you never know who is listening.
Z. Carlson is married with two teenage children. She works part time. Read her here on momaha.com
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