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Radically Inept
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
  Just a comment on fucking

Somehow I wondered over to
Matthew Yglesias: April 18, 2004 - April 24, 2004 Archives today, who was commenting on profanity on television, and no, it wasn't the obscenity of commercials he was commenting on, but the use of 'shit':
"Stuart Benjamin has a good look at some of the latest developments. Here's a thought from me. The problem with having people say 'shit' on television is, or so I hear, that it's 'bad for the children.' But what's bad about well? Well, I suppose that if children hear people saying 'shit' all the time on TV that might encourage them to go around saying 'shit' more often. And that would be bad, because it's often inappropriate to say 'shit.' But if everyone said 'shit' regularly, then there would be nothing inappropriate about saying it. The word's inappropriateness is a matter of pure convention, not a magical intrinsic attribute of the syllable. So if we heard 'shit' on TV all the time, people might start saying 'shit' all the time and there wouldn't be a problem with hearing 'shit' on TV. See what I mean?
But, that wasn't what got my attention. It was his comments on 'fuck', that caused me to think I might have something to muddy the waters on the entire question:
Now the depiction of sexually explicit content raises a different set of issues, and I suppose you might think of 'fuck' as presenting more of a sex issue than a profanity issue, per se. I'm a little unclear on what, exactly, the social value of trying to 'protect' children from sex is supposed to be, but the sentiment is near-universally shared by parents and I'm open to the possibility that folks with actual child-rearing experience may know something on this score that I'm missing."
So, here is where I throw some dirt into the waters, and stir. Does any rational human being think that children, raised in a single room cabin on the frontier, were not familiar with the act of procreation? I mean really. Do you think adults threw their children out of the cabin into a raging blizzard so they could consummate their love? Or, perhaps people believe that the frontier was populated via immaculate conception?

Now, supposing that I'm at least somewhat close to the truth here, and that adults did in fact copulate in the one room cabin with their children sleeping 3-6 Ft away. I guess it is possible that all children slept blissfully through the night while their parents committed the sinful act of creating siblings to help run the homestead, but I doubt it. In fact, I'll go even further out on a limb here, and say that in all likelihood, the children of our forebears were well equated with the facts of life well before the age of majority (safe supposition considering the average age to get married was somewhere around 14 yrs old).

Further, I would bet that even the most obtuse kid, raised on a farm, had a pretty good clue as to what procreation was, and how it was done. Really.

So, I guess my position is, "What the fuck are people worried about anyway? The word, or the act? And, just why?" Okay, I guess that's not a position, but rather a series of questions. Well, I've got more important things to worry about than deciding what should be allowed in someone else's vocabulary. Like, well, just about anything.

Update: 6:42, 21 Apr 2004

Going back to a, which may have seemed a throw away line, comment above:
...and no, it wasn't the obscenity of commercials he was commenting on...
I just saw a commercial for 'Deli Select', a seller of cold cuts, I guess. I say seller, because I have no idea what involvement they have besides packaging and selling meat, and as far as I know, the packaging could well be outsourced.

Regardless, the commercial has a 'wife' (could be significant other), calling her husband, who appears to be a butcher at a local grocery store chain (There are no real butchers in grocery stores anymore. Your local butcher has been regulated out of existance. Thanks ConAgra, ADM.), and asks him to bring home the meat he cut up special the last time. Which, from the way the information is portrayed, was somehow against the rules of his employment? Sounded that way. She was sort of whispering in that conspiratorial tone.

He then goes and buys a bunch of pre-packaged, Deli Select brand meats, removes them from their packaging and passes them off as his own work.

Now that is real obscenity. A corporation coming into my home via advertising, and telling my family that lying is okay. That lack of any personal integrety is normal; that it is perfectly okay for someone to claim someone else's work as their own. This is obscene. If my government really cared about the future of our country, they would not allow this pornography on the airwaves. Fuck fuck, get rid of promoting deceit. That would do more to improve our culture than any single thing I can think of. 
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