By Mary O’Brien, M.D.
Our culture is in big trouble. Civility is under assault. Over the past 20 years, most of us have heard increasing use of vulgar language in public and even professional settings. Some of us have even heard vulgar language used at funerals, especially when celebrities are involved. It’s typically done in an effort to lighten the mood. It doesn’t work. It’s not appropriate, it’s not funny, it’s not hip, it’s not “cool.” More of us need to speak up and call people on it.
Rude, crude, vulgar language merely announces to the world a limited vocabulary, emotional immaturity, and a lack of class. The timid giggles elicited by comedians using crude language is nothing more than the nervous response of an insecure audience. When a joke is truly funny, people laugh in a genuine, spontaneous manner because they recognize a universal truth. Really talented people don’t need to rely on incessant efforts to shock an audience. They actually have a gift for seeing everyday realities in novel, insightful ways. The shock value of anything wears off quickly. Before long, the whole gig becomes tiresome.
The use of vulgar language often signals a nasty, vicious, vituperative mindset. Unfortunately, most offenders don’t even realize how badly they embarrass themselves. The disgraceful monologue inflicted on people at the recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner was a case in point.
Cruel attacks on anyone’s appearance, wishing someone would be crushed by a falling tree, and “jokes” about abortion are not funny. The nonstop use of the “F” word only underscored the pathetic mentality of the “comedienne.” Some folks had the spine to walk out. Too many sat there like overdressed lemmings.
Regardless of our age, gender, profession, economic status, political perspective, race, or creed, no one will ever think more highly of us for spewing vulgar language and nastiness. Two thousand years ago, a very wise person said, “Out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
Truth is timeless.