Monday, September 24, 2007

Did Hitler Use Profanity?

I was brought up in a very animated household environment, a few curse words short of the Osborne family. My mother did not curse that much but my dad made up for it in spades. As young children we were not allowed to curse, but as we reached teenage years my siblings and I made my dad's repertoire sound Mary Poppinish.

My cousins, on the other hand, were raised in an environment where cursing was prohibited and any violation merited the worst punishment imaginable. One of my cousins shot someone's dog, blinding him in one eye, just because he felt like it. My aunt and uncle punished him by taking his bb gun away. Later that same day that same cousin said a bad word and almost 15 years later he is still recovering from the drastic measures taken to ensure that word would never be spoken from his lips again.

I'm certainly not advocating profanity become part of the mainstream media, but it does make me wonder why we choose to censor curse words as if they alone could cause our society to collapse. If the word "fuck" appears in one of our major newspapers or magazines, or is heard on radio or television...the news media goes crazy, yet no one flinches at the violence we are constantly exposed to from the time we are very young.

Obscene means offensive to the mind, morality or decency and there is no doubt words have the power to violate our sensibilities, but aren't we giving those same words more potency by overreacting to them? Especially when the truly obscene -- children without health insurance(vetoing SCHIP), dead and severely injured soldiers, children and civilians(Iraq war), violence in our inner cities etc are glossed over and ignored? Why do we allow the utterance of a word; the sight of a breast; men kissing each other, and other such innocuous occurrences turn us into raving lunatics?

Maybe it's because we really do value what people say more than what people do. Maybe it's because we don't think the truly obscene will affect us directly or we're afraid if we pay too much attention, those terrible things may affect us directly. And maybe that's why we ended up with the leaders we have today.

From what I understand Hitler refrained from using profanity.


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