Those who are old enough likely have fond (or should I say not-so-fond) memories of having their mouths washed out with soap.  This came when you:

  1. Talked back to your mother
  2. Used profanity

My guess is talking back to your mom still comes with ramifications but I’m not sure about the profanity part because it seems like “curse” words have become part of our accepted language.

There is no doubt that we Americans are cursing/swearing/using profanity more than ever before and it’s not limited to movies and cable television. It’s everywhere.  Network TV, in stores, in the office, on the street, in print and have you given a close listen to some of the lyrics in what today is considered popular music at least for the younger generation?

To me the starting point for all of this is in the home where at one time profanity was simply not accepted or allowed and often came with some form of punishment, including the soap in the mouth bit.  If I did curse as a teenager it was likely a slip of the tongue in the heat of the moment and certainly not any of George Carlin’s famous “7 words you can never say on television.”

Even some of those seem to have made their way into daily usage for all to hear.

But again this all started when some parents not only didn’t discipline their children for using profanity but used it themselves in the home.  I have to admit that I clearly cursed more around my children than my parents ever did and it’s not something to be proud of.  Often profanity is a last resort when your failure to use the English language properly leaves you with no choice but to drop an F-bomb to express yourself.

Shame on all of us.

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