Sunday, June 13, 2010

Swearing politicians

An article in Time talked about how politicians are caught using some type of swear word and how they try to control their use of the language. I say good for them. I know Joe Biden is a democrat. I do enjoy hearing him speak though. Not speeches on topics but when he spoke at Ted Kennedy's funeral it was warm, witty, personal and you knew how much he thought of Ted and the rest of the Kennedys. It seems to me that there are two types of swearing: 1. that which is meant to outrage, offend, or just gross us out; and 2. that which adds to, embellishes or helps make a strong point.

I swear. My daughters have been known to utter a word or two. I think when we smack our thumb with a hammer one of the best natural pain relievers is a string of foul obscenities and curse words that tend to pull some pain from the body and dissipate it into the atmosphere.

There is an emphasis to "hell no" that does not exist in a simple no. There is a point of emphasis that is expanded when one says, "what the fuck is that?" Among comrades there can be a warmth expressed that goes beyond just the words when I might say, "well you old bastard, you did good!" There is an intimacy to that kind of statement that others may not achieve. There may be some one on the fringe of the conversation who say to themselves, "I will have arrived when he calls me an old bastard."

Now I have some relatives who tend to use cursing and obscenities for shock value. That is a misuse of the the art of cursing. That is ignorance of language that allows for that kind of expression. It also is ignorance of being able to express themselves in a fashion that could be done better without shocking the pants off some little old ladies who overhear such and outburst.

Swear for effect, not out of ignorance or inability to convey your meaning in a more acceptable fashion. As for politicians swearing, I think it provides a sense of reality that otherwise would not exist. It gives us a measure of the person's passion. So I hope they continue to embellish their style with a few well chosen words. Damn right!

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