Debasing the language

When my wife and I were growing up, she in Virginia, I in England, we never ever, either of us, heard our parents, their friends, our friends, use crude language. Indeed, I remember a teacher telling the class, “We have an amazing language with a huge vocabulary. There are subtle, clever and inoffensive ways of expressing your annoyance or distaste about something without using vulgar bathroom terms”. I heard the “f”word used by my fellow soldiers in the army but only among themselves, never in front of women or older people.

Now it seems acceptable to use the ”f” word, a..hole, the human excrement word and so on in too many conversations. This is especially so on the internet, where anonymous louts and bullies direct these terms at everyone they disagree with, safe in the knowledge that no one knows who is uttering them.

In some ways it is even more shocking that this type of language is used in plays and movies by playwrights and writers who are presumed to have some form of education. This is justified by saying they are a reflection of “real life” as it is lived (and you old f**ts need to know what how ordinary people converse).

Total nonsense!! Using cuss words, swear words, trash-talk, lavatory vocabulary is a sign of lack of imagination. Let me repeat that: lack of imagination. They add nothing to a show, but merely illustrate how second-rate and uncreative you really are. The audience can hear this vocabulary every day – they don’t need it in the theatre as well.

People rebelling against poverty, inequality and globalisation have my sympathy, but once they use foul, derogatory language they demean themselves and win no friends. As my teacher said, “We have a wonderful language. Use it imaginatively”.