Kids and decency

by beagooddad on February 21, 2007

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Warning: There will be some profanity in this post. But, there’s a point to it all; I think.

I was listening to a song on the radio today. During the chorus, they use this line a few times.

This ain’t a scene, it’s a god damn arms race

Yep, a full blown Granddaddy of a profanity. Over and over again.

Let’s take a little sidebar for a moment. I am more than familiar with profanity. As I kid, nearly 2 out of every 3 words that came out of my mouth when my relatives were not around would have gotten me fined on public radio. One time my mom heard me say that somebody was “pissed off” and I got grounded for a while. I still break out the old English to Profanity dictionary during special occasions like football games and mis-swinging a hammer.

So, back to the song. The powers that be at Sirius Satellite Radio, decided to censor the song. I have no problem with that either. It is their channel. Whatever.

But, here is what struck me as odd. The new improved suitable for children version of this line is

This ain’t a scene, it’s a ___ damn arms race

I’m so confused. It’s okay to say damn, but not god damn? Why’s that? Also, when did it become groovy to say “bitch” on shows like Two and a Half Men and others during prime time. When did the regulating bodies loosen up on that one.

Here is my big thought for the day, though.

If the song/show/book/clothes/doll has “disturbing content”, is it really okay to just filter out that instance of the disturbing content and experience the rest of the product. Won’t what remains still have the context that is disturbing to begin with. If somebody is nearly screaming, “This ain’t a scene, its’ a god damn arms race,” and you take out the “god” or even the “god damn” isn’t the context of anger and pent up aggression still there? Isn’t it the context that we are disturbed by?

If I say, “I had a great fucking birthday! You wouldn’t believe all the people that showed up and the amazing presents that I received,” is that worse than growling, “What a great birthday. You wouldn’t believe the people that showed up and the ‘gifts’ they brought.”

I don’t think anybody ever gets mad about the specific word that is used. I think people get offended by the context and the meaning that words carry. Don’t believe me. Listen to any of your favorite rap songs. If you are not black, would you use that one word that likes to show up in rap songs? But, millions of people use it while highfiving their buddy. Why is that? Context.

If you get rid of the word by simply removing the word, the context is still there.

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