Thursday, March 17, 2011

We're Discussing Cussing....again


After my post from a few days ago "What Makes Bad Words Bad?"  You are probably going to think I have a preoccupation with swear words.  Just to clear the air,  I absolutely do. 

Just kidding. I wouldn't say preoccupied....   I do find the progression of what we consider acceptable words kind of interesting.   Words that were NEVER, EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE  spoken  are now in the titles and lyrics of songs, in movies (even animated) on television,...well.... practically every where.

The reason, I am even bringing this up again is that I was reading (of course, you say) a blog written by a mother of a couple of tweens that was discussing  how she has to research all forms of media to evaluate if the content is appropriate for her girls.  It's more than looking at a rating.  How did it get that rating????

Seems the mom was going to take the girls to see the King's Speech and wanted to do her homework as to the appropriateness of it for her girls.  Makes sense.  She was CONFLICTED as to what  is the standard for the lowest/highest (depending which way you look at this) acceptable limits of sex, violence and/or bad language in the content of a movie based on the age of her kids.  After doing her research it turns out the R rating that The Kings Speech has, is due to the fact there is some swearing.  Not that that isn't a bit of a worry, but it least it didn't have the trifecta of "off limitedness".  That of course, would be graphic violence, sex and profanity.

 I didn't realize until reading her article that the King's Speech has an R rating.  I went to this movie.  (Loved it by the way and my guess would have been PG 13) Without having to consider ratings at this point in my life, I guess I give very little thought to what may or may not be age appropriate.   Turns out that during one the scenes where George VI is stuttering, he gets frustrated and says FFFFuuu******* several times. Stuttered but still. 

Well, back to the mom.  She figures if that is all that is wrong with this movie she is good to go.  She has some theories too.  Her kids hear this word at home on a semi-regular basis evidently so it's use has already been explained. As with all parents, I am guessing, her explanation goes "It's a bad word  that mommy and daddy shouldn't use.  Don't do as we do, do as we say. Never, ever use that word."  That should cover it, right?

She took them to the movie which they, too, loved.  During the part of that stuttered curse they laughed. No shock, no grimace or no covering the ears going la la la la.

Now according to the article she figures this one bad word is a drop in the bucket of what her girls are exposed to on a regular basis. The fact that they listen to pop and especially rap music will provide them with a  steady stream of swearing, sexual innuendo, violence and lyrics  that objectify mostly women but some men.


A few years ago, I was driving to do a training class when a song came on the radio that contained the F word.  Me, being from the old school,  am shocked.  How in the hell did that get by the censor?  I think the song was James Blunt's "You're So Beautiful", obviously the unedited version.   Are you humming it???hhhmmmm...she caught my eye, as I walked on by...she could see on my face I was flying high....hhhmmm He was only flying  in the clean version, though.


In order to evaluate how far we've come since Jame's Blunt's 2005 song, I decide to Google the top 40 hits of today.  Well, we have made strides as far as dirty words go.  Just in the top 10 there are 2 songs that have the F word right in the title.  I guess their thought is to take the direct  approach and remove any doubt  if this song is appropriate for the tween set.


There seems to be such a total acceptance of this trend of word promiscuity. Let's just check out the metamorphosis of the ways people could express their approval since the 1930's or so til  now.
 Cat's  Meow...Coolsville....Cool......Groovey...Hot....Sic....Bitchin'....  This might not be entirely accurate as I am not very cool and get confused as to how often the words cool and hot have come and gone in all of this.  I am pretty sure though that as far as appropriate words versus inappropriate words, most parents would take either hot or cool over bitchin'. Am I wrong???

Turns out we have made great advances  in "pushing the limits" in movies, music and television.

In this time of my life, I rarely have to give any thought to programming or content.  I find a lot of things interesting and amusing on cable TV and movies.   I am entertained by the catchy lyrics of Pink's F****** Perfect song.  You might remember that I posted the edited version on Feb. 28th in the post titled Monday, Need I Say More.

  I just wouldn't want it quite so readily available if I was starting over having  children.  OMG, I just threw up a little bit!!!  (To hubby, if you are reading this, I will go right now and wash my mouth out with soap.)






The Good....Parents that work hard to teach their kids value

The Bad....Kids are exposed to so much it makes parenting that much more difficult

The Weird.... I was looking looking at some of those Top Ten videos to see if there was anything the 10 and 12 year old set could or should be watching.  Gosh, I am glad I don't have tweens in the house.

 However, while browsing around on YouTube looking at videos,  I did run across a South Park video called Kyle's Mom is a Big Fat Bi*** which I found  funny in a very inappropriate way (and it  has a  really catchy tune).  I didn't add it as I know some of my regular readers don't go in for that kind of humor. So in my effort to keep this more on a PG13 rating the rest of you will have to  go to YouTube and look for it. 




3 comments:

Jayne said...

Awww- at least the link please?! Kidding. I love this post Cheryl. It's so hard to find anything age appropriate for kids these days. If it's not the language, it's the sex, or the violence. And I absolutely draw the line w/the "trifecta." But these days, even PG movies have the gratuitous sex scene, albeit not too graphic - but it's still there! I think the nonchalant way in which sex is treated on the big screen is more worrisome than the swearing.
I was raised in a home where "darn" was considered a curse. I have zero tolerance for swearing in our house. My kids are soon to be 12 and 14, and even though they attend a little bubble of a Catholic school, I know that their vocabulary has expanded not only by certain movies, but also the radio (and other kids, of course); and well, it doesn't help that my husband is from New Jersey. ;)
So... if the movie is worthy, valuable and enhances their understanding of the world and themselves in some way, I won't worry too much about the language. I trust them, for the most part, to know what is/isn't appropriate.
And while sometimes the F-bomb really is the most creative way to express something, its power is much more effective if used sparingly. I think it's sad that cussing has become an ordinary part of the American vocabulary.

Cheryl said...

You and I share a brain!! I totally agree with everything you said. Everything has become so sexualized. It's as if we are dipping our children into buckets of crud and expecting them not to get dirty. While we were raising our kids, mostly in the 70's and 80's, they weren't permitted to speak using bad words or disrespectful words. The media wasn't inundated with all of this violence, sex and profanity (again the trifecta) which made our job much easier.

I did struggle with not putting the link for the Southpark video. I thought that was such a good example of how the F word and bitch have become so main stream.

Jayne said...

Awww- at least the link please?! Kidding. I love this post Cheryl. It's so hard to find anything age appropriate for kids these days. If it's not the language, it's the sex, or the violence. And I absolutely draw the line w/the "trifecta." But these days, even PG movies have the gratuitous sex scene, albeit not too graphic - but it's still there! I think the nonchalant way in which sex is treated on the big screen is more worrisome than the swearing.
I was raised in a home where "darn" was considered a curse. I have zero tolerance for swearing in our house. My kids are soon to be 12 and 14, and even though they attend a little bubble of a Catholic school, I know that their vocabulary has expanded not only by certain movies, but also the radio (and other kids, of course); and well, it doesn't help that my husband is from New Jersey. ;)
So... if the movie is worthy, valuable and enhances their understanding of the world and themselves in some way, I won't worry too much about the language. I trust them, for the most part, to know what is/isn't appropriate.
And while sometimes the F-bomb really is the most creative way to express something, its power is much more effective if used sparingly. I think it's sad that cussing has become an ordinary part of the American vocabulary.