Yesterday’s post about Acuff’s blog got me to thinking about about something a reader asked me well over a year ago. I must admit to not answering his very direct question and I promised I would address it via email. Call what follows my penance for not doing it sooner….
Quite some time ago, I was asked how I could claim to be a Christian when I use a fair amount of profanity in my posts. Now, I get the apparent contradictions between my beliefs and my somewhat flagrant use of profanity. I guess I avoided the question because I wasn’t really sure where to start. It’s a good question and one I’m not sure how to answer.
Here’s something I’ve never done in this arena before…ladies and gents, I give you Scripture.
So…here’s my interpretation of these two (two scriptures I lifted from Acuff’s comments on SCL #31, by the way). “Unwholesome talk”…hmmm…that one is pretty broad. I could make some outlandish claims about how we could lump all kinds of things in there. Everything from gossip to trash talking on the sports field could qualify. Does it hit too close to home for me? Maybe…on the other hand, my Dad always said that if we don’t point out to the stupid amongst us that they are, in fact, stupid, we wouldn’t be doing them a service. One could argue that it would “benefit those who listen”.
Secondly, “obscenity”. Also a fairly ambiguous term, yes? Wasn’t it some Senator that said he didn’t know how to define pornography, but knew it when he saw it? As a cop, I see a lot of things that could be interpreted as obscene. I am not particularly offended by most things. Call it cynicism, realism, or simply life, but I think we as a culture are all too sensitive about the lion’s share of things this life has to offer.
My rationalization (a carefully chosen word, I assure you) for using the words I do? Sometimes, other words just don’t get the job done. In a job where you need people to do things when you tell them to do them, you tend to use the ones that will make that thing happen as expeditiously as possible. I am not a prude nor a cop who thinks that using profanity is “sinking to their level”. Yadda, yadda…held to a higher standard…blah, blah, blah. Listen, if the guy that wants to fight me and possibly send me to the hospital isn’t responding to “Sir, please have a seat”, you better believe I’m going to tell him to “sit the fuck down” if it’ll get me home to the Wife and Kids. Sometimes, the shock factor is enough to verbally slap someone across the face.
Honestly, I don’t find profanity all that profane. Which is an interesting conundrum because I can’t recall calling a woman a “bitch” because I find it offensive to women; however, I won’t hesitate to walk into the guy’s locker room and say, “What’s up, bitches?” (Thank you, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia).
Is this all my attempt at justifying my love of the Mother of All Bad Words? It is distinctly possible. Would I be honest with myself and my writing of this blog if I didn’t use what was in my head? I don’t think so. That they are in my head in the first place is a completely different topic and not something you all need to concern yourselves with, I think. And no, I couldn’t resist the graphic to the right…
When all is said and done, I feel at ease knowing that the audience that I am aiming for and writing for is more like me than not. My job is often confrontational, uncomfortable, and…well…offensive. I don’t use profanity when I’m contacting the public (except the unusual case in which it may have the desired affect as stated above). I don’t swear around those I know are offended by it. I am not hurling vulgarities when I drop the Kid off at preschool. I’m not completely socially retarded, folks.
Am I creating excuses? Perhaps. Am I worried about my immortal soul behind it? Negative. Am I trying to curb my use of it? Maybe a little…but not so much that I compromise my integrity. Dig that rationalization!