By Angela Alfano
Having grown up in a house where cursing was a big no-no, I refrained from saying curse words until the ninth grade. Now, I curse like a sailor, just never in my parents’ home. A tale as old as time, curse words are “big people words” and should never be used because they are not nice.
“Oh my God” was considered a curse in my house. My mother would repeatedly say, “God has nothing to do with it!”
As recently as 15 years ago, children were having their mouths washed out with bars of soap for cursing around their parents and especially their grandparents. That is now a rare sight. Children can be heard in lower level middle school classes and even elementary schools cursing on the playground. One can assume they are not going home to eat a bar of soap for dinner.
In grade school, when a teacher would slip and say words like “hell,” or “crap,” or things of that nature, the whole class would crack up laughing. Now, it is the kids who are slipping!
Moving to New York from Iowa for school, Shelby Townsend, a sophomore Journalism major, was in culture shock after moving to Long Island. “Of course, at home there are people who curse, it is just a rare thing to hear kids do it,” Townsend said. “But here, everyone uses profanity. When the tours of Boy Scouts would come through the school, they couldn’t have been more than nine years old, and they were whispering curses to each other!”
Most of our grandparents would frown upon hearing their grandkids curse. But some parents are definitely growing more accepting.
Fifty years ago, curse words were used as a derogatory language and to degrade or offend someone. Today, profanity simply enhances a story, kind of like using a thesaurus. If one uses a curse word in front of an adjective, the story just got more interesting.
I do not think that curse words are shocking anymore. I think at one time everyone would have wide eyes upon hearing someone curse, but now it is just expected by certain people, especially in the media. Hearing a song on the radio with no curses is almost like finding innocence in society.
Even TV shows on TeenNick and Disney Channel allude to curse words but instantly cut the character off before they say the profane word, and kids laugh! They understand what almost happened. In a university setting, it is not uncommon for professors to use profanity and most students do not find this odd.
There will always be a time and place where profanity cannot be excused. Of course, when addressing the country or even the world, the President of the United States will never be expected to use profane language. However, that is not to say that if someone hears the President curse during a golf game his entire reputation will be crushed.
Curse words having any negative effect on a persons’ character in real life situations will soon be a thing of the past. In job interviews, people will walk in and have a SpongeBob moment, “How the *$%* are yah?”