Sunday, 22 May 2011

On swearing.... is it time for us to shut the falafel up????


"The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do."
 Walter Bagehot.

Friends, we have an epidemic. And no I am not talking about AIDS, obesity or swine flu, but the widespread use of extremely colourful words, words that used to be considered 'offensive' as part of our normal communication with others. Let's face it, profanity has become the norm, it is basically ubiquitous..... But I realised that things had gone too far when I overheard a conversation among children who looked like eight year olds (they were probably tweens) at a shopping centre last week. They threw around the f and c words so much I had to check my ears in a mirror to be certain that they had not actually turned blue! These kids were not fighting with each other; they seemed to be having a good time. So why did they think it was acceptable or even ok to use these words as nouns, verbs, adjectives and pronouns all within the same sentence? Why so much profanity? Because it seems like we are all doing it!! It is literally everywhere, on tv, on the radio, internet and in movies. It almost seems impossible to get away from it at all!

Profanity is now used to entertain us and everyone wants in. From Z listers on reality tv shows to presidents and politicans who say it as part of a misguided attempt to appear 'cool' or 'in touch'. Comedians say them to make us laugh and we all know that comedies won't be funny unless they let it rip a couple of times or more! I made the silly mistake of going to see Paul at cinema while I was in Trinidad. Basically it was about a weed smoking, obscenity spouting alien. And that was the sole basis of the 'comedy'. Soooo disappointing as it had potential. But clearly the scriptwriters thought liberal use of the f word made it funny enough. They didn't need anything else.  Maybe it was novel the first time, but by the 50th time it was just stale. Ok, the alien swears....... Funny......... Yawn.........

It is the custom for many songs to have a censored and uncensored version. One of my favourite songs 'Forget you' by Cee- lo Green is in fact a watered down version of the much more shocking 'real' thing. It seems profanity guarantees success, from hit shows by celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsey to number one albums for artists. So am I simply being too old fashioned or out of touch? Is there nothing wrong with the use of foul language? How else can we express our frustrations, our anger, our emotions? It is just a bit of harmless fun after all. Isn't it?

So ask yourself this. Would it be ok if your boss used any of these words with you? Or would you think it was abusive? The f word has become more acceptable culturally but how about the c word? Is the latter really more obscene than the former? Where should we draw the line as a society? And how would you react if your child used it to you? Or even someone else's? Would you allow your students to use it? I mean if it is ok for adults then why isn't it for children? Or do you think it is ok for men to use expletives but not women? As they say, if it's good for the goose then it's good for the gander.......

Personally I don't use swear words. You will not find them anywhere on this blog. I read blogs where there may be one or two thrown in but I am definitely turned off if every other word is a swear word. But I don't argue or make a fuss. I just click the x at the top right of the screen. Poor DH sometimes lets himself slip (he doesn't have my upbringing as a princess) which usually results in the stare of death from me. Sometimes I simply ignore him. Even if it is accidental. Why? Because I think it is offensive and for many people it is just a bad habit. There are other and better ways of expressing your feelings!

So lovelies shall we start a revolution? We can call ourselves PAUOL - People Against the Use of Offensive Language (maybe I need to work on the acronyms a bit). We will aim to use the many other words in the English dictionary to express our emotions.  We shall show future generations how to respect each other and that respect has to be earned and not demanded. And when we really need a release, we will substitute all bad words with the word 'falafel'. Why? Because it is utterly ridiculous! And it gives some idea of how silly it really is to use profanity just for the sake of it. 

Some examples.
What the falafel is going on?
S(he) is so falafelling stupid.
Faaaaaalaaaaaaafeeeeeeel...... I am so falafelling bored.
Falafel you.

Ok it's probably time for me to SHUT THE FALAFEL UP! Haha!

Have a great day :-)

P.S Of course please share your opinions by leaving a comment. As usual I look forward to reading what you have to say! Who wants to join the PAUOL revolution?


Rori said...

Well it's about falafeling time somebody addressed this!
I feel the same falafeling way!
But seriously, I work in the schools, and the really foul-mouthed kids (which is all of them) made me realize just how disgusting cursing is, and especially the "F" bomb.
I was talking with a couple of teachers the other day, and it was me, another woman, and a man teacher. He let slip a mild bad word, and immediately said "Excuse my language". WOW! I can remember when EVERY man had those same polite sensitivities, and it was GREAT!
Where do I sign up for PAUOL? Also, I pledge from today to stop cursing, it's gross and I care too much about myself and my family to abuse us all that way. :O) Thanks Kyla!!!

Steve said...

Guilty.. I often swear, but normally as a stress relief valve, it's not in normal conversation for me.

My Dad was even worse than me!! So there is some improvement I suppose!

caribbean princess said...

Ahh Rori you must get the brunt of the exposure then. I am glad you enjoyed the post and want to support PAUOL! ;-) I just think we are letting our young people down and teaching them that it is ok to be disrespectful.

Steve, my DH is just like you. But sometimes it just slips out in normal conversation as it is so easy to become a habit. He read the post and is using falafel now and laughing! He is so silly. But I dont want him saying it in front of any future kids we may have or any of my nieces, nephews and Godchildren so I would like him to break the habit.

caribbean princess said...

Oh I forgot!
@skhen came up with a better acronym on twitter.
People Against Senseless Swearing- Take a PASS on profanity.
except when she stubs her toe in the bath. hehe.
I like that one :-)

Jess said...

um, i am definitely guilty of swearing too much. i swear all the falafelling time, on facebook, on twitter, in every day conversations... however, i'd like to say that i would rarely if ever swear in a conflict or a tense situation - i would never call someone a falafelling falafel in an argument and i wouldn't ever condone swearing as a form of real aggressive behaviour.

is that hypocritical or the wrong way round? i guess it is...

caribbean princess said...

Ah Jess thanks for commenting. I wasn't trying to take the moral high ground. Just suggesting that we should perhaps be more aware of our actions and words! And you are still a young un! I think the older generation needs to lead by example. Just some of my thoughts and thanks for not telling me to falafel off!

Angeliki said...

I love your idea and I will join you in the PAUOL revolution! What a great post!

Fashion, Art and other fancies said...

My idea of swearing is Good Heavens or good Lord!:-)

Globetrotting Cacti said...

I never used to notice (which is terrible I know - probably too many years spent working in an Emergency Department) but have been in the car lately with music on and the language in some of music is shocking (I sound like my Mum!). My little people are 2 and repeat every word, think we are going to be downloading the "safe" version of songs from now on.

As for me personally, I rarely swear but if I do it is normally because I have stubbed my toe or dropped some-thing (as opposed to in anger). I know it is not perfect but in my mind it is the lesser evil of the two.

Happy to sign on the dotted line though and I'll try and cut down...!

Alison Reeves said...

What a great post! I was brought up not to swear - I was taught that swearing was lazy - with a rich language such as English (which incidentally has more words than any other language in the world) there is no real need to swear. I do feel slightly offended if someone swears at me, and I thought I was alone and a but of an old maid about it! Nice to read that others feel the same way.

LADY ELIX said...

Thank you for the sharing your concerns. This problem is every where, it's' seems to be a growing epidemic with kids using profanity....let alone the N word. The art of conversing is becoming more and more juvenile now especially when I see adults doing it to be hip.

All the best, and will stop by to check in. Greetings from Lady Blogger Society.

Also, when you got a sec, check out my music show blogspot.

Much love and keep blogging

Lady Elix

Anita said...

My Mum brought me up not to swear because she doesn't like it and I rarely do. They're such horrible harsh-sounding words to my ears too!
And that rhymes :)

Leia said...

I totally agree with you. I rarely ever swear, and if I let a word slip I feel SO guilty (and people around me are so shocked!). It's possible to express yourself without resorting to using colorful words, for sure, so we should all try to ditch the offensive lingo!


Imy said...

I always use Oh Jessqueta (from My name is Earl) (i cannot spell it tho)


I dont like swearing i try not too, but sometimes it just comes out without you realising then afterwards your like oh did i really just say that


Rachael said...

Very timely post about something that needs addressed. I'm signing up!


A Well-Preserved Me said...

oops...didn't realize that my daughter had signed me off my blogger account. Rachael is my daughter.


caribbean princess said...

Oh guys thanks for all of your comments. I am so pleased you understand where I am coming from. Yay for PAUOL. We can change the world, one person at a time.
I know profanity can slip out on occasion but too many times the words are just overused and abused just for the sake of it or for some misguided sense of appearing to be edgy or too cool for school!

Jorinde Berben said...

I grew up not speaking English, and the f word was the socially acceptable swear word for us, since it wasn't in our own language. Like 'Sdheisse' in English.
As I became immersed in English culture, I became much more averse to swearing, and now avoid it.

The thing that's still hard for me to figure out is which mild swear words are acceptable and what kind of effect they have.
I use 'damn' pretty often, would you say that's a form of profanity?

Alyssa said...

I am very guilty of swearing too much. This is typically the "f" word. I never use the "c" word. It is something that I would like to work on, but I think it helps when you are around people who don't talk like that. For some reason I don't have to think about it and my language switches. However, when I'm around people who freely cuss, then I do as well.

kanalt said...

I have to say that I didn't start cursing until college - being away from the parents, I broke out of my shell. ;) I curse more now that I ever have, but never at work or in front of my family. It's usually just when I'm home alone with DH.

But I agree that it is done way too much, without much thought or care. It's amazing how disrespectful some people are, even little kids. I would NEVER have dared to be that way when I was young - I would have been grounded for life.

Great post!

Jotje said...

I was raised in Germany and have to say my father is a great swearer. And kids of swearing parents grow up to be swearers themselves! I've now been living in Holland for the last 21 years, but speaking German with my kids. And - yes, GUILTY - the occasional swear words to creep in, although I do try to keep that to an absolute minimum.
I have a funny anecdote about that actually. When my oldest DD was 3 years old, she was walking up the stairs with me. She stumbled and hit her knee and exclaimed "Shit!" (EXTREMELY common in Dutch!). I replied in horror: "WHAT did you say there?" She looked up guiltily and said "Oh, sorry, I meant SCHEISSE!" (because she assumed I corrected her for speaking Dutch instead of German ....). Very wise lesson for me! I do not use that word around my kids anymore ...

Also, in Dutch the English F-word is very very very widely used. I never use it and the kids are sent immediately to the naughty stair if they dare to say it (so far that only happened once)! If I'm communicating in English I'd rather say "freaking" or "what the heck/hell". I suppose "hell" could be considered profanity aswell? I do use a lot of "Damn" or the Dutch or German equivalent of it. I know it doesn't sound nice and I'm hypocrite enough to correct my kids when they use it! For some reason (habituation? desensibilisation?) I don't think Damn or OMG is comparable to the impact of the F- or C-word ...

BTW @Lady: what is the "N"-word???

caribbean princess said...

Jorinde thanks for commenting. you make an interesting point as in the Caribbean there are swear words in certain countries like Jamaica that mean absolutely nothing in Trinidad. So I guess cultural and societal norms are important. I think damm is very mild and is usually not too bad, unless you call someone a 'damn' fool!

Alyssa exactly we are all influenced by our peers. I have friends who cuss a lot (they usually tone it down around me as they know I dont like it) but I choose to be a leader (and not use profanity) instead of a follower
;-) I wondered if your friends would notice if you stopped using it around them.

Kanalt. yup college and high school (depending on the high school as it wasnt acceptable in my all girls grammar school)is where it starts as I think young people want to be adult and part of that is using so called adult language! It wasnt acceptable in my household and I think I heard my dad use a bad word once in my life, when another motorist almost crashed into us doing a very bad drive. It still shocked me though. And he apologised afterwards for saying it in front of me! hehe. My mum never swears.

Jotje your story made me laugh! But you see how children absorb everything! I would say hell and damn are much milder terms in English. The N word is a total no no! Hopefully there is no equivalent in German! I sent you a message about it.

Sam S said...

Totally agree with you, it is becoming ridiculous. We can't watch anything without hearing all the profanity, are we that limited, we can't laugh unless profanity is there, ... Enough! It's ugly, time to go back to decency...fed up!

caribbean princess said...

Glad you agree Sam S. Thank you for reading my blog! :-)

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