Lately, I have been finding it difficult to go back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night. At one time, when this would happen, it would be because of noise from outside, or from someone snoring, or someone else being awake and making some noise, but that's less the case now than internal noise. My brain gets noisy. An idea pops into my head, starts sparring with my consciousness and won't back away. So, here I am at 4:30 in the morning pecking away at my laptop trying to defend myself.
The idea was "profanity" and its uses and misuses. It came to me because someone, in a blog, referenced a flash animation called "Dance, Monkey, Dance". It was made from a "slam poem" by Ernie Cline. It is clever, a slightly angry but humorous description of humanity. The flash animation is more effective than the poem itself.
Dance, Monkey, Dance Animation
Dance, Monkey, Dance Poem
It wasn't the poem which invaded my brain and kept me awake, it was a word used repeatedly in the poem, in the flash animation, that was the culprit. It is a four letter word for the act of sexual intercourse. It was once rarely heard, or seen written, in polite society, Certainly not in mixed company. Now, it seems to roll easily off the lips of young teenage girls. It bothers me.
I am not a stranger to this word, I cannot say I don't use it myself. I certainly have and do. But I am consciously trying not to. You see, once that word was very useful for its shock value alone. But it is an addictive word and soon is popping out on a regular basis. The shock value is lessened by overuse. I know, I spent 4 years in the Navy. That word was in constant use. It was in almost every sentence spoken. It was a noun, a verb, and an adjective... often in the same sentence. It's definitely versatile. And it still, even after that, has shock value.
I blame Lenny Bruce. Back in the early 60s, Lenny shocked America with his use of profanity as schtick. It made him wildly popular, both with the public and with the police. He is widely recognized now as a comic genius and he was a great comedian. But he set in motion the idea that profanity wasn't really bad, that it was just words and words that could amuse.
The amusement gave way to utility which led to common use which led to overuse. I am no longer shocked by profanity, I am turned off by it. I see it as the lazy way to make or press a point. It's just too blanking easy to rattle off a profanity than to think of a clever and unique way to get a point across.
I challenge you all to be creative, to think, to use your wit, and avoid profanity.
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago