Friday, January 16, 2015

Of F-Bombs, N-Words, and G-Ratings

What’s more selfish than the gluttony of Augustus Gloop, more demanding than the tantrums of Veruca Salt, more bovine than the obsessive masticating of Violet Beauregarde, and more vacuous than the glassy stare of Mike Teavee?

Recently I met up with a group of friends, one of whom I’ve known since high school. The next day I phoned her to ask that when we got together next, she not drop any more F-bombs on the proceedings. I was invited to find another circle of friends to spend evenings with; news reached me later through another party that yours truly is now said to be good primarily for G-rated gatherings.

An F-bomb is an ugly and gross word that sours joy and wrecks mirth, one that is favored by ill-mannered people who shabbily seek to be the center of attention. It is the language of ungenerous and dreary souls; repeated or frequent utterance makes a person (whether the speaker or the victim) dull and obtuse. It is a misnomer to call recourse to it an “adult” matter. I say, let’s have only adult conversations - ones characterized by the respect, civility, good humor, and camaraderie beyond the ken of rotten children.

Now, the expression in question describes a loveless sex act. It is a crudity unfortunately attached to a natural and beautiful matter that creates new human life, something to inspire awe and wonder and joy. An F-bomb is a demeaning shout of contempt against life itself that has all the charm and eloquence of a racial epithet.

But should anyone ever ask that it not be used?

If we take the view that one abusive remark should be tolerated, then consider what other vulgar, crude, or objectionable phrases should also be tolerated. Is the N-word all right? How about slang for genitalia? If the granddaddy of repulsive terms is fair game, then it seems the consistent course would be to say that anything is fair game.

In that case, an individual who gave voice to the wish that everyone practice a bit of courtesy in their language would be unwelcome indeed.

Meanwhile, the original Willy Wonka film was rated G.

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