What the Bleep Are We Becoming?


Are we in danger of losing our way…of losing our ability to be resilient, thoughtful people? I am concerned.  Watching the Golden Globes, I thought my television was broken as the sound kept going in and out. Then I realized that the airwaves were being filled with profanity that thankfully I did not have to hear. Of course, Ricky Gervais set the stage by telling the audience, “Shut up, you disgusting, pill-popping, sexual deviant scum.”


That’s supposed to be funny?  I don’t think so.


Maybe the Golden Globes program was just following behavior we see elsewhere.

Since when did political campaigning devolve into name-calling, racist generalizations, and foul language and not so subtle sexual innuendos coupled with telling people to “get lost”, “shut up”, and other things that I would never put in print?


These adults—on screen, stage, and public office, are putting forth models for the children of our nation!  How can we fight bullying in schools when such low class, non-conversation is promulgated by adults?


Long ago, when my office was next to the school bus stop, 5th graders would come in to see me before the bus came. They knew I was a writer and they asked me to teach them bad words so they could respond to kids who were shouting such things at them.

“Hey guys,” I told them. “Four letter words are the sign of limited intelligence. What if I teach you big words, words that actually mean something and you will have the upper hand?”


"Hey, Eileen," they responded eagerly. "That would be cool."


And so I taught them phrases like:


Bellicose behavior is symptomatic of a weak ego.In a battle of wits, I never argue with an unarmed kid - (a play on the wisdom of Dorothy Parker).Your four letter words indicate a lack of elocution and comprehension, not to mention a disdain for superior dialogue.Seems to me that belittling buffoonery bespeaks badly on your intelligence - an absence thereof.


The kids practiced the phrases and then, in subsequent days, would rush in before the bus came, thrilled that they had stumped the bullying kids and asking to learn more BIG words. Those 5th graders got it.


I am not suggesting that multi-syllable words are a solution. But I do want to highlight a degradation of language and thoughtful conversation.


I live in the world of words: spoken and written. When we no longer can have conversations without vulgarity, when we applaud statements that have no substance except sound bites, when we accept bullying behavior from adults and can only shout slogans back and forth, I fear for the sustainability and resiliency of the nation I love.

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