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EXCESSIVE USE OF PROFANITY

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 7, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Why do we allow this to occur?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
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I’ve noticed profanity has become a natural part of the teenager vernacular lately, perhaps excessively so. I know teachers and parents who are very much concerned with this and are at a loss as to how to handle it. In my school days, we were all well aware of the words but knew better to use them in the presence of adults as schools still practiced corporal punishment back then. If you got out of line, you weren’t just sent to detention, you were swatted with a paddle.

A lot has changed since then. Today, only 20 states in the country allow corporal punishment in schools (not including here in Florida). As many as 25 countries have outlawed it altogether. I guess this is another area where lawyers have gotten involved and threatened lawsuits on behalf of irate parents who refuse to discipline their own children and subject the rest of us to these clods.

In studying this issue, I noticed all 50 states in the country allow corporal punishment on the part of parents. Yet, I wonder how many parents actually exercise such action. Again, back when I was a kid, if you got out of line, the old man would take a belt to your hide or your mother would wash your mouth out with soap if you spoke foul language (as happened to Ralphie in the movie, “A Christmas Story”). My great grandmother would use a switch or fly swatter if necessary. Such corporal punishment was not unique to my family as just about every kid on the block was keenly aware of the penalties for stepping out of line. It’s called, “cause and effect”; if you screwed-up, you had to suffer the consequences. Believe me, we would have much preferred to have been “grounded” than face the wrath of a displeased parent. Being “grounded” just didn’t exist back then.

I’m not sure why teens use profanity excessively; perhaps it is to appear “cool” or something they learned through the media, but it sure seems they drop the “F-bomb” as if it is a common everyday word. I’m no saint myself when it comes to swearing, but as an adult you realize there is a time and place for everything and you tend to use it more judiciously than our youth. Excessive use of profanity does two things; first, it waters down the effect of the word. Whereas profanity is normally used to stir emotions, inordinate use negates its effect. Second, excessive profanity is a significant indicator of someone’s intellect. Rudimentary language reflects a rudimentary intellect. I am reminded of the old maxim whereby, “Profanity is the attempt of a lazy and feeble mind to express itself forcefully.”

When youth uses profanity in the presence of adults, it does not threaten or embarrass adults as much as it causes the youth in question to lose all credibility in the adult’s eyes. It is just not smart to do. I find it rather amusing when youth resorts to primitive profanity as opposed to articulating their position. It most definitely does not make them look more mature.

As for me personally, I tend to think of profanity along the same lines as Mark Twain who said, “In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer.” Amen!

Originally published: June 21, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  IMPLEMENTING BUSINESS ETHICS – Implementing an effective ethics program makes dollars and sense.

LAST TIME:  WILL THE REPUBLICANS BOTCH THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION?  – I just hope they do not grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.

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5 Responses to “EXCESSIVE USE OF PROFANITY”

  1. Maria Ortiz said

    they have this silly notion that it is freedom of speech

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a phase teenagers go through. I forget the impetus behind it but you raise an excellent point in that if their behavior is not corrected, what happens to them?

    I’m with you and Mark Twain. I also found that when you use it in fiction it is best to use it sparingly or as you point out it loses all it’s shock and emotional value. These people who want to take words out of the common lexicon would be served best by over using them. But then that is not the psychology behind their actions, so they’d never think of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] EXCESSIVE USE OF PROFANITY […]

    Like

  4. Tim Bryce said

    A J.W. of Clearwater, Florida wrote…

    “I enjoyed your Damned article on profanity. I hear it often at work.”

    Like

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