Vulgarity in Language is a Form of Expression, Not Tastelessness
People should feel free to use curse words in any social setting, so long as they are appropriate to the conversation
Let’s be blunt — television is riddled with foul language, bad role models and poor characters. Yet in my day-to-day life, I’m not allowed to behave in the same manner as those who are on TV. Why is that so? The music I listen to is deemed “inappropriate” and with one click of a button, I can purchase as much pornography as I want.
However, at UNLV, I am expected to behave differently. I am expected to respond to my peers and professors with sophistication and act interested in the things I care little for. Why don’t I have the right to use cuss words mid-sentence if it happens to be appropriate at the time?
In some of my classes, my professors will cuss accidentally or as a way to make use of vulgarity. Those are my favorite classes. If I can be drafted tomorrow and sent to fight in a war I neither want nor care to spend my tax dollars on, I sure as hell can use whatever language I want without any negative repercussions. But even more so, there is an innate right to speak my mind, regardless if I have been programmed by my generation’s culture.
There is also this erroneous concept that people need to get over — the idea that there is such a thing as right and wrong in society. In this post-modernist world we live in, things are not as black and white as they used to be. Once you get around this concept, life is going to get a whole lot better for you. Sure, keep those “traditional” values you hold dear, but don’t get frustrated with other people who think differently and have evolved.
I just recently read an essay written by David Foster Wallace, which he suggests that standard written English is racist and inappropriate.
Think about who writes the dictionary: overweight, white scholars who have spent decades upon decades in agreeable environments with few to no violent acts committed towards or around them. Do you think that a representative of the hood is present in that room? Hell no! The reality is that they keep the standard unfair towards minorities and people in impoverished parts of the world.
But then again, Wallace does say that this standard white English is exactly what keeps society at a standstill. In the United States alone, there are over 330 million citizens. How can you expect one person in this spectrum to communicate the same way as someone on the other end? You can’t, and that is why Wallace explains that, when it comes to language, a standard needs to exist.
I agree with him to some extent, I just think that there should be some liberality to the language used. As an individual who learned to speak English later on in life, I can tell you that the language is pretty difficult, but beautiful nonetheless.
The reality is that this society simply does not accept overbearing vulgarity, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have ownership of your words. They are your words, and if they communicate exactly how you feel, how can they possibly be inappropriate?