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Clean speech vs. free speech is an endless debate

Published: Friday, April 8 2011 4:10 p.m. MDT

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mrfalcon05
Eagle Mountain, UT

What I've always wondered is, who decided which words were "swear words" and which were ok? I understand the obscenity behind the "f" word, when used in it's actual dictionary context, but what is the difference between saying "crap" and saying "sh**?" People are convinced that the "euphemisms" are ok, but the "real words" aren't. What's the difference? Either ALL of them are inappropriate, or none of them are. The attitude is the same either way. Fussing over "words" is silly.

Lbone
Salt Lake City, UT

I heartily endorse the efforts of Gage Bleazard to elevate the thinking and speech of his peers. Chronic spewing of profanity is the sign of a careless, undisciplined, degenerate mind. Our world is immersed in it and I'm sick of it! The prolific use of the f* word is desensitizing, let alone uncreative. "F" this and "f" that is all one can observe in many dialogues on YouTube and other similar forums.

14 yr-old McKay Hatch of California started the "No-Cussing Club" which currently has over 20,000 members. The opposition he receives for so doing is quite revealing as evidenced throughout the internet.

I understand an occasional expletive-letting at a weak moment, but the relentless saturation of our English language with vulgarities and profanities is one indicator of a deteriorating society. Who is going to oppose this? Where will it stop?

I am proud of people like Gage and McKay who exercise the initiative to publicly and courageously oppose mind pollution. We need more of them. These two so-happens-to-be Mormon boys appear to be living their religion unlike many of the "chameleons" I have known.

Bubble
SLC, UT

Oh great - another PC movement.

DBeck
Eagle Mountain, UT

As a long-time cusser, a well-placed word seemed to be heard when I felt I was ignored. I'm on a kick now where I'm curbing my expressions and I don't feel the spirit any more or less than if I'm letting loose and being honest whether using more offensive curse words or their cute euphemisms. As a practicing LDS I'm perplexed by the insistence of leaders and fellow Saints to questions words we use, to warn us about entertainment we allow into our lives, but no one seems to have a problem with being judgmental, with lying, with false witness, with spreading rumors and allowing gossip. I'd rather, to paraphrase something Joseph Smith said, associate with someone who curses a blue streak than someone who lies or spreads gossip. I also disagree about staying mad longer when swearing at a traffic light or someone not signaling for a lane change or people driving slow in the universally accepted though fast lane on the freeway. I generally tend to adjust my assertive driving at that time. I simply believe dealing with less self-righteousness would help me watch my mouth better.

Whattheheck?
Salt Lake City, UT

I bet that if someone came up to the gay club's recruiting table and tore up their pledge sheets and threw them on the floor, that it would become the next day's headline news with the ACLU getting involved and a lot more people crying foul. I applaud this young man and those who helped for taking a stand...I work in a high school and yes, the bad language is out of hand (more than just the "usual" swear words.) Return to civility is what we need, and this club was just one small way to help.

Rich in California
Palo Alto, CA

"Yea, yea; nay, nay." (Matthew 5:37)

Eddie
Syracuse, UT

As Pres Kimball once said..."Profanity is the action of a feeble mind expressing itself forcefully"

I work with a woman who throws the "f" bomb around like it is nothing and I have noticed that the rest of her English is terrible. Double negatives, wrong usage of many words. I'm not perfect but come on people let's use the English language correctly. We complain when illegals do not know how to speak English, then we turn around and use foul words and butcher our own language and think that we are cool.

UtahMaus
Orem, UT

I find the attitude in the third paragraph telling, "I reserve my right to free speech," because it is what we hear from Hollywood.

Asking someone to agree to voluntarily change his or speech, or asking someone to voluntarily edit his or her content in no way challenges free speech. The person is always free to say, "No."

Even having a school policy against swearing, or a ratings board, does not challenge free speech, because the student can choose to attend another school, and the movie producer can choose to risk a financial lose.

"Free Speech" protects the individual from being killed or imprisoned for expressing themselves. It does not protect the individual from being walked out on when the listening party does not want to hear it, or from financial lose when the public doesn't want to buy your product.

Unfortunately, it also does not protect you from looking like an unimaginative, uneducated fool when you choose to express yourself poorly.

suzyk#1
Mount Pleasant, UT

Profanity used by anyone is a sign they are out of control. President Kimball also said, "Profanity is a sign of a feeble mind and limited vocabulary". I think he said it correct, it doesn't display intelligence or control when someone uses foul language. I feel sorry for them and you know, I can be in the best mood or just feeling quiet and humble when the blurting of these dirty words can make a person feel disgusted and dirty. I have no tolerance for foul language and I feel sorry for those who seem to think it is OK when it offends others. And it is not okay with the Lord that this kind of foul language is put on others.

Oatmeal
Woods Cross, UT

Any J. Golden Kimball stories come to mind?

Sorry Charlie!
SLC, UT

@ Whattheheck?: "I bet that if someone came up to the gay club's recruiting table and tore up their pledge sheets and threw them on the floor, that it would become the next day's headline news..."

No - what would be headline news is if the gay club was allowed to have a recruiting table.

Rock
Calgary, Alberta

My goodness, I've never seen so much justifying and rationalizing.

"Swearing is ok because it is not as bad a this other stuff"
"Swearing is ok because- who says they are swear words anyway"
"Euphamisms are just as bad, same thing"
"J. Golden swore so can I"

Isn't "euphamism" any acceptable word that describes in a culturally accepted way? It is not a word that does or conveys the same idea or feeling.

J. Golden used only two or three mild favorites and none of them were filthy, and disgusting like one would hear from a typical jr. high kid.

Swearing is unacceptable because of the image it creates and the disrespect it portrays. Famous comedians like Bob Hope once said something similar to Pres. Kimball about comedians using filthy language to shock because they can't think of something genuinely funny. Weak and feeble minds.

Kass
SLC, UT

It would be nice if people were more considerate of others and tried not to give offense, but I have noticed that is usually one directional - I should be careful not to use foul language that offends you, but when it comes to language that offends me - such as public prayers or religious Christmas carols - I just need to grow a thicker skin and not get offended so easily.

Why should I show you consideration you are not willing to show me?

Rock
Calgary, Alberta

Sadly, it is your definition of consideration that is one-directional. I would expect that if we lived in a Muslim dominated country for example, I should show respect to their culture of public prayers because that is their privilege. I should not expect to find Christmas cards in their corner stores because they do not celebrate it. However, fowl language and filthy talk is universally and multi-culturally found to be offensive and unacceptable.
Yes you need to grow a thicker skin, and be more accepting of others, and so also, would I if I lived in the middle east, its called "respect".
Find a way to come out of your personal cocoon and live in the world with the rest of us. Differences in philosophy or religion is not a definition of offensive.

Kass
SLC, UT

@ Rock: Thank you for proving my point.

Let me ask you a question: If swearing is so universally unacceptable, why do so many engage in it?

People are not going to use language they find personally unacceptable, although it is not equally accurate to claim that all those who don't use it find it unacceptable.

If swearing is truly as prevelant as this article makes it out to be, than it is very acceptable in the United States and my comparison is accurate.

As for your statements about Christian items in a Muslim country, that is a little off topic as 1) we are not a Christian nation and 2) if we were in a a Muslim country I probably would not be swearing as much.

SLC gal
Salt Lake City, UT

Oh my freakin heck...

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