Pouty Mouth


UNITED STATES—Have you ever been in a social setting where the language being used sent shockwaves to your ears?  I know I have, and I’m not the only person.  This is not an argument about the young generation vs. the older generation; this is a discussion about bad language in general.  Let’s face it, bad language has been a part of our lexicon for centuries.

Most of the expletives that we learn come from our social surroundings; particularly in the home. When we hear are parents or older siblings using language that is unsuitable, we tend to mock it because we’ve heard it before. This notion is particularly true for children.  Their brains are constantly growing and evolving, so they are attempting to absorb as much information as possible. So be careful of the words you use around toddlers.  As for young children and teens, the social media arena has an impact on our lives.  The idea of hitting puberty and listening to popular music, movies and television shapes our dialogue.  Not to mention the fact that we are in a transition period where we are renegades.

I would argue though that music, television and movies are the biggest influences of dialogue in the public sphere.  We hear a popular word or phrase from a movie or TV show and it explodes massively.  People begin mocking the tag phrase and before you know it, it has become a phenomenon.

My biggest concern is why are we so nonchalant about bad language.  Yes, it ok to let out a bit of steam here and there, but what messages our we sending to the younger generation?  It’s ok to use expletives anytime and anyplace, of course.  Such language should not be permitted in the school, around parents, at church, social events or the elderly, but it happens time and time again.  So many us forget where we are and just let the words fly out of our mouth without a second thought to it.  I recall back in the 80s that such language would elicit a spanking if you were a child, in some cases you’d get a scolding if you were an adult.

Some may be surprised to learn thatMichiganuse to have a law that made it illegal to swear in front of women and children.  You may be surprised that this law was repealed back in 2002.  It is a courtesy in my opinion not to do so things, in front of women, yet alone kids, but the chances of a federal law being enacted against pouty language is not likely to ever happen.

My biggest gripe with bad language is that we seem to think that it’s ok to say what we want to say without any repercussions for our actions.  We have to ‘see’ the impact of our actions on the people surrounding us, as well as the cultural impact of our choice of words.

By Trevor Roberts