"Dad, I want a gun," young Christopher Titus.
"You don't need one of those, son, the men in our family have penises," Ken Titus.
These lines are telling. It is a cliché, but let's face it, we all believe it. A Hummer, a Desert Eagle, they all point to the fact that the owner isn't packing a large caliber weapon, so to speak. Linguistically speaking we see it as well, in the use of profane language. We all have seen, heard, or known people who can't get through a sentence without dropping an F-Bomb or using the S-word. And instead of feeling anger or disgust, we should feel pity, because intellectually speaking, they're not exactly "packing".
It makes sense, logically. In moments of casual conversation, when a person isn't working off of a script, they have to find a way to communicate ideas. When there aren't words to communicate the ideas, they slip to a default word. Hence the extensive use of the word "like" in inappropriate places. Imagine how much easier it would be to identify the intellectual level of the speaker if they would simply insert "duh" for "like": "And we were, duh, going to the mall to check out, duh, the new Feragamos…" And the same goes for profanity. When we speak in conversation, we endeavor to make our ideas heard, which means punching through the verbiage and creating a lasting impression. There are a number of ways to do this: frame an outstanding argument that is logically binding; create a turn of phrase that is notable in its eloquence; drop language that is shocking and provocative.
Given the state of education and the lack of love of intellect in this country, can anyone honestly claim to be surprised that we find ourselves dancing around this lowest common denominator?
On occasion, an enterprising and deluded student will attempt to call the whole issue of linguistic convention into question, asking "but why are these words bad?" This is an excellent example of the dangers of going into a battle of wits poorly armed. To begin with, the hows are irrelevant. There are certain words that are considered unacceptable. An attempt t o make them acceptable would result in their loss of power. The people who use profane language use it because it provokes a response they otherwise would not get. Again, why is a pointless question as well. We all accept certain conventions of language, and hold them as inviolate because without them, communication is stalled. If words have no common currency, then language ceases to exist. To arbitrarily seek to change things is a waste of energy, because those words we seek to make harmless will, at least at one point, always remain offensive.
Case in point: teaching a number of young African-American men, I question the use of the word "bitch", among others, to describe women. I wondered how anyone could find any sort of affection in that sort of language. These young men attempted to explain that this word was, in fact, a term of endearment. "Let's put it t o t he test, "I said, "go home tonight, and use it to your mother, to her face." Embarassed silence filled the class. Even these young men understood what they were saying was wrong.
Do I want my children learning to speak that way? Certainly not. God gave us our tongues for two purposes: to speak the truth and to praise Him. Profanity is required for neither, and it is evidence of a lack of intellectual sophistication. I want my children to be educated enough to express their thoughts completely, coherently, and clearly. And all of that can be done without resorting to profanity.
So, ultimately, we find these pathetic individuals hurling around offensive language in an effort to cover up their own linguistic inadequacy the poor victims of their own lack of imagination and education. Disgust and anger isn' t the appropriate response. A simple recognition – we don't need the F-Bomb, son. The men in our family have a vocabulary.
Because, in the end, the more that they use the F-Bomb, the more these idiots confess the fact that they are intellectual needledicks. And now everyone knows.