|I'd go back and correct my mistakes, but seeing as how this is how I turned it in, I'll leave 'em. Plus I'm too busy and lazy.
I hate that, Scott, guy. And not in that loathsome kind of way, either. I mean seriously. In that really, really, deep down inside your gut, wish all manner of bad things would happen to this guy kind of hate. Seriously, horrible, unspeakable, unimaginable, seriously (anytime you want to let someone know how much you hate something just keep saying “seriously”), seriously despicable, would make bible thumping, Job, happy things. Or, I could just say, “God dammit, I hate that, Scott! Seriously.” No, wait, can’t offend the Christians, or Catholics, or Jews, or anyone else who believes in God. How about “Holy Cow, I hate that, Scott? Seriously.” What’s that? Hindus worship cows, you say? I know that, but what I want to know is does that offend you? It does not? Oh, it must not. I’m sorry, I must’ve misunderstood. Why must it mustn’t? Because you say it all the time and it doesn’t offend you or anyone else you know. I see…no, wait, I don’t see. Why doesn’t it offend you? Ohhh, you’re not Hindi. Got it. “God dammit,” is…no? I can’t say, “God dammit?” But I used a second “m” instead of a “n.” Still no? Well, at least you have standards. *Cough, cough.* Oh, excuse me, I seem to have a bit of sarcasm stuck in my throat. I hate when that happens. It’s a bitch.
Which brings me to- what, what now? I know I said “bitch.” What about it? I know it’s a- well, how do you know I wasn’t talking about a female dog? It’s- I know it’s derogatory, but I’m not the one who first called a female dog a “bitch.” What? No, I do not know who first did, and before you ask, no, I’m not going to bother looking it up. I don’t see why this is such a big- seriously, (*W-I-N-K*) how do you know a dog didn’t just give birth at that exact moment in time, just as I was typing that sentence, and the puppy just happened to be female. It could happen. I know it’s highly unlikely. But it could still happen. YOU just assumed, before you found out the context of what I was about to say. Look at the period, strategically placed before that sentence. Which means I don’t necessarily specify what I’m talking about. If anything, you should be complaining about how it lacks an attributive tag, and not just about the last word of the sentence. If I wasn’t interrupted, I could’ve said, “Which brings me to this newborn puppy, and look, it happens to be female. Wow, what a weird coincidence that this took place right at this instant. Imagine what would have happened if someone were to interrupt me as I’m in the middle of trying to explain this. Can we say awkward? Man, I’m sure glad that’ll never happen.” See? Sometimes you gotta look at the context of what was said, too. Now, having said that, how many of you that just read this imagined that that fictional one-way argument was directed towards a female? Uh-huh. Okay. To all those who thought that that are guys…dicks.
Anybody still reading this garbage? Meh, doesn’t matter, as it should be rather apparent by now it seems that I’m more than capable of entertaining myself. I would have said “shit” instead of “garbage,” but that might offend anyone wearing a sweater vest, and that would be- ah, hell, who gives a shit anyway? Originally I had planned to not include swearing of any kind in a paper about profanity; oh, irony, have you no boundaries? But when the professor tells you that you don’t have to censor the words, or parts of them, with those little aster*sk things, well, there’s something about a brass ring in all of this, but I don’t fucking know where it is. Hey, there you are. I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed in myself. I thought I’d be able to make it to the third page before dropping the F-Bomb. I’m not counting the title. Yeah, it has a page number, but it doesn’t count towards the total page count, so I ostriched it, like it’s not even there. You know, head in the sand. Sure, there’s a predator coming towards him, but since Mr. Ostrich has his head in the sand, he’ll be alright, it’s like what’s about to eat him doesn’t exist. Like how you’ll read about some people who “ostriched” context. And I suppose I could have cheated and used an *, but we all know that those things don’t work. I mean, when you saw it earlier, did you actually think that I was trying to say, “aster6sk?” Well how do you know I wasn’t?…asshole.
Sigh, after looking over what I’ve already written, I realize that I have now ended every paragraph up to this point with a curse/swear word. But you have to believe me, that was completely unintentional. Honest! Never mind that the word “believe” includes the word “lie” right in the middle of it (which is always something I found rather curious), I’m not humbugging you. And for all of the young whippersnappers that are reading this, “humbug” is a now appropriate way of saying “bullshit.” So, Ebenezer, just “bah, humbug” now and get it over with so you can grab your shotgun and keep all those no-good-nick teenyboppers off your lawn. If those last two sentences have taught you anything, it should be that context is more important than the words being used; since there’s a good chance that if you’re around my age, i.e. younger (sorry old people), you won’t know what was said. For all I know, you think “teenybopper” is some freak breed of rodent. And no! Bad. There isn’t a thesis hidden in there, either. I was just trying to, ah, hell, there’s got to be a better way to explain this.
Yes, there’s been a lot of swearing up to this point, but like I said, it has a purpose. “What?” some would say. “But those are evil, nasty words that only no-no heads use.” If you’re like me you were imagining someone taking their finger and using it to turn up their nose as you were reading that. But before I derail myself yet again, what I mean is that if you’re going to be reading something that discusses swearing and profanity I can’t have you going “tee-hee” every time a “naughty” word is said. If that’s how you’re going to behave then just save yourself the trouble and split for the malt shoppe already and- man, what the hell is with all the language? It’s like I wandered into Riverdale. Anyway, I would guess that if you’ve lasted to this point, then you should be primed for the rest. So, let’s get on with it.
The two sources I pulled from are actually notorious for their use of profane or obscene language. The first is South Park. Pause. Breath. Okay. The second is Penn and Teller: Bullshit!. Pause. Bre- what, huh? Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of Penn and Teller’s show, you have to have cable-cable to watch it since it’s on Showtime. Or, the internet! Now, there are two reasons why I chose these two shows. One, because each aired an episode that took different looks at profanity, swearing, or “curse words,” as they are sometimes known. The second, and probably lesser known reason, is that Matt Stone and Trey Parker (creators of South Park) are actually friends with Penn and Teller. I just thought that that made it more interesting. Since South Park is a sitcom, it’s natural to assume that their show is going to have to entertain while they try to Aesop fable the ADULTS watching the show; in one of the DVD commentaries, both Matt and Trey said they dislike hearing that some parents let their KIDS watch South Park. Whereas with Bullshit!, it’s basically a debunking show, so they take a more documentary-style approach to the topic, with interviews and everything. They put in humor where they can, but since the show isn’t a sitcom, they can be more direct when needed. So, as you go down this rabbit hole that is approximately, oh, I don’t know how many more pages long, you’re going to read about two things. One, you’ll read how the two shows I mentioned discuss that the context in which something is said is more important than what was said, as well as how the over use of something makes it lose its power, or impact. Two, you’ll read about how I completely lucked out that two prime-time award winning shows just so happen to coincide with my opinion on profanity, or language in general; namely, the importance of context.
I think I’ll start off with some Bullshit!. Oh, yeah, I can already tell this is going to be fun. The topic of discussion on the episode of Penn and Teller’s show was “about the effect profanity is having on our society” (Price 2004). The show also looked at how the attack on profanity could be used against the freedom of speech. There are two groups of people that were interviewed for the show. One group consisting of people trying to eliminate profanity, and the other that was made up primarily of wordsmiths. In addition to the interviews, the show displays George Carlin’s “seven dirty words,” with various people – nobody from the first group – that they interviewed saying them. This is used to pace the show, and segue into different discussions by Penn and the people being interviewed.
Next is the South Park episode, “It Hits the Fan.” Keep in mind that since it’s a sitcom, there’s going to be more story than just people being interviewed. The episode starts off with Kyle telling Stan and Kenny that he got tickets to, The Lion King, stage show. Cartman proceeds to join them and tell them that the show in the show, Cop Drama, is going to say the word “shit” on television. This starts a counter in the corner of the screen that keeps track of all the times the word “shit” is said. Everyone in town is anticipating the show; except Kyle, who doesn’t see the what all the excitement is about. After “shit” is said on Cop Drama, frogs start falling from the sky. The kids are taught at school about how they can only say “shit” in the proper context. But then a strange sickness starts making people vomit up their intestines. Kyle believes that it has something to do with people saying “shit” more; and while he is trying to figure this out, the executives at HBC, the fictional broadcasting company in charge of the fictional Cop Drama, decides to say “shit” more often in the shows that they are fictionally broadcasting. After enlisting the help of Chef, Kyle – along with Stan, Kenny and Cartman – learn that “shit” is somehow connected to the Black Death, as well as an ancient order known as the Knights of Standards and Practices, and if people say “shit” too much it will summon Geldon, who can only be defeated with a Runestone of Beholding. This revelation comes when HBC plans to have “shit” replace all of the original dialogue in their shows, with the studio head saying it a profuse amount of times, which then summons Geldon, who is quickly defeated by Kyle using the Runestone. All of this is followed by Kyle and Stan telling everyone about the important lesson that all of this has taught them (Parker, 2001).
Alright, do summaries of sources, check. If it seems like the summaries are a little light it’s because the meaty goodness is yet to come during the analytical section. As any good chef will tell you, it’s all about portions. Need to pace ourselves. And I can’t have people fainting and getting paper cuts in odd places like their shoulder…or, brain, I don’t know. I just thought I’d be nice and give you a little breather before I continued. Maybe give you time to revive that nice person who was reading over your shoulder. Just kidding, I know that nobody was reading over your shoulder. You’re not that popular. See? It’s possible to be offensive and hurt someone’s feelings without swearing.
Starting off the analytical segment, I’m going to have to go with Bullshit! first this time, too. For the most part, since the show can be categorized as infotainment, it’s the people being interviewed that kind of tell the “story,” using the power of editing. But every now and then, Penn says and Teller pantomimes (Teller never speaks, it’s part of their schtick) what they think of what was said, as the shows format dictates. So it’s these moments that I’m going to try and sum up for you here, since there’s no better opportunity to tell what someone is trying to say than when they actually open their mouths and speak. So I give you their thoughts on just how important context in conversation can really be. And no, I’m not going to be making any of this up.
The first person to trigger the wrath of Penn is a woman named Ginny who lives near Spokane, WA. At the time the show aired she had a website (for the life of me I can’t find it, so I don’t know if it still exists) that promoted her idea of “quietly protesting profanity in public places…English is a living language…and when we say ugly things, then that living language becomes an agent of death” (Price, 2004). Right after this was said, it shows a clip of her holding up a small sign with a caricature of a bull shitting and a red circle with a slash through it. “No B.S.” (Price, 2004), she says. This is what irks Penn, with his statement of, “She won’t say the title of our show, but she’ll use the initials. What a hypocritical prig. She’s not against barnyard vulgarity, she just wants it in her infantile baby talk” (Price, 2004). Is it any wonder that for one of the segues into a clip of her, it’s right after the word “cunt” is displayed on the screen (Price, 2004)? Could that have been a Freudian slip? Or just high larious?
Next on the train out of swearsville is Jim Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition. Cue voiceover with Penn saying, “The Traditional Values Coalition is the largest, church-based lobby group in the nation. It seems to us that they believe their preferences, as they interpret them from the bible, out-way the liberties our Founding Fathers found crucial enough to include in the Constitution. They feel God has given them the right to judge their neighbors” (Price, 2004). I know you can’t hear Penn’s voice while reading, but it’s simple enough to say that he and Lafferty don’t see eye to eye; since Lafferty sees it as, “that there are classes of words, and that profanity is maybe the lowest…and we think that people generally should seek the highest form of language” (Price, 2004). Penn’s rebuttal, “You mean like, uh, unpleasant, myopic, impotent, despot” (Price, 2004). Sure, you might be thinking that Penn is being mean to this guy, but right after Lafferty says, “I don’t know that real people talk that way…and I’ve worked for several presidents of the United States, and never heard any of them privately or publicly use language like that” (Price, 2004). Cue clip of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney at a campaign rally where Bush points out Adam Claymer – of the New York Times – to Cheney and remarks about how Claymer is, “a major league asshole” (Price, 2004).
In both of these instances, Penn manages to outright insult the two people talking, without swearing, making an effort to debunk their idea that if we get rid of swearing, everything will be roses. It’s a hint at what they’ll bring up later in the show, about how context is more important. And as if to foreshadow that a little bit more, they show a clip of Jim O’Connor, who wrote Cuss Control: The Complete Book on How to Curb Your Cursing, telling people to use the word “balderdash” instead of something else that would be offensive. Penn reminds us of what the word originally meant; “it means a muddle or a mess, originally of alcoholic beverages, but he’s using it as a simple ejaculation” (Price, 2004). Okay, Penn, thank you for that vivid imagery. Holy shit. Now, it should be noted that as of this writing, Dictionary.com does list one of the definitions as being, “senseless, stupid, or exaggerated talk or writing; nonsense.” But the site also lists a second, obsolete, definition as, “a muddled mixture of liquors.” So, they’re both right. Hell, Penn might have a point though. Maybe since people like O’Connor were using it out of context, the meaning of the word changed. Bah, humbug. But perhaps the best foreshadow of all is when Penn’s voiceover resumes with, “He believes it is unpleasant words that make the world unpleasant, not unpleasant behavior” (Price, 2004).
Since the topic of a pleasant world was mentioned, we’re going to cut back to Ginny with, as Penn puts it, “her view of a pleasant society filled with offensive thoughts in baby talk code” (Price, 2004). In Ginny’s words, “For crying out loud…shut the front door, santa vaca. This is making a statement without getting in anybody’s face” (Price, 2004). Penn? Thoughts? Penn and Teller proceed to translate the Spanish phrase of “santa vaca” into English, which translates into “holy cow.” Now you see where that opening discussion has relevance. Penn brings up the point of how “holy cow” could be offensive to people of the Hindu faith, since they worship cows, and how since Ginny isn’t a Hindu, she probably doesn’t see anything offensive about saying “santa vaca.” But then Penn brings up the notion that if someone doesn’t believe that Jesus is God, they could say Jesus Christ’s name and according to Ginny, he says, “that would be perfectly polite” (Price, 2004). Ah, context, what are you doing here?
After the monologue talking about “santa vaca,” the tone of the show changes as we now come to the other side of the deliberation. Think of these people as the shows mercenaries, that are more than likely saying what Penn and Teller want to say, but they just happen to have better credentials. It’s these people that say Carlin’s “seven dirty words.” There’s John McWater, linguist and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York; John Morse, president, publisher, Merriam-Webster dictionaries; Ron Collins, author, and scholar at the First Amendment Center; Bob Corn-Revere, first amendment attorney at Davis Wright Trumaine in Washington, D.C.; and…Mancow. Okay, so four out of five is still pretty good. But there is a reason for Mancow being included, even if you do think he has a funny name. And he does redeem himself for his seemingly lack of qualifications by being the only one who, “won’t use the c-word, I’m sorry, my, uh, my wife would kill me” (Price, 2004). It’s okay, I laughed a little when he said that, too. But these people look at “profanity” in a completely different way; mainly, that the words are just that, words.
John McWaters comments that, “Profanity is a matter of superstition…’dog’ is a sequence of sounds, ‘doooogg’…we have no problem with that word, but then, instead of ‘doooogg,’ we say ‘fuuuk,’ that’s considered bad, oh, dear” (Price, 2004). After this is a scene with Penn petting a little dog and telling it in a very soft, and loving tone about how he’s going to harm the dog. Then he screams his love for the dog, which frightens it, and then he lovingly tells it how he would run it over with his car, which soothes it. This was done to show that how something is said is more important than what was said. And after this the interviews of the scholars discuss the first amendment, and how it’s actually the profanity and obscene language that is protected by the first amendment, despite Ginny, Lafferty, and O’Connor wanting the contrary. To drive the point home, it shows a clip of Jim Lafferty saying, “I don’t think it’s protected speech…The government should take action to protect people” (Price, 2004). Penn chimes in, “Actually, Mr. Lafferty, the government has provided protection, only it’s for the people you find offensive. The first amendment is very clear, ‘Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech’” (Price, 2004). And as if to further drive the point home, there is a clip later on of Jim O’Connor saying, “does the individual rights have precedence over society as a whole?” Penn responds, “Hello, yes, it is the cornerstone of our Constitution, and our society of the United States” (Price,2004). Then there’s the final nail in the coffin. To really drive it into our brains, they pull out a Thomas Jefferson quote, “Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything away…The course of history shows that as government grows, liberty decreases” (Price, 2004).
If you’re wondering why I haven’t included much from the scholars, it’s because they all pretty much say the same thing, and they do this very well without making themselves look like idiots. They know the law, they know the rights of the people, and they are learned professionals that wrap everything up into a neat little package. They all pretty much see an attack on profanity as an encroachment on the freedom of speech that is inherently meaningless. And when being interviewed, they discuss the words for what they are, just, words. McWaters talks about how meaning and context have changed over time. Collins talks about how the more protected you are the less liberty you have. And all, even Mancow, agree that it’s the message that counts more than what’s said. This is all concluded with Penn’s final monologue, “[They] aren’t asking that we control our anger, they aren’t asking that we change our behavior, that we treat each other with more respect or patience, they aren’t trying to be nicer, they only want you to shout something they feel appropriate…They don’t care about the package, just the gift wrap…It’s trivial of us to hurt your feelings with the squeaky cleanest of words. It’s also trivial for us to tell us[sic], ‘we love you,’ with the most vulgar profanity…The message is the message” (Price, 2004).
Whew, man. I’ll admit, that was longer than I had planned, but there is some good news now. The analysis of the South Park episode isn’t going to be near as long. Because, like I said earlier, since it’s a sitcom there’s going to be a lot of story stuff that is for entertainment purposes. In fact, it’s going to be only a few paragraphs.
For starters let’s look at Kyle’s reaction to everyone going crazy to hear “shit” being said on television. He sees it as just marketing for the show, and doesn’t understand what the big deal is, despite the parents letting the children watch it because Cop Drama, “is a very artsy, dramatic show” (Parker, 2001). And when Kyle runs into Butters and asks if he wants to go see The Lion King, Butters says,
Oh, sorry, I can’t. They’re gonna say ‘shit’ on Cop Drama, and my mom and dad say I have to watch it with them, so that I don’t take it the wrong way.
How many ways are there to take it? It’s just a stupid word (Parker, 2001).
Kyle seems to be representing Matt and Trey’s view on “shit” just being another word, that probably doesn’t deserve all of the attention that it gets. As if to scratch the itch of insanity even more, so that no soothing balm of censorship can possibly heal it, the day after “shit” is said on Cop Drama, it officially becomes okay to say, and they bring up the utter ridonculousness of over examining one word.
This is ridiculous. Just because they say it on T.V., it’s alright?
Yes, but only in the figurative noun form, or the adjective form.
You can only use it in the non-literal sense. For instance, ‘That’s a shitty picture of me,’ is now fine. However, the literal noun form of, ‘This is a picture of shit,’ is still naughty.
I don’t get it.
The adjective form is now also acceptable. For example, ‘The weather outside is shitty.’ However, the literal adjective is not appropriate. For example, ‘My bad diarrhea made the inside of the toilet bowl shitty, and I had to clean it with a rag, which then also became shitty.’ That’s right out (Parker, 2001).
Ms. Choksondik tells the students that using it in the expletive is also acceptable. After the explanation is given the kids are happy that they have a new word that they can finally use. Which causes Kyle to become angry, leaving Cartman to taunt him. This causes Kyle to shout, “There’s no sand in my vagina” (Parker, 2001). Ms. Choksondik then sternly warns the students to watch their language, finishing it by saying, “shit” (Parker, 2001). That last comment is obviously there as an ironic gag. But it has a subtle intelligence to it. South Park in general is high-brow comedy cloaked in toilet humor. Here you have people carrying on a conversation about the proper ways of saying a profane word, and the children excited that they get a new word to say, even though it isn’t. And following up this scene is one where Mrs. Garrison is telling her Kindergarten students, who don’t understand, using similar teaching methods about how, “it’s all about context” (Parker, 2001).
Later on in the episode, the kids find out that there is a reason why “shit” is sometimes called a curse word; being originally a “word of curse,” and that using it profusely would cause a massive plague, as well as Geldon, to appear. It’s about this time that everyone is now getting tired of the word, since it’s the only “creative” idea that the T.V. executives can come up with is to have “shit” being said more often. As Randy Marsh puts it, “it’s getting kind of old” (Parker, 2001). Jump to the end, when Geldon is defeated, and Kyle and Stan tell everyone about what they’ve learned.
You see, we’ve learned something today. Swearing can be fun, but doing it all the rime, causes a lot of problems. We’re all saying the S-word too much…We have to go back to only using curse words in rare, extreme circumstances.
And besides, too much use of a dirty word takes away from its impact. We believe in free speech and all that, but leaving a few words taboo just adds to the fun of English.
So please, everyone, from now on, you’ve got to try and watch your language (Parker, 2001).
The premise of the show may sound stupidiotic, but there is one very important thing you should know. Stan is basically Trey’s persona in the world of South Park, and Kyle is Matt’s. So when you read what Stan and Kyle said, that’s Trey and Matt talking. They may use profanity a lot, but what they want everyone to know is that even they don’t want it to be used all the time. Just when it’s needed. But apparently that’s not what Comedy Central thinks. On the DVD commentary for the episode, Matt and Trey talk about how they wanted to say “shit,” just a couple of times. Just say it to say it. But Comedy Central said no. So then they asked if it would be alright if they said it a bunch of times. And Matt and Trey said that Comedy Central said that that was okay. Try wrapping your head around that one. I mean… shit.
Oh, thank goodness that’s over with. Now I get to finally talk. Nothing against Penn and Teller or Trey and Matt, but I have to be honest, it just wasn’t that much fun relaying my interpretation of their opinion; direct as though it may have been sometimes. Which is probably why I’m a creative writing major and not a technical writing one. BO-RING. I’ve been waiting patiently to interject myself into this, but it seemed to be taking forever.
I’m gonna start with Ginny, stupid chacho, mouthing off about- seriously, just want to- gah! God, I just want to hit her in the head with a plastile cautionary pylonic device. Mother-AHHHHHHH! How’s that for ethos? Seriously, I’m right with Penn and Teller on this one. Just hearing- I feel at this point I should warn you that the angrier I get at something or someone the more inclined I am to casually swear, so, you’ve been warned. But just hearing her talk about how awful profanity is, but proudly displaying that stupid sign of the bull obviously shitting is just…wait, what the hell does that sign…”No Nerds.” Hey, fuck you, lady! How do you like that? Mrs. Righty McRighter-Right managed to offend all up in my face and she didn’t even say one [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] word. If I were a cartoon, the proverbial steam would be shooting out of my ears. Not even covering yourself up with kittens would make you look sweet to me. And kittens are the shit. Words my ass, let’s talk about context.
Ginny just so happens to be a driving teacher – fan-fucking-tastic – I’m glad I didn’t have to learn to drive from her; I would’ve driven myself into a wall to make myself fell better. And I don’t care if some kid called you a “skater mom” and you think it makes you cool; you still do stupid shit like this ludicrous hand turkey thing, which I’m not even going to bother describing. It takes two hands, and chances are, even if I describe it perfectly, you’ll still screw up the mental picture. Suffice to say, it looks downright moronic to begin with, and oh, yeah, it doesn’t fucking matter what you use to replace “the bird,” your intent is still there, you stupid chacho! You still think absolute dick about the person you’re doing this to, only your way is completely worthless, since a rational person wouldn’t be offended by whatever it is you’re doing because they’re too busy thinking, “That person is fucking crazy. Hide the kids.” C-O-N-T-E-X-T! You just…don’t…get it. As evidenced by this gem, “I do think God cares about the language we use, otherwise He would not have said in the Ten Commandments, ‘Don’t use Gods name in vain.’ A substitute that I have is, when I’m dealing with my students or even in my home, I would say, ‘I swear to Buddha.’ Because if you’re going to profane a deity, I guess it might as well not be your own” (Price, 2004). Whiskey tango foxtrot? Otherwise known in the gaming world as what the fuck?! Seriously Ginny (there’s that seriously), you have done the impossible. Hearing you say stupid shit like that has actually made me want to burn down a church. Do you have any idea how fucked up that is? Granted, I would never actually do that, because unlike you I’m actually mindful of other peoples’ religious beliefs. I’ve never heard anyone say anything that caused me to want to burn a church before. And I’ve heard some stupid people say some equally stupid things, but, wow. You have taken me beyond words, to the point where I don’t even want you in my paper anymore. So just, get out, or, I, swear to Buddha I’ll go santa vaca on your front door.
I can’t believe that actually happened. She actually made me angry enough with her sheer stupidity that I need to take a break. She’s like some kind of Wonder Woman of moronic ineptitude. At least the next time I go to Spokane, if I see some dip doing random weird things with their hands, I’ll know who to blame. I just…I need to return some video tapes.
Okay, better. The next person on my list is that Jim O’Connor guy. I’m not even going to bother with Lafferty. He pretty much takes a beating when Penn openly insults him without uttering a single profane word. And Penn pretty much summed up nicely anything I would have said about him. How’s that for a veiled insult Mr. Lafferty? You’re not even important enough to rebuke. And I didn’t swear. But O’Connor, ho-ho, now there’s another Jim of a different color. Not really, they’re both white, and imbeciles, and both of them probably have at least one sweater vest. Now, he didn’t piss me off as a much as Ginny did, dumb chacho, but there was one thing I wanted to bring up since I couldn’t help but notice it after having to play, pause, rewind, pause repeat in order to get the quotes correct. He has a board displayed behind him in the clip of him teaching a class. I couldn’t help but zero in on a few of the things it lists that will happen if you stop swearing. The first one is “sound more intelligent” (Price, 2004). Should I explain how the damn length of the hypotenuse squared of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the other two squared sides because that bad motherfucker Pythagoras says so? I thought not. The second is to “communicate more clearly” (Price, 2004). “Oh, shit, I just got shot in my fucking leg.” Now a normal person would think, “Damn, that must really hurt. I bet they could use some medical attention. And in a quick and efficient manner that is readily available from many quality trained professionals.” Do you honestly think someone will hear that and assume the leg was singled out for its procreating tendencies? Third, “avoid offending others” (Price, 2004). See Ginny, and politely shut the fuck up. Seriously, you, Ginny, and Lafferty are so dense you bend light.
I’m going to be completely honest with you, that felt really good. I don’t even care that it’s likely that none of them will ever read this, it felt good all the same. Now you’re probably wondering what I have to say about what the wordsmiths and Matt and Trey think. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Like I said at the beginning, I lucked out that I found two award winning shows that share my view about profanity or language in general. I do think the over use of profanity causes it to lose its impact. I’m willing to bet that when you read a profane word now, it doesn’t effect you same way it did on page one. And I agree that it should best be saved for rare, extreme circumstances, like Ginny. And it’s for the same reason as McWaters, Collins, Mancow, Corn-Revere, and Morse view words, as just words, that I can swear when talking about Ginny, Lafferty, or O’Connor, and not need to rely on “swearing to Buddha.” And as for those awards? Bullshit! has won a Writers Guild of America award. And South Park has won two Emmys, a Peabody, Time included the show on its “100 Best TV Shows of All Time” in 2007, and a CableACE award.
But even though I agree with what I think of as the more enlightened side thinks, I’m not quite done yet. There are two things that I want to discuss before I end this. The clever skill of word use, and context. I’ll start with context, since I cannot stress this enough. It exists for us to use it. If it’s just the words that matter, then I give you an experiment. Bi polar bear. Imagine that being SAID to you, and not reading it. You have two conclusions that you can draw from that sentence, but since context doesn’t mean shit, you should have no trouble figuring out which meaning I’m looking for. It’s okay, I’ll wait. I don’t mind…okay, I do mind. Just, let this be a lesson to you.
The next is how words can play tricks on us. Like how we can be offended by inoffensive things. Case in point, I had a shirt that said, “Swear Word.” That’s all it said. It didn’t actually have any swear words on it, but just the phrase, “swear word,” was enough to offend some people; which I found hilarious and just made me want to wear the shirt more. But “swear word” isn’t the only phrase or word like this. So during the course of going through the Bullshit! episode so many times, I decided to come up with my own list of, “Seven not-dirty words.” Bull shirt, fire truck, swear word, midget, mother fire truck, religious sects, expletive deleted. When in doubt on whether or not you want to offend someone, always mention religion. I’m willing to bet some people find me calling Job a “bible thumper” on page one is more offensive than the fact that I just blatantly insulted an entire social class of little people. Aren’t words amazing? And now for the bitchin’ conclusion.
Holy shit, six thousand word count. Xenu Christ. If reading this has taught you just a fraction of what it has me, it’s that there are some completely asinine peeps in the world. I chose “asinine” for one very specific reason. I was having a friend help me brainstorm some words that aren’t offensive, but could sound offensive. She said “asinine.” I said that’s a good one. Assssss-inine. Ha! Fooled you. Then I told her she should draw me a picture of “asinine” that I could include for visual aid. I was planning on getting a picture depicting something asinine, not a pictograph of the word asinine. Looking at it now I can completely understand why someone could look at it and be offended. I mean, what the hell is that little dude on the mountain top supposed to be all about? “Planting a flag,” or something. Yeah, like that isn’t supposed to symbolize anything. To be fair to her though, I don’t think she was paying attention to what was already on the sticky note, so please, don’t take the picture of the man “planting his flag” and hold it against her. We don’t know the context. Maybe he just really likes flags, and climbing things. Maybe he isn’t even a he. The whole thing is rather silly. Which, I suppose, makes it asinine. So I guess the picture itself is a definition of the word by its existence. Oooo, deep.
When we don’t understand the full context of something, we lose out on a very important part of what is trying to be communicated. For instance, that Scott guy I was talking about in the beginning? Could be any manner of guys. It’s just something that me and a friend started doing because we wanted to be able to talk smack about people that annoyed us at work – right in front of them – without them knowing it. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, a “chacho” is the female counterpart to a “Scott.” When my friend and I change the word that we use when talking unfavorably about someone, we have no delusions about it. We know we’re still assholes.
Then again, some things are just naturally offensive. Like Paris Hiltons face. Fuck me, that thing is ugly.
Parker, T. (Director). (2001, June 20). It hits the fan [Television series episode]. In South park. Braniff.
Price, S. (Director). (2004, August 12). Profanity [Television series episode]. In Penn & Teller: Bullshit. Showtime Networks Inc.