Tired Of The ‘F’ Word?

One of the great freedoms unleashed by the internet has been the lack of censorship. While most would agree that the prerogative to write what one feels, is sacrosanct in a modern democracy, it behooves the writer to undertake a degree of maturity for which censorship was once the alternative. Pick up any quality book, or magazine, and you’ll note a lack of profanity within its pages. Editors generally agree that good writers make their point adequately without recourse to what is best described as the more ‘Anglo-Saxon’ of English.

Censorship was originally seen as a means of protecting people from the base and obscene. Lenny Bruce’s problems with the law and four letter words during the 1960’s, perhaps marked the beginning of a battle against censorship that has seen the pendulum swing out of control. Use of four letter words beginning with ‘F’ or ‘S’ are now commonplace, not just in the blogosphere, but throughout cable media. America still pays lip service to its censors by bleeping out expletives, while leaving the viewer in no doubt as to the word being expressed.

The internet is swamped with uneducated, boorish, individuals whose sole purpose in blogging is, it seems, to beat the world record for fitting as many expletives as possible into one paragraph. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to pass over such literary disasters and head for the relative calm of more mature prose, but unfortunately the same cannot be said of the TV media.

In TV land, the casual use of expletives is almost always integrated with cheap humor aimed at intoxicating the basest and most immature of society, who might be better served watching kindergarten programs on PBS.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a perfect example. It intersperses a mixture of intellectual political comment with the basest of humor, designed to stimulate the hormones of small boys cloistered behind the school bike sheds, who seem, for the purposes of this particular program, to have suddenly migrated to the studio audience. From this vantage point, they titter quietly at Stewart’s satirical humor, only to burst forth into insuppressible shrieks and guffaws when the host utters an expletive in confirmation of his political opinions.

It’s not only the Daily Show that produces such an immature reaction from studio audiences in America. Virtually every American comedian utilizes expletives as a guarantee of stage success. in fact, for some, it’s the very basis of their routines.

While, of itself, the expletive is relatively harmless, it takes a truly brilliant comedian to utilize it in an inoffensive manner. In my opinion, only one has ever succeeded in achieving this. His name is Billy Connolly. This Scottish comedian is unique in being able to use the the ‘F’ word in front of an audience of elderly Christian ladies without giving offense.

Connolly’s secret is in making his act funny without expletives, then using them in so natural a manner that it is the joke that creates the humor, rather than the ‘F’ word. Many have copied him; most have failed.

When Sparrow Chat was born, back in 2003, the ‘blog description’ demanded by Blogger was agonized over for some time. Eventually, it was decided upon, and has not changed since. The last line reads:

No obscenities, please – unless necessary to the description of certain politicians and others of that ilk.”

It was never intended as a form of censorship, merely a desire for the reasonably correct use of English in expressing one’s opinion.

Jon Stewart is a funny man. He is also an intelligent human being. Catering to the basest in our society does neither him, nor them, any good.

It’s time we moved out from behind the school bike sheds. It’s time we grew up.

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7 Replies to “Tired Of The ‘F’ Word?”

  1. Sorry, sometimes those are the only words sufficiently disgusting to express what I’m feeling…like about today and the Ashley Todd story. I simply do not have any other words for it.

  2. What’s wrong with you that you’re so sensitive? Or is it that you think you’re somehow morally superior?

    And also, why are old women supposed to be protected from the evils of language? They’ve been living on this rock long enough.

  3. I agree with you that Billy Connolly is able to get away with much more in the way of content and language than many comedians can, without it leading to a outcry from the moral guardians of our time. His charm is the charm! Charm is everything.

    Re the F word and other capital letter words, and use of same, for me they’ve lost all effect due to repetition. In my youth it was very, very unusual to hear them or read them, so that when one such word did assault the senses, the senses remained assaulted. Now these words pass by unnoticed by me. It’s the eloquent descriptive vocabulary of speakers and writers used like rapier to cut through the BS 😉 which impresses me most nowadays.

  4. Before I even started school, someone asked me what started with f and ended with uck and I blushed. The answer was “firetruck”.

  5. NYM – I’ve read your blog for a long time now and never once have I felt an expletive was used in other than an acceptable way. I’m no prude. Just type ‘FUCK” in Sparrow Chat’s search bar to corroborate that. My beef is with intelligent people who use such words to get a cheap laugh, and bloggers who get an egotistical kick out of publishing repeated expletives on the web, usually because they’re too moronic to write anything else.

    faceless – neither sensitive nor morally superior, just tired of the pandering to adult immature children who still find the use of words like, “fuck”, when used on television, wildly amusing. Neither would it seem I’m alone in my view. Your blog, “Couchtripper” is superb. I found viewing it a fascinating experience. If there were Oscars for blog design it would surely be in the running. I would recommend anyone reading this to take a look. Might I suggest THIS LINK…oops, sorry, I meant THIS ONE?

    Twilight – ‘descriptive eloquence’ is so often usurped by a four-letter word. I’m not against such use in the right circumstances. When Jon Stewart (I’m a great fan) recently showed video of Sarah Palin attempting to split America with her rant on the ‘real Americans’ of small town America, Stewart’s response, as a man from New York, was spot on. He said, succinctly, “Fuck you!” A simple eloquence that described his opinion of Palin perfectly – and, incidentally, mine too.

    Flimsybefore you started school? We’ll not delve further into your early formative years. 😉

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