Thursday, August 9, 2007

Profanity, would you like that mild, medium or not at all?

Yesterday I was definitely feeling edgy. I posted my quote for the day blog, but then later went back to make an additional comment because there was more I wanted to say... the stuff inside that was bugging me. I'm a creative, an innovator trying to make change happen, and at times I feel stifled at work because change is slow.

So, among other things I made this comment: "Just tell me your truth, I'm tired of bullshit." Later I read JGW's insightful comment, which was kind in admonishing the truth of not jumping to conclusions, that things are not always what they seem, and that we can learn from others if we aren't too reactive and learn to keep our mouths shut. (Thank you, John, you're right!) And then I felt a tinge of guilt for using the B word.

My wife gets a little upset with me anytime I let slip out a little mild profanity. There isn't a damn, hell or shit that I can ever say without an immediate rebuke or raised eyebrow! But I like to use these words for a little theatre, to express my feelings with a bit more passion. They have affect for me because I don't use them very often; they draw attention to what I'm trying to say.

Certainly there are various forms and intensities that can be used in expressing profanity. I tend use only the mild forms, like what I grew up with in my non-LDS home. There are more times that I think in such words than when I say them. I do get uncomfortable when I hear the Lord's name used in vain, especially if it's repetitive and intense, the same goes for the F word.

Okay, so the Moho blogs have talked in circles about the Mormon taboos of pornography and masturbation; how about a little profanity? When and where, if at all, does profanity have a place in our lives? We certainly encounter many such words in our daily world, and it's rampant in gay culture. Is it something that we should just accept and live with, or should we try to 'overcome' it? (That was for you, Beck!) And "flip," what about substitute words? Is anything appropriate?


Beck said...

I know I have struggled in "overcoming" many things, but in this one - of using profanity - I can honestly say it isn't a problem. I don't need to overcome it because it never was an obstacle for me.

Now, that doesn't mean I don't have other things to work on... Just read my blog and you'll know how imperfect and defective I really am.

Beck said...

P.S. It's funny, but in my profession, I have to work with the construction industry where at times, language can be quite "colorful". But, as I enter the room, and they know I don't use that language, they apologize for their language or they immediately soften the colored edges. What is interesting, is it hasn't been at my request (though it probably should be), they just sense it and there's a noticeable change.

Now, I must admit that's for some, not all. There are always the guys that are going to be profane no matter who's in the room!

Chedner said...

Scrud - An undesirable fragment of anything.

Scrud Bacon - The strips of bacon that have been burnt beyond edibility.

Scrud Muffin - A muffin whose batter was mixed too much.

Scrud Hole - A wastebin or dump.

Anonymous said...
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J G-W said...

Yikes...! I leave town for 3 days, and when I come back, you've added FOUR new entries. I guess you were bugging out with creativity!!

I learned to swear like a marine... from an ex-marine. By the time I knew him, he was no longer a marine but an Episcopal priest. He taught me how to say "fuck" and "damn" and "son-of-a-bitch" like I'd been saying them all my life. It took practice, given that I grew up a mild-mannered Mormon boy who didn't dare to say anything worse than missionary-handbook-approved swear words like "pit" and "goll" and "heck."

I actually have tried to get a lid back on my language since coming back to the Church. Not because I think there is anything inherently evil about any of those good, old Anglo-Saxon words. Rather, because A) they can offend others needlessly and B) finding some other way to deal with the feelings behind such words helps refine my soul.