Pardon My French
I’ll share the backstory of this post with you all.
A colleague who has not (at this stage) subscribed to my blog was reading Your New Normal.
He’s a conservative, Christian, Kiwi chap, fifties, wife and two kids entering Uni.
An all-round good bloke that you’d love to have a beer with if he would actually get out sometime and join us at our work get-togethers. 🤪
He appreciated the message delivered in that post and said it was excellent except for the fact I chose to use expletives in it.
Because he knows me personally, he understands who I am, but if I were a stranger to him, my choice of language would stop him from subscribing to the blog.
And he’s not the first to mention it.
My father - a fine connoisseur in expletive use himself, suggested I refrain from using profanity.
So, when my colleague mentioned it to me, it made me think.
He is the audience my material resonates with - whose kids I want to have read my stuff, but respectfully does not appreciate my use of colourful language and as a result, may not show my blog to them.
Another dear colleague who’s seen my work is in a similar boat as our Kiwi counterpart.
She’s got kids who are at the stage where they’re finding their own feet, moving out of home to start their own lives and make an impact.
The messages throughout my blog, I feel would benefit them but my delivery conflicts with their family values.
I want my blog to have mass appeal, but by using expletives, I’m jeopardising the potential of my following.
Do I agree it’s the right thing to do and refrain from using them, or be true to myself and use appropriately to emphasise points I feel strongly about, and because it’s who I am and love using them?
What would you do?
The Origins of Profanity
No doubt, American culture has been a strong influence in modern history.
Whilst us Aussies have an identity of our own, much of their culture has amalgamated to become part of ours; reason being we’re the most ethnically diverse country.
That can be seen as both good or bad, as we’ve recently seen a rise in an American tradition - Halloween, become a part of our culture.
Some like it, some don’t.
That’s not what we’re here about, so let’s move on.
In his post, Geoff states:
“To the moralists, the pervasiveness of swearing is a clear symptom of the collapse of civility and the coarsening of American culture.”
If you think about it, it’s not just our language that’s changed. Our values have changed too - what’s acceptable in society.
The first thing that comes to mind is the evolution of the bikini.
But profanity goes way back before any of us were born, so this isn’t something new.
However, modern culture has played a major part in the use and acceptance of profanity.
Words once taboo in print and on-screen are now thrown left and right like it “Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing on a string.”
Even the C-bomb has gone uncensored in some shows.
The words we use today are relatively new.
And here’s the reason we say, “Pardon my French.”
Profanity in Aussie Culture
Nothing comes to mind more than an Aussie bogan going off his nut (at the pub) when you raise the topic of profanity uʍop ɹǝpun.
It’s un-Australian not to have a blast with a few expletives every now and then.
There are others among us though, who refrain from using bad language, and you can see their discomfort when someone is either using it haphazardly or making a scene in public.
There are legal implications for using profanity in certain countries and for using “offensive language” in three Australian states - New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria.
Now, if we use the reasonable person argument, a sensible individual will know their audience, be aware of their surroundings and use expletives sparingly and appropriately.
I’m not going to have the same type of conversation with the Prime Minister (although I’m pretty sure he’s one of us when it comes to having a blast 😉) as I would with mates down at the pub.
And we all know pulling the handle for another schooner is a reasonable excuse for a few more expletives to come out.
Some of you may have been raised not to use bad words.
But to use bad words, you’ve got to know them. I knew of and was using them in Primary School (sorry Mum and Dad 😕).
And you would be naive to think your children wouldn’t know they existed if you’re telling them not to use them.
They’re out there. The wrong people are breeding, and their kids are spreading their lack of values and the language that goes along with it.
For those of you to whom this post matters - I get it. You’re all trying to raise your kids to be decent individuals like yourselves. There are plenty of morons who have a voice and shouldn’t. You’re trying to limit your kids’ exposure to the negative aspects of society.
Now, I’m not going to tell you how to raise your kids - I’m not even a father.
But by limiting their exposure to these things, are you leaving them with a sense of naivety that they’ll have to come to terms with once out on their own? Don’t you feel your role and teachings as a parent has already been good enough for them to know right from wrong - both legally and morally?
I’m not wanting to make an argument about it. Honestly. How you raise your kids is your business. I’m just some chump with a voice and a platform.
However, you can only do so much as a parent. Know there will be influences outside of your control that will shape your children.
Many of us did things our parents didn’t know and wouldn’t have approved of. Has it dramatically changed the person we truly are?
Profanity is a part of our culture and here to stay. As Geoff puts it:
“Potty mouths are like potholes, just another of life's little inconveniences. They're there, they swear, get used to it.”
To my fellow swearers, for the sake of society and in consideration for those who choose not to swear, please be aware of your audience.
It feels good to use expletives when we do but be a moral citizen and use them wisely.
And for those of you who failed to notice, not once did I use an expletive in this post - you can all get fucked.