Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Mild Language

I was in a video arcade the other day. Yes, I go to video arcades. I like video arcades. I have games I play regularly when I'm there. My current favorite is a sniper game called "Silent Scope". I shoot the bad guys and I get extra points for shooting them in the head. You're just going to have to learn to deal with it.

As I was exchanging my money for tokens I noticed a sign on the wall explaining the "ratings" for each of the game. Down at the bottom was one listed as "Mild Language" which explained that meant the games used "commonly heard four letter words"

Ummmmm, OK.

That would be like, cake and milk and work, right?

No,probably not.

When did that kind of language (I don't really have to give you a list right?) become "Mild Language"? When did it become socially acceptable? When did it stop being a big deal?

I'll be honest, I know all those words (and many more) and have used them all. Still do. But there's no pretense that they are "nice" words or "acceptable" words. They are profane words. My dictionary lists profane as meaning "vulgar or coarse". I use them as expressions of profound emotions. They are not playthings, not childish toys to be tossed around carelessly.

I've made my living for over two decades using language and the lack of respect for language I see today concerns me. We're far too likely to just brush something off by saying "That's not what I meant" as if that solves the problem. Words have power. Words have meanings. Meanings that can change based on context and delivery. They're damned dangerous things and should be treated as such.

Commonly used four letter words. Shouldn't those be glad and love and life?


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