Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Perils of Potty-Mouth

I'll admit that I enjoy a good bit of 'blue' humor now and then...when the joke has a point and makes sense. The more ironic, the better. I'll also confess that what the younger crowd calls humor-and yes, I realize that I'm putting myself at risk of being called an old fart here- is absolutely lost on me. Maybe I'd understand if it were just a little bit funny and not so mean-spirited. Comedians like Richard Pryor and George Carlin made careers out of  being potty-mouthed, but the difference was they were funny, and the satire usually had a moral lesson to it.

Potty-mouth for the sake of itself just sends the message, " Look at me! I can use inappropriate language! I must be an adult!" Twenty and thirty-somethings that are still telling 7th grade level scatological or crude  jokes aren't amusing...but they are offensive, insulting and vulgar...and when we laugh along with the 'joke', the joke is really on us because either we're too squeamish to call them on their lack of common decency or showing our own deep level of ignorance. It's like when our Dad would tell an 'innocent' joke that included a racial or cultural slur: it's embarrassing, we'd rather forget it happened and wish we hadn't been in the room.
It probably wasn't told in 'mixed' company (so the delicate ladies didn't hear it), and there was certainly no one of the race or of that heritage in the room, so it didn't hurt anyone, did it? Guess what? Because everyone laughed at it once, Dad told it again, and again, and again...until someone of that group overheard the slur and the laughter...and it cut pretty deep.

The one I heard and objected to the other day was along slightly different lines and more of the' vulgar for the sake of getting away with being vulgar' variety. You know, the kind you'd probably recoil in horror at and ground your own kid for. It started out with someone dialing a wrong number, and the guy answering the phone getting annoyed and pissed off about it...(Not funny yet, right?)...The original caller saves the wrong number and decides it would be great sport to dial up the guy who got upset again, just to hear him rant and then....wait for tell him he was an asshole...(I'll bet you're waiting for the punch line now, huh?)...Well, the first guy now is congratulating himself on being so clever, that he continues to dial up the second guy occasionally to hear him rant and repeatedly tell him what an asshole he is....That was the punchline, you were supposed to be rolling on the floor about this by now because it was so hysterical. What? Did you fail to find the humor in this comedic masterpiece?

Me too.

Maybe it was good for a groan or a grimace the first time, but every time the featured act was committed, it began feeling more and more uncomfortably like an obscene, harassing phone call to me...which isn't funny. It's hateful, indecent, and illegal. Yet the Young One posted it for a laugh, and people did laugh...for what ever reason. I wasn't among them, so I guess I'm and old fudge. What was worse was that the background of this joke claimed it was from "the Forums", and if you're a Pagan, you know exactly what THAT means, don't you? Why it's that wild and crazy, unfettered, crude, indecent,vulgar, ignorant Pagan humor again...and if you're a Pagan, it's supposed to be at least funny because it's an inside joke among us...but what it actually does is circulate in the general public and shows everyone (and not just the fundamentalists who would be offended by anything we do) just how mean-spirited a group we can be as a whole. The sins of one visit many, and they not only visit, sometimes they move right in and we can't get rid of them, like most unwanted visitors. So it's just one more negative label on our community...and  we have no one else to blame, because we've earned it this time for not speaking out about the inappropriateness of it. Hey, we're Pagans, we don't answer to polite society, right? We can be just as crude as we want in public because we answer to no one...and then we stand around scratching our heads when others turn up their noses at us like they've smelled something bad.

I realize that the world is different than when I grew up: we're all different people. Hopefully we're better people. I don't live in a make believe world where everyone is nice to each other, but I don't see why we can't at least be as sensitive as we all think( and insist) we are and start with our language and how we express ourselves. Yes, I know this is a hot potato in Pagan forums and online networks, because hey, it's our heritage to be non-conformist...right? If we use proper grammar and good spelling, it will take away from our crude charm, won't it? We ain't got no stinkin' boundaries. Maybe we'll just fit right into the mainstream and be accepted...and we don't want THAT do we?

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