Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Potty Mouth

My mother, who was, in many ways, amazingly open minded for her day, was amazingly puritanical in others. For most of my growing up years, she was a hairdresser. Those otherwise firmly in the closet, were respected and accepted in this industry. As a result, my mother accepted even the most flamboyant queen with forward thinking affability.

Though we lived in the land of Catholicism, my parents were Baptist. While shacking up was not really encouraged, nor was it touted as the surest and fastest route to hellfire and damnation. She certainly wouldn't have wanted her daughters to enter into such an arrangement, but I think the resigned herself to the fact that it was the logical result of a society too long held captive by anitquated and oppressive ideals.

So the long and short of it is, that sinners and queers didn't phase her a bit, but she simply could not abide a potty mouth.

As children, we were forbidden from using even marginally disagreeable language. "Fart" for example. An alternative was never discussed, and farting was the ever present elephant in the room at our house. Piss, crap, pissed off, idiot, moron, retard, buttmunch...any anatomical and/or scatalogical slang deemed unacceptably crude...all of these were prohibited. Real swear words were of course, absolutely verbotten. My Dad occasionally managed to slip one of the lesser profanities past her, although he paid for it with reproving glances and stony silence until he had demonstrated his abundant contrition. We all wondered what would happen if the grand daddy of all swear words was ever uttered in her presence. The prospect, though vague, was horrifying enough to prevent us from ever taking steps to find out.

We didn't understand all the fuss over mere words. When asked my Mom would say "I'm not interested in raising trash." or "Smart people use smart words." Likewise, we were not allowed to use any of the many widely accepted bastardizations of the English Language, which we found equally archaic and eye-rollingly uncool. But my Mom, who posessed neither a fancy wardrobe, an expensively appointed home, or a prestigious pedigree, was nonetheless described as having "class". She understood that how one is perceived by the world is a matter of choice. And though we were undeniably poor, she would not allow her offspring to be further disadvantaged by the stigma of ignorance or apathy.

Now, that is not to suggest that my mother herself never uttered a swear word. She was human, and of course, lost her temper and her cool on occasion. But those instances were so rare, as to carry a strange kind of power. When my Mom swore, we knew she had been pushed to her limit.

I was 23 years old before I ever heard my Mom use the F word. On my wedding day, mere moments before walking down the aisle, it was discovered that the seamstress had delivered the wrong dress to the church, and then promptly left the country for a visit to her family in El Salvador. Being a size 22 and still held together with straight pins, the dress would not suffice. My mother, in her typical take charge fashion, got on the phone with the dress shop and let loose a stream of invective the likes of which I had never heard pass her lips; including, yes...the f bomb. The store delivered a dress, spot cleaned and pressed, within thirty minutes. It was the demo model of my own dress, and was somewhat ill-fitting, but the wedding went on as planned.

Afterwards, my Mother professed shame at her use of such language, but she didn't look ashamed. She looked satisfied. I was shocked. I was amazed. I was impressed as hell.

So what exactly is my point? Simply this: There is a shocking amount of gratuitous vulgarity, sophomoric sexual banter, and hackneyed, ill-conceived slang being bandied about by those who have the nerve to proclaim themselves "writers" by virtue of some half-literate commentary on the world wide web. To what end, I simply can't imagine, as I doubt anybody wants to be perceived as the boorish simpleton that such language would suggest. I suspect one of two possibilities. Either they are completely oblivious to how they are being perceived, or they take some kind of perverse pride in their half-baked buffoonery.

And though I do employ and enjoy a well timed epithet now and then, and I can certainly appreciate that sometimes profanity provides the extra emphasis to make a point or inject humor, I am utterly comtemptuous of those who habitually choose such an inelegant and apathetic manner of expressing themselves when there are so many resplendant words at their disposal. Language is a vehicle of singular beauty and complexity. The written word is a medium that allows us to express all the beauty, frailty, wonder and wisdom of the human condition. To call one's self a wordsmith, one must be able to bend words to one's purpose with intelligence and dignity, as well as respect for, and a love of the craft.

Failing that, one should consider taking up something more suited to one's talents, such as garbage collector, pugilist, or pornographer. I mean it. Don't make me tell your Mom. Or mine.

This is another post resurrected from the very early days of my blog when nobody was reading it. I apologize for the blatant post recycling, but it's the last week of school, and between the two boys, I am having a heck of a time keeping up with award ceremonies, class parties, field days, game days, etc., not to mention baseball playoffs and team parties. But I'm lucky, right now they are both at one school. I can't imagine what I will do next year when they aren't. Hope and pray that someone invents teleportation, I suppose.

9 Comments:

  • At 3:38 PM, Blogger mrsmogul said…

    great post, my mom has never cursed!! She is soo catholic!

     
  • At 4:57 PM, Anonymous kvetch said…

    I never cursed til I got divorced. Go figure that one.

     
  • At 12:14 AM, Blogger Veronica Mitchell said…

    Excellent post. Worth recycling.

     
  • At 9:46 AM, Blogger bubandpie said…

    Ahhh, here's where the "antagonist" part comes in! I was raised with similar standards (though my mom encouraged us to say "toot" instead of "fart" - a strange distinction, really, since I always found the onomatopoeia of "toot" desperately embarrassing). As a result, the swear words in my head rarely make it out of my mouth, and almost never onto the page; whenever I've tried it, I always feel vaguely like an imposter, as if everyone will stop and say, "Oh, look at her trying to fit in. It's so sad, really." That said, I enjoy a well-placed curse word, especially from those who can really throw them around with panache.

     
  • At 1:34 PM, Blogger Antique Mommy said…

    If I were an English Comp. teacher this post would be required reading. As Veronic says, well worth recycling. And no one can bend a word or turn a phrase quite like you.

     
  • At 1:35 PM, Blogger Antique Mommy said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 1:05 PM, Blogger Gurukarm Kaur said…

    Thank you! There are a couple of "mommy blogs" I check in on occasionally whose authors seem to think foul language is what makes their writing hip, chic, cool, and worth reading. Your very well-written post puts the lie to that idea!

    :-)

     
  • At 3:59 PM, Blogger Overwhelmed! said…

    Great post, even if it was a resurrected one. :)

     
  • At 7:57 AM, Blogger Marvel said…

    The way you string words and sentences together is so melodic. I love reading your posts. This one was particularly beautiful! Have you thought of writing a book? You should be paid for your poetry!!

     

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