• D. Randall Faro

F is for Follow-up

This is a follow-up to a post on the use of offensive language written a couple of days ago.


A very good friend of mine read my post on the use of the f-word and opined that basically the only time profanity – the f-bomb in particular – is out of order is if or when such usage is offensive to or disrespectful toward another.


Indeed, there are situations where so-called swear words serve a purpose. Such as releasing tension, particularly when alone, or to emphasize something. After all, the kinds of words to which I’m referring are simply alternatives to copulation, defecation, female dogs, and the like. If one chooses to regularly pepper their speech with words referring to feces and sex and genitalia, their right to do so is respected. The problem arises with regard to offense and disrespect.


The important question, if one cares to not offend or disrespect, is knowing – or guesstimating – who among the hearers might in fact feel offended or disrespected. If one knows for a fact that all hearers are okay with whatever language one is using, fine and dandy. But the fact is that most of the time people who rattle on with the f- and s-words have no idea what all the hearers are thinking . . . and do not seem to care.


This is precisely the issue to which I spoke in my initial post on this subject. When such language is constantly plastered throughout the media/entertainment world, it is absolutely certain that great numbers of people will feel offended or disrespected. The same goes for an individual’s use in public spaces where there is no way to know how all those within earshot are reacting. Recently I was near a group of young adults in a restaurant who were loudly using the language in question, and at least thirty other people were within earshot. One elderly grandmother appeared visibly uncomfortable with the barrage of f-words assaulting her and two elementary-age grandchildren. The profaners obviously did not care.


So, being respectful and non-offensive . . . absolutely a good guideline. I wish more people took it to heart with respect to the words they use.


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