Once upon a time, the family newspaper and its local broadcast equivalents cared enough about wholesome conversation to filter the profanities lest they offend the sensibilities of their readers, listeners or viewers. Either news executives don’t care anymore or their audiences have no sensibilities, or both, because the cussing is everywhere in journalism.
The latest evidence: The a-word is all over NPR. It has appeared in NPR coverage 22 times in the past year, most often when sources say it on air.
Worse, when a publication has a fit of common sense by not assaulting readers with vulgar, suggestive language, it faces ridicule for being puritanical. That’s what happened to the Los Angeles Times and other publications that showed discretion in not publicizing the name of a certain Russian punk band that has been in the news recently.
Filed under: Culture and Education and Media and News & Politics and People and Religion
This morning as I rounded the corner to depart the Metro station in our nation’s capital, the man behind me uttered a four-letter word devoid of any apparent context. For a moment, I wondered what I had done to offend him, and then I looked forward and realized why he cursed. Both escalators were broken, so he was going to have to walk up 72 steps to get to the street level.
My first thought was that his vulgar, one-word outburst is proof that America truly is plagued by an “obesity epidemic.” We’re so fat and lazy that we can’t even bear the thought of walking up the stairs. But another thought came to me as I read an article about how coarse our discourse has become. People are cursing so much that government officials feel compelled to punish it:
Language isn’t the only evidence of a country headed over a cliff into the abyss of spiritually defiant vulgarity. At our 12-year-old son’s soccer tournament over the weekend, I saw the kind of soccer mom who gives rednecks a bad name. She had a bare-breasted woman tattooed onto the back of her right shoulder — a shoulder that she proudly bared so hundreds of young children could see her body porn. She’s an embarrassment to soccer Moms, all Moms and all womankind, and sadly, she doesn’t care.
We can’t regulate bad words and bad behavior like hers out of existence, nor should we necessarily even try. But decent people who say nothing as filth continues to saturate American culture — and parents who tolerate it among or, worse, teach it to their children — should be ashamed.
We, the people, have allowed a great nation to become the United States of Profanity, and only we can steer our children and our country onto a more wholesome path.
UPDATE, 6/12: Residents of Middleborough voted 183-50 for the fines on public profanity. Ideally, Americans would take the hint and wash their own mouths out with soap so their neighbors or the government don’t feel compelled to act. But that’s unlikely.
Filed under: Culture and Government and History and News & Politics and Parenting and Rednecks and Religion
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The Bible clearly teaches that you reap what you sow, and if you play with rattlesnakes and refuse medical treatment after being bitten, eventually the poison will win.
So it was with Mark Randall (Mack) Wolford, the leader of a snake-handling church in West Virginia who, like his father decades ago, died this week after a timber rattlesnake bit him during worship. His sister’s account of what happened: “He laid [the snake] on the ground and he sat down next to the snake, and it bit him on the thigh.”
Wolford is the subject of a forthcoming documentary called “With Signs Following.” You can see his biblically ill-informed, ritualistic snake-handling practices in the trailer, which was released in December:
The saddest part of the story is that Wolford died thinking that God endorsed his method of worship and that his family and followers still believe it. “I’m proud of him and don’t want to see him die … but if he does, it’s still the word,” his mother says in the opening of the film’s trailer.
But hopefully filmmaker Kate Fowler’s analysis will prove prophetic about the impact of Wolford’s death: “He’s kind of been the person who kept the faith alive. I think we’ll see a sharp decline [of snake-handling worship] in West Virginia, at least of people openly practicing the faith.”
The sooner this redneck tradition disappears, the better it will be for the reputation of West Virginia because reporters no longer will have material to write stereotypical features like The Washington Post Magazine did on Wolford last fall.
Filed under: News & Politics and People and Religion and Video and West Virginia and Wildlife
Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen created a firestorm of rhetorical protest last week after she chided first-lady-wannabe Ann Romney’s credentials. In a CNN appearance Rosen said that Romney can’t possibly identify with the economic concerns of women in America because she “never worked a day in her life.”
Proctor & Gamble knows better. A sponsor of the 2012 Olympics, the company just released a video that captures the hard-working essence of motherhood — being there for your children:
The video’s storyline focuses on mothers of future Olympians, but the closing message is a reminder to the Hilary Rosens of the world that stay-at-home mothers do real work and have valuable insights into the economics of life. “The hardest job in the world,” the video says, “is the best job in the world. Thank you, Mom.”
Josh Romney and his brothers know that about their own mother. “She could have pursued a career in teaching, business or science,” Josh Romney wrote of Ann Romney in the book “Life Lessons from Mothers of Faith.” “But she always knew that the profession that would bring her the most happiness and fulfillment was that of a mom.”
Let’s hope the power brokers in Washington now see the value of mothers, too.
Filed under: Culture and News & Politics and Parenting and People and Religion and Video
“They can’t see past their prejudices.” That’s what misogynistic, hate-spewing and hypocritical HBO talker Bill Maher said right after airing this prejudicial portrayal of Mississippi voters:
Slate’s Dave Weigel is right that it’s fair game to expose “stupid voters” for what they are by accurately reporting what they say and believe. Video producer John Ziegler did a great job of exposing the civics ignorance of Barack Obama voters on Election Day 2008 in his brilliant short video “How Obama Got Elected.”
But the video on Maher’s show revived the same predictable redneck-bashing stereotypes that liberal elites have embraced for decades to malign people who don’t think like they do. You knew the video was going to be bad because Maher tried to rebut the inevitable outcry of Mississippians, other “real Americans in the South” and their conservative brethren before his producers even hit the play button.
“She did not cherry-pick these people,” he insisted of video producer Alexandra Pelosi, the daughter of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “… We are not making fun of anybody. She did not seek out people who look like what some people would say rednecks [look like].
Maher repeated that defense after the video aired — “[Pelosi] said she cut out 20 people who also did not have teeth” — but the disingenuousness of that claim became apparent as he, his guests and the audience laughed about the physical appearance of the people featured in and cut out of the video. The video was so obviously designed to perpetuate a myth about toothless, ignorant redneck voters in the South that even liberals are criticizing it.
Filed under: Culture and Hatin' On Rednecks and News & Politics and People and Rednecks and Religion and Video and West Virginia
Comments: 5 Comments
Our family just finished watching a marathon of last season’s “Top Shot” on the History Channel, and we were all thrilled to see Dustin Ellerman, who runs a religious camp in Texas, win the $100,000 prize. He was probably the only competitor on the show who didn’t need to be bleeped for vulgarity.
After watching the season finale, I decided to poke around the Internet to learn more about Ellerman and found this post-”Top Shot” interview with him on CBN:
What an excellent role model!
For a while today, I wasn’t so sure I had made a wise choice in picking “Top Shot” for quality father/son and male-bonding time with our 12-year-old. Although the History Channel bleeps most of the bad language from its reality shows, it’s fairly easy to interpret them visually, and the bad guy of “Top Shot,” Jake Zweig, uttered the f-word so many times during a couple of the episodes that I almost turned off the show.
But after seeing Ellerman win, I’m glad we watched to the end. The bad guy revealed himself to be a total loser in every respect, and the good guy won convincingly, after weeks of demonstrating both sportsmanship and humility. He stayed true to his faith and quietly let his light shine before people who clearly don’t put God first.
Those are lessons I’m glad our children had the opportunity to learn. Who’d have thunk they could learn it by watching reality TV?
Filed under: Entertainment and Hunting & Guns and People and Religion and Video
Comments: 2 Comments
Hollywood plans to send a sad but true statement next week about the vulgar realities of today’s modern family. ABC will air an episode of “Modern Family” about a 2-1/2-year-old toddler who says the dirtiest of dirty words.
“We thought it was a very natural story since, as parents, we’ve all been through this,” the show’s creator, Steve Levitan, said in defending the storyline.
Levitan’s explanation stretches credibility. His latest envelope-pushing plot is more a case of crude Hollywood social engineers trying to shove society further down the road of immorality than “entertainment” reflecting a norm. But he’s not too far ahead of the reality curve.
I’ve documented America’s seemingly perpetual slide into the pit of profanity on this blog:
Too many people think it’s cool, creative and comical to cuss. There is almost no circumstance where uttering a bad word is considered a bad thing. In that atmosphere, it is inevitable that men like Levitan will see how far they can go to make their black mark on society.
I wish Simon Cowell’s attitude held more sway in Hollywood and reality. He is determined to produce family entertainment free of swearing.
But when it comes to language, George Carlin is the hero. His admirers won’t rest until everyone from toddlers to grannies utter all seven of his dirty words (and then some) with reckless abandon at home, in school, on the job and across the airwaves.
Filed under: Culture and Entertainment and Parenting and People and Religion
Comments: 4 Comments
“Fact: There are no parental rights in the Constitution.” And the government — in the form of arrogant teachers and education bureaucrats who think they know best and do-gooder activist judges who take their side — is undercutting those rights every day. Here’s a taste of the disturbing evidence:
The U.S. education system is full of committed teachers and administrators who focus on teaching the basics children need to excel in life. They care about their students, and they deserve the support of every parent. But a vocal and powerful minority of educators is even more committed to shaping children’s minds in ways that have nothing to do with reading, writing and arithmetic — and they will not be deterred by engaged, informed parents.
The situation already is bad in America, which is one reason why we home-school (and under a religious exemption at that). It’s also why, as long as our children are of school age, we are unlikely to ever move to my much-beloved home state of West Virginia, where unenlightened rednecks are trying to impose invasive rules on home-schoolers.
But the conditions could get much worse for parents if the U.S. government embraces the ideas of people who want to create a Global Nanny State. Fight that possibility by signing the petition for a Parental Rights Amendment.
Filed under: Culture and Government and Home Schooling and News & Politics and Parenting and Religion and Video and West Virginia
How ironic that Dalai Lama humor is lost on the Dalai Lama himself:
Filed under: Just For Laughs and Religion and Video
We don’t want our children dining at Hooters when they go on field trips with irresponsible (and presumably male) chaperones.
But this brief story contains an arguably more shocking revelation than the fact that eighth-graders from Pennsylvania ate at Hooters while visiting the National Aquarium in Baltimore: “Hooters spokesman Mike McNeil says the restaurant chain often hosts groups, including sports teams and church organizations with teens and younger children.”
Religious church groups at Hooters? I wonder if they were wearing “What would Jesus do?” bracelets while ogling the busty waitresses.
(Read previous “Why We Home-School” lessons.)
Filed under: Parenting and Religion and Why We Home-School
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