I was recently working with one of the classes I teach. We had been studying murals and monuments. As part of a class exercise, and to have a little fun, the book suggested creating a mural as a class. We came up with a theme, and the images that we wanted to draw to represent that theme. Everyone was really having fun trying to draw and represent the images we had decided on.
Then one guy had to spoil it. I looked over and he was writing swear words on the mural. I lost it. I immediately grabbed an eraser, and while erasing the swear words, I threw him out of class. (He wasn’t even in that class, but had come to the room with a pass to “work” on make-up assignments from another class.) I told him how ridiculous it was that he had done this, and that he was not welcome in the classroom for a while.
I apologized to my regular students, but told them that this had ruined our project, and we would not continue. I then told them something that inspired this post. I said what I have always heard, and believe to be true,
“Profanity is the refuge of the Ignorant”.
When people use swear words and profanity, they are simply showing that they are not intelligent enough to put someone down with the vocabulary that they have available in their own intellect. Swearing elevates no one. It does not express what we really mean to say. My mother used to say, “I’m so mad, I cold just spit.” That is all that profanity is. It is getting so upset, that we verbally spit, because we don’t know what else to do. How much better if we were to think carefully of what we wanted to say, and express our anger, or hurt feelings, or whatever in a reasoned and intelligent way. Swearing is just a way to abuse someone without hitting them. In my opinion, you would be just as well off to throw that punch as to swear—the end result is just as effective at getting across your point. (No, I am not condoning, nor encouraging violence, I’m trying to show that both are equally wrong.)
Perhaps there is an occasion where a profane word expresses the exact sentiment we wish to get across, but I have never found it to be true. Unfortunately, I see that the trend in our society today to be towards accepting more and more of this type of language as common and acceptable. I hope we never fully get there. I long for the day that %@#%&*%$ was as profane as anyone ever got.
Keep it clean. Use your Intellect. Stick