Offensive Language Throughout the day, I find myself exposed to harsh language. Whether in at work or walking through the hallways at school, it is all around us. Later, as I accelerate through rush-hour traffic, I discover that I use these words as well, lashing out with blunt verbal terms in the safety of my enclosed vehicle. I have used bad language before, but I do use it often.
I have friends that cuss every other word. However, I do not care for it much. It is not so much offensive, just bothersome. Whether your daily vocabulary consists of several cuss words or it is just the occasional "shit" in a fit of anger or pain, everyone is guilty of it.
Who hasn't accidentally let a word slip when they slam their finger in a door or stub their toe on the coffee table? Is this impressive, of course not. There used to be a day that when you said "shit" in public, it was like exploding a bomb in public; people would fall silent, staring at you with half-angry open mouths. Mothers would clap their hands over their children's ears and push them away from you; desperately trying to keep their kids form such language. But today, we " ve fallen. Sure there are still a few people that cringe at the sound of vulgar language, but not many. In the 1970's, George Carlin delivered a monologue citing seven words that you could never say on network television.
Now, these words are being used regularly on network television. You could say that swear words have lost their impact, or, you could argue that our language has become downright coarse, offensive, and rude. Where do Cuss words come from, and what do they really mean? Originally it began as cursing. These are the words and phrases that you say in order to curse someone. It was some sort of supernatural or magical belief. Nowadays, people know that telling someone to "Go to Hell" will not actually curse them there, no matter how angrily it is said.
The evolution of profanity continues to change with each generation. Some cuss words have somehow maintained their original meanings throughout hundreds of years, while many others have completely changed meaning or simply fallen out of use. The meaning behind a word is what makes it acceptable or unacceptable. Veterinarians use the word "bitch" on a regular basis, and think nothing of it. The meaning of the word is female dog. It is a fine word to use in that profession, or for anyone else who is honestly referring to a female dog.
People have taken that word and distorted its meaning, making it derogatory. When used in that manner it is not acceptable because it is degrading another person. Look at the word hell. You can sit in church on Sunday morning and hear your preacher say it.
Hell is very real. It is a place of everlasting punishment and fiery torment. On the other hand, I have heard many people use this word in such a way that it appears to hold no meaning at all. When people say "What the Hell" or " Where in the Hell" what is that statement supposed to mean? It really doesn't make much sense.
Bad language has evolved over many thousands of years to represent both the lowest and highest forms of human expression. Such words can cause the greatest offence if used casually and repeatedly, at an inappropriate time or place, or in the wrong company. Yet often, a well timed swear word can make people laugh. Even something as simple as the type of voice a person has can affect how the word is received. It seems that the reason most people are offended by certain words is simply that they have been conditioned that way. They were taught that the words were "bad words" and so they believe them to be bad words.
I have a friend that I am always telling to stop cussing so much. She tried to tell me that her cussing was an art form that she uses to express herself or a message. I heard someone once say that if you have to cuss to get a message across then you message isn't worth getting across. Which is a good point, you shouldn't have to cuss every other word to express yourself. Many people use foul language to relieve stress. It is a way to express a certain depth of emotion that cannot be expressed otherwise.
There are some people who hear words and come to accept them and say them just because it is what everybody else is doing. They want to be considered part of the group and they think that it is an easy way in. Kids use cuss words because they think that they will seem cooler and more mature in front of their peers. I remember the first bad word I said in the presence of my parents, I can still taste the soap they used to wash my mouth out. It was something I had overheard on the school bus.
I didn't know what it meant or what I was saying. I had just heard it and I repeated it without thinking anything of it. Actors in movies do it, athletes do it, and even presidential candidates do it. So it is no surprise that most children have a vocabulary that includes a curse word or two. Swearing has been frowned on for centuries. Many find it offensive, and think that it portrays a lack of intelligence.
Most swear words are used in such a negative way. Some use them joking around, but most of the swearing is a negative expression of criticism, complaining, grumbling, or just plain negativity. Who wants to hear that? Why are we always trying to hurt people with our words? Our growing tolerance of swear words not only reflects the coarsening of our culture, the disrespect we have for everything, and our lack of manners, but also a growing rage that we obviously don't know what to do with. Bad language is all over the media, informing in the attitudes of young people.
It creeps into our workplace and into our homes. We need to find a way to diffuse some of this rage, and find more constructive ways to express it. Words are very powerful and word usage is extremely important. Unfortunately, we are living in a society that seems to have forgotten the basics of language.
Our growing tolerance of swear words is not a sign of progress, it is a sign of how we have lowered our standards. I am not saying that I am completely innocent. I do not cuss on a regular basis, but when I drop something heavy on my foot the expression "Darn It" just doesn't seem to cut it. The fact that we even have words that are considered "profane" is silly. Words are words, and nothing more. They only exist to describe things.
The words poop, crap, and shit all mean exactly the same thing. Why on earth is one of them incorrect to use and the others not? It may not make sense, but that is the way it is and it probably always will be.