Remember when people spoke in a language that was devoid of obscenities? Well, of course, no language at one time was completely pure of this hindrance, but surely, as time has progressed, the shroud of profanity has mutated the syntax of our language into an utterance of meaningless phrases, self-perpetuating the mindless regression of today’s youth.
According to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll, 74 percent of Americans say they encounter the daily use of profane language in public places and two-thirds of them say they think people swear more than they did 20 years ago. According to the poll, a healthy 64 percent say they use the f-word ranging from several times a day to a few times a year.
All of this bad language surely looks like a cry out of ill-will and underlining contempt among the people of this nation. Did bad parenting, explicit music or a dismissal of morality itself drive us to this madness? In the end, it’s a bit of all three – starting within the home.
Children nowadays use curse words at a very young age. Granted, the children of our grandparents’ grandparents may have cursed likewise during their youth, but I feel that the context has changed.
We’re born in the generation of the eco-boomers (part of the 18 million people born between 1980 and 2004) – sons and daughters of the baby-boomer generation. And not to degrade the generation of my parents, but I still contend that the current rising rate of foul language in this country is a direct result of the child-rearing techniques of the baby-boomer generation.
The hippies and counter-cultural types of the baby-boomer generation grew up in hopes of giving their kids more than they had as children. Mind you, not all baby-boomers fit this category. Surely it could be noted that the newly created era of “time-outs” in place of “spankings,” self-help guides to parenting, and even unobstructed access to the Internet and television all have made children the bosses inside the modern-day household.
The intentions of baby-boomers are noble to say the least, but they allow for the adolescent to develop his identity anyway he sees fit.
This doesn’t sound like a bad idea right from the start. As Americans, individuality is a greatly appreciated natural right outlined in the Constitution.
But whereas individuality was previously expressed by reason, logical thought, respect, dignity and morale, it has now manifested itself into cheap one-liners, a blatant representation of classlessness and ultimately uncreative, mindless thinking. It was the role of the church and the elders, back in the day, to set the youth straight; but now, such institutions are viewed as being corrupted entities themselves.
Even the elders today are viewed as being detached and outdated – their role in society has long passed. It was conformity that kept profanity under wraps.
Nowadays, the focus is to pull away from such types of conformity. Profanity is an outlet that allows an individual to express himself apart from his peers. It may be considered cool, edgy and uncharacteristic. For instance, all different types of musicians, from rap to rock, use profanity to illustrate their ideas and convey their message in some form or another to the minds of American youth.
In the end, all of this profane language is just cheap talk in place of genuinely thought-out wordplay.
It creates an element of shock value that people today have easily accepted in place of reasoning and solid articulation. In the coming years, what will our proceeding generations remember us as, “The generation of the f*#@ing f*#@-ups?”
Fred Frenzel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.