Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The f-word

Some of my readers know that I have a peculiar interest in the f-word. I'm sure I don't have to explain what word I'm talking about - even my younger readers aren't that young.

Anyway, I came across this article in the Wall Street Journal today about the Supreme Court hearing a case involving U2 band front man Bono and his run-in with the FCC at the 2003 Golden Globe Awards, where upon winning an award, the singer exclaimed on live TV "This is really, really f---ing brilliant!" The FCC declared his remark "shocking and gratuitous," and a threat to "the well-being of the nation's children." You can read the full article here:

"Don't Read His Lips - You Might Be Offended" - Wall Street Journal, Nov. 4, 2008

Sometimes I look back on the past few decades of my life and marvel at how acceptable the f-word has become. I still remember a time when it was absolutely taboo to say it in the workplace. I grew up in a family and community that is much more genteel than my present surroundings - I can't recall a single instance of my parents using that word, for example.

But I still remember one night about a year ago when I was walking into the mall here in New Jersey and there was an older woman dropping f-bombs literally every sentence in a conversation. Of course, my family uses it frequently, but I think they try to restrain themselves around me.

Personally, I'm not offended by hearing the f-word, and I've been known to let one slip maybe once a month. I just feel that if the FCC is right, that the word is "one of the most vulgar, graphic and explicit" words "in the English language," maybe we should save it for when it's really justified instead of wearing it out like a favorite pair of shoes.