Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Seven Dirty Words

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George Carlin and his famous seven dirty words that you can’t say on TV routine literally changed the world, well, at least for those of us living in the USA. Mr. Carlin’s routine was, and still is, a comic masterpiece. However, it's a perfect illustration of one of my generations (baby boomers) more unfortunate tendencies -- tossing the tot out with the Jacuzzi water.  


We boomers grew up in an era of unprecedented affluence and scientific advances. We took this for granted, we thought this was normal. Even if the Greatest Generation (GG) had made a more determined effort to keep our feet on the ground it probably wouldn’t have done much good. They were our parents. Most parents are wired to want the best for their kids, even the parents that turn out to not be very good at being parents. Most parents will continue to want the best for their kids, even the kids that turn out to not be very good at being human offspring and opt for the high functioning chimpanzee track. Most parents think (hope) their kids are special, and continue to tell them so, even once they realize their kids may be as flawed as they are, potentially even more so. The GG told the BB's we were special; they were amazed, and grateful, to be sharing a reality with us that was in many aspects even better than the dreams that had sustained them through the Great Depression and the Second World War. They told us we were special and lucky and that we had at least the potential to accomplish things they couldn't even imagine. After all, America put men on the moon less than a decade after JFK made it a national goal, clearly the future was so bright the sunglasses industry wouldn’t be able to keep up with demand.  


Aside: Before continuing I must apologize if anything above or below triggers an anxiety attack of such magnitude that the readers hands begin trembling with enough velocity to enable them to tint paint without the benefit of a machine. I know you had a terrible childhood and now thanks to me, your hands are shaking so badly you can’t get the lid off the Xanax bottle. Deep breath, deep breath, there you go, pop a couple of them babies and lay down, ain’t it time for Dr. Phil? So sorry, just relax, the rest of us will carry on without you. No, really, you’ve nothing to be embarrassed about, just chill.


Where was I? Oh, yeah, growing up baby boomer and being raised by parents that literally saved the world. If you were lucky enough to come of age taking food, clothing, and shelter, not to mention TV, stereo sound, various vaccines, McDonald's french fries (not the frankenfries they serve now, the ones made from fresh potatoes and fried in lard, as God intended) and the like for granted -- soup lines and fighting a world war that we could’ve lost resulting in enslavement if you were lucky, death if you weren’t -- is like, hard to relate to man. Thanks mom and dad but look at all the stuff that's still wrong with the world, you need to get out of the way, we've got a utopia to build and we're in a hurry. We need to blow up a lot of the goofy beliefs you hold that are standing in the way of us establishing heaven on earth. For example: Words are words, why are you so uptight about words, why do you want to censor everything?

Which brings us back to the seven dirty words and tot tossing. Words, obviously, are symbols. The word tree is not a tree, it's a label. If we were to decide that tree spelled backward, eert, was a better label and this new word caught on with our fellow speakers of English, trees could become eerts. Since eert is a bit awkward looking and sounding it would probably morph into ert. Ain't no thing, words are just words. Hunny look! ain't doze erts budafull? 

Bonkercockie! Words are the building blocks of language, language enables the networking of human minds, the networking of human minds enables us to survive, with a touch of style, a reality that is, "...solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short (Thomas Hobbs). Words, their meanings, and how they are used are important in the same way that the composition of building materials, and how they are assembled, determines whether your home is a hut or a house.  

Words have power. How much, and what kind of power, depends on their context and meaning. Language, how you use words, supplies the context and shapes the meaning. I've been known to use the phrase, what the hell. I've also been known to use the phrase, WTF. I use the world-famous acronym WTF here because I respect the power of the f-word and because the acronym works better within the context of this blog.  

If words are just words why is the psychic shrapnel from F-bombs tossed by tots more lethal than the psychic shrapnel of F-bombs tossed by truck drivers? Why do we want to toss the tots into a Jacuzzi and wash their mouths out with soap?  

©Mark Mehlmauer 2015


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