Monday, August 19, 2013

A message to all adults who talk

We’re all adults here. And, as humans tend to do, we talk. Talking isn’t exactly an art form, but neither should it be a disgusting puddle of paints swirled into a puke-green mess squirted onto the ground, messing up the undersides of our shoes.

To that end, here are a couple of conversational habits that deserve to crumble into a dusty cloud of sulfur:

1) Constant cursing. I’m not saying this out of prudishness; I’m the polar opposite of a prude, which my movie, music, book, writing and friend collections will bear out. I’ve been known to curse from time to time. I’m a big believer in the value of a well-placed profanity, whether for humor or shock value — in those instances, “heck” and “darn” just don’t measure up.

But if you can’t manage three words of any conversation without spewing every swear word you’ve ever heard, you suck. You lack tact and imagination and are probably terrible at video games and love.

This isn’t one of those peeves that’s limited to uneducated, ignorant people. Indeed, many people I’ve heard do this have plenty of schooling or otherwise enough life experience to realize they shouldn’t sound like 11-year-old drunks at an Insane Clown Posse tailgate. And I think much of that is that people still get a charge out of saying something supposedly forbidden by polite society. Which is stupid, because “polite society” really hasn’t been a thing for awhile, and is usually portrayed in movies as the artificial construct that barely masks the antagonists’ repressed anger.

In other words, cursing long ago ceased to be subversive. Now, it’s just juvenile.

Nevertheless, that barely bothers me at all compared to this:

2) Using the N-word as a substitute for random words. I’m not a fan of that word. I’ve explained my stance on it before, and I don’t think we’re any closer to national maturity about it than when I wrote that. I hope it goes without saying that anyone who uses the epithet as a racial slur is a disgusting person, period. Others use it in the same way they use other profanities, for the tee-hee factor. In both cases, the person might be vile, but at least there’s some logic to the usage.

But there are people out there whose immediate instinct when, say, a friend tickles them, is to shout, “N*GGA!” This is just baffling. What thought process compels people to do this?

Even some white racists know better than to outright say the N-word. But many of those who say it randomly aren’t racist (at least among those I’ve encountered), so it’s even weirder. Still, it’s an interjection, so there’s at least some degree of subconscious at play.

That doesn’t explain probably the most head-scratching users of all: those who deliberately use the word to describe various objects. Such as, “Check out that tablet! I’ll bet that [N] is expensive.” There are no words...

Well, actually there are. Much better, more accurate words that won’t make the speaker sound like a racist ignoramus.

Both excessive cursing and endless N-word use have easy solutions: vocabulary.

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