Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What The *@&^)! Is With The Language?

I often feel myself out of place in the modern world. People are loud, and don't respect other people's privacy, or boundaries. Children run roughshod over their parents and everyone else in sight, college students start indignant campaigns against anyone they think is committing a microagression, feminists claim that teaching young women safety tips to avoid rape is victim blaming. The POW-MIA flag is declared racist, senators are forced to apologize for saying all lives matter, minorities are declared to be worse off than in the days of actual slavery, and dead lions are more important than dead babies. There's a kind of Alice in Wonderland quality about it all and I am alternately outraged and amused by the madness of the world we live in.

One thing I can't get used to is the cursing. The everyday, casual cursing where F-bombs and the N-word and every other foul word is used in everyday conversation. I'll hear people talking in my apartment building using words that I associate with blood about to be spilled, and they're just talking. What to me would be the filthiest of insults is casual everyday conversation between people who don't seem to have any vocabulary at all. They use the F-bomb the way Smurfs use the word "smurf." The F-bomb is constantly dropped, it's a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb, they dangle the participle and split the infinitive and use it as a shout out, and I'm just waiting for it to show up on prime time TV.

I hate it. I'm not a prude. Obviously I hear a lot of swear words, and I've used them myself on occasion. I'm not going to pretend to be some prissy holier-than-thou type who never uses impure language and looks down on people who do. The Bible says there's a time and a place for everything under the sun and I have long believed that goes for cursing too. There's a time and a place for cursing, even casual cursing. I understand that when somebody's team loses a point, or they hit their thumb with a hammer, a few well-chosen words can relieve an awful lot of pain. But when you can't tell the difference between two people about to kill each other and two people talking about their day, I think it's going a bit overboard.

It's gotten to be so much overboard that even in restaurants, people drop F-bombs all around them. I was in Hometown Buffet today with my husband and chose a booth next to two older men in dress shirts and slacks. And we had barely started eating before I was shocked to hear these two men throwing around F-bombs, right next to a table with a young couple and their four children. The young couple looked pretty uncomfortable but didn't speak up. Me, I asked the waitress to do something about it. She got the manager, the manager addressed their phraseology. Unbelieveably, they pretended not to know what the manager was talking about. Swearing? What swearing? The manager politely but firmly told them their language was not appropriate for a family restaurant, gesturing at the children at the next table. Oh, their language! But they weren't being loud! No, the manager was still firm. No F-bombs. The men finally agreed to tone it down, the manager went about his business, and the young mother looked at me and mouthed Thank you.

Mind you, these men were still upset. The new topic of conversation was how Hometown Buffet wasn't a nice restaurant and they should be able to talk any way they wanted in such a cheap place. One of them took a phone call about a test drive for a car he was thinking of buying. He made it a point to say, more than once, that the car was $70,000, as if he was emphasizing what a high class person he really was. The other one was still stewing and called the manager back over. He found it a little difficult to come to the point, asking about Hometown Buffets in other towns, then finally told the manager he was offended at being asked to tone down his language. The manager took it in stride, pointing out that it was his job to address customer complaints, repeating for I don't know what time that it was a family restaurant and there were children around, and that language had to be appropriate for a family setting. They finally let him go and laughed about the stupid people in the restaurant who got offended at what they were saying. No more F-bombs, though.

I just don't get it. Maybe it's our repressive society, where no conversation of substance can take place, especially on college campuses, without being branded a microagression or racially insensitive. Bruce Jenner proclaims himself a woman and Twitter sprouts a bot designed to correct anyone who uses a male pronoun to refer to Jenner, even though he's still a man down to the smallest strand of his DNA. Prominent scientist Tim Hunt gets fired for joking about working with women in the lab. No one can say anything anymore without the threat of an Internet rage mob cutting loose and lynching them, and I don't mean in the virtual sense either. It used to be said that loose lips sank ships but now the wrong words can destroy your life. Maybe under such enormous pressure to conform and be silent except to agree with the mindset du jour, people need to be able to cut loose and curse. I just would like to be able to eat in a restaurant, even if it is just Hometown Buffet, without hearing the kind of language my father would use if he was working on a car and it fell on him.

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