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Friday, June 08, 2007

"Frankly, my dear ..."

Civility. The lack thereof has been raised in commentary pieces about education, pop culture and constitutional rights. They ask: Why does language have to be so course and so loud? The response: That's the way it is - on the street and on TV and in movies - and stop being such a prig.

But does it have to be that way? Lacing every sentence - whether spoken or written - with obscenities doesn't add much to the communication. If anything, it lowers the level of discourse. Why respect the views of someone who doesn't know how to effectively channel the power of words?

As for the blue language so often heard on TV or in movies, does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Back in the pre-TV days, film viewers were absorbed by the power of love and hate without bedroom scenes and forbidden words. That's why Clark Gable's "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn'' became an iconic movie line.

Times may have changed, but I suspect there are many people today - of all ages - who would rather think about words than be bludgeoned by them. And that's not being priggish.


Anonymous Ray said...

"As for the blue language so often heard on TV or in movies, does art imitate life or does life imitate art?"

This is something that's been bugging me for quite a while. I think life imitates art (if you want to elevate it to the level of art). I believe people are manipulated and beaten up by the collective culture (perhaps another misused word) without realizing that they have other choices. Part of it is peer pressure and part of it is corporate string-pulling. Maybe this would be a good argument for there being no such thing as free will since so few people express any desire to think for themselves and choose their own path. The corporate media decides what's cool, what you need, what you want, even who you are... all the way to the bank, leaving people completely unaware that they've been manipulated. The same holds for language: there's a way people are supposed to be and if you don't follow along, you don't belong.

11:55 PM, June 08, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you meant "coarse" and not "course" your 'discourse' :)

1:55 PM, June 09, 2007  

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