Is Profanity Still Shocking?

Profanity was often seen as a sign that you were uncivilized and part of a lesser class. A few decades ago, the thought was that only people of low character would swear, and anyone with any class at all would certainly not do it in public. Swearing was one of the things that was absolutely taboo in movies until the MPAA ratings system came into effect in 1968.

However, blue language became increasingly common in both regular life and the arts. Nowadays, many movies sport expletive-laden scripts that would cause Victorian bluenoses to have a spontaneous heart attack.

It is not only more acceptable to swear regularly, but some claim that it is a sign of high intelligence, which certainly reverses the earlier belief. Profanity has become such a regular part of modern comedy that when a so-called clean comic like Jim Gaffigan comes along, people seem genuinely surprised that he can be so funny when not using any f or s-bombs.

Is this a step back for us as a society? On the one hand, it can be seen as positive because it ranks as a form of freedom of expression. People feel comfortable to give voice to their frustrations, anger, or joy without worry about being chastised for their choice of words.

However, the more you swear, the less power the words have. Whenever you hear someone using f-bombs like they were just another regular part of speech (and especially if they use several per sentence), the intended effect of the word is considerably lessened.

How about yourself? Did the increasing social acceptance of swearing cause your own language to become noticeably saltier? Or do you make a point of never swearing at all? Have you discussed the state of modern language with your friends and relatives? Should we be concerned when we hear little children swearing?