Our public discourse has been debauched and degraded for over 40 years, now, and it's making us a coarser, ruder, and tasteless people. The film and music industries have been in the vanguard of our culture's race to the bottom of the cesspool, and other institutions, like public schools, have largely given up trying to stanch the flow of noisome swill emanating from the mouths of so many of our youngsters.
Liberals, of course, never met a symptom of cultural decay which they didn't approve and sneer that those (like me) who have a problem with foul language should just get over it. It's just words, after all, they tell us, but of course this is absurd coming from people who would shriek in moral outrage if someone used the "N-word" or "faggot" in their presence.
Words are not just words. They have enormous power to hurt, to offend, to debase and to cheapen. Vulgarity, like the spray from a manure spreader, befouls not just the source but also whatever else is within range. The language people use is an indicator of their character and class, and to be in the presence of someone whose speech is a kind of moral halitosis is even more unpleasant than being in the presence of someone whose breath is foul. The latter is a symptom of inattention to the hygiene of one's mouth, but the former is a symptom of inattention to the hygiene of one's soul.
Anyway, here's Parker's lede:
Scene: An elevator in New York Presbyterian Hospital where several others and I were temporary hostages of a filthy-mouthed woman who was profanely berating her male companion. It wasn’t possible to discern whether he was her mate or her son, but his attire (baggy drawers) and insolent disposition seemed to suggest the latter.Do read the rest of her meditation at the link.
Every other word out of the woman’s mouth was mother------, presumably a coincidental reference to any familial relationship. Finally, she shared with us bystanders her belief that said mother------ would not be welcome in her house (Hark! Good news at last!) and that he could very well seek shelter at his mother----ing father’s house. Aha, family ties established.
At this point, in a variation of deus ex machina, the elevator doors opened and we, the numb majority, were able to escape our too-close quarters, but not the diatribe, which continued unabated down the hallway, through the exit and onto the sidewalk.
A few of us made eye contact and returned the stare of recognition common among hostages. The understood sentiment is helpless indignation. What, really, can one do under such circumstances?
It was comical in a way. Seven or eight adults standing at attention, eyes forward, pretending that nothing is amiss or untoward, figuring we’d just get through this and thanking the stars and the moon that no children were on board and that this woman would not much longer be part of our lives.