Posts Tagged ‘ language ’

Profound or Profane?

I was able to tough my way thru “Another Life,” only because I enjoy Katee Sackoff (having discovered her in “Longmire” a few years ago); but it was tough going.  The Netflix series seems to be an adult version of “Lost in Space,” and since I do love sci-fi it was a given that I should try it.

But all I found was that it was trying.  Katee was fine; but the dialogue was unbelievably juvenile, beginning with the now ubiquitous “F-bomb.”

Yes, I am a word snob.  Somewhere in my past I developed a love and respect of the written word.  Now, thanks to the internet, I have learned that the language evolves and is often obliterated to fill the needs of the users – as it should be.  Language should not be confined to the hallowed halls of museums; but at the same time, it shouldn’t lose its ability to communicate.

And the recurring message I got from the over-use of the F-bomb was that the writers were either extremely unskilled, or the audience that they were writing for is extremely unimaginative.  In any event, relying on one word for every verbal interchange became an exercise in resistance for me.  I was never able to see past the constant, staccato pinging (no, I did not count how many times it was used – what would be the point in that?).

I have a co-worker who really is a rocket scientist, and one of those individuals who remembers “everything.”  I asked him once if he can recall everything he ever read and he said no, just the page numbers.  He is, quite literally, my workgroup’s very own internet.

Sadly, he uses “curse words” in every day life like the characters in “Another Life” use the F-bomb.  It does not help that, as an intellectual elitist, he does not respect either me or my religion; but beyond his blasphemy, his vocabulary is stilted, stunted and inadequate.

I ask myself why, in these two examples, is such a limited vocabulary characteristic.  Being as generous as I can be, I have concluded that it is an attempt to be profound, when all it is is profane.

If language cannot be used to communicate, then the human race has not advanced all that far from our prehistoric predecessors.  To overuse and misuse words seems more to prevent communication than to enhance it.  The irony is that people who rely on a handful of words to express themselves are communicating something I believe they would flatly deny.

I would not call the United States a physically violent place to live.  I wish I could say the same of our rhetoric.  In order to endure the mindless onslaught, the message is missed.  As an optimist, full of hope, I know we can do better – we have done better.

Much of what is said about the human race, the earth, democracy sounds as if the end is in sight.  Only 12 years until our home becomes inhabitable, thanks to farting cows?  Ludicrous.  I believe none of us now will see “the end.”  This is not to say the status quo will prevail – as has been said, the only constant is change.  We need to use words as a tool to communicate, not as a weapon to subjugate.  If we can’t be anything else, can we at least be civil?