Whether you have followed this website for years or you have simply read through a few of my articles, you may have noticed something odd. In fact, you can look me up on my various social media profiles and you’ll find that there is something missing in all of them: swear words. I don’t swear in my interactions or writings. Foul language tends to be the norm in most places online and off, but I prefer to keep it clean no matter where I am.
I realize that this might seem like a contradiction for a film reviewer. After all, I talk about all sorts of movies, from G-rated Disney films to R-rated action films. I’m not oblivious to the fact that a lot of the films I discuss contain their fair share of foul language. But when I watch films like RoboCop, Die Hard, Predator, Lethal Weapon, and Aliens, I focus on their other aspects. There are more important things to me than speaking crassly. I’d like to explain why I don’t use foul language in real life and on the Internet because I think it will offer a key to my character and make my position on the matter clear.
My Parents’ Example
My first big reason for avoiding foul language is that my parents taught me not to swear. I’ve been mentioning my parents a lot lately, but I guess I’m just in that kind of mood. Their good example helped to mold me into the man I am today, so I can’t help talking about them. I’ll always remember one time as a teenager when I said the word “crap” in front of my mom. As the mother of nine children, she told me that she had changed enough diapers in her life to know that there is nothing funny to her about scatological humor. I have worked to scrub that word from my vocabulary since then. I rarely heard my mom or dad use foul language, and I heard stories about them literally washing some of my siblings’ mouths out with soap when they let a swear word slip out. So I made sure to never let that happen to me.
What’s in a Word?
Swear words are pretty much all negative and not worth saying. Let’s think about the meaning of the main swear words for a minute. They refer to a person’s posterior, an illegitimate child, an extremely rude woman as a female dog, stopping the progress of someone or something, the physical act of sex stripped of any deeper meaning, and waste products leaving the body. Are any of those things terribly positive or worth discussing at any length? In general, I would say no. These words broach topics that are taboo and impolite, and I just see no need to wallow in them when there are better points to pursue and better ways to describe things.
Surprise vs. Shock
As you can see from my articles on this website, I prefer to delight and surprise rather than to shock my readers. I enjoy the kind of surprise that’s like an unexpected present you give to someone. Swearing is like sneaking up behind someone and scaring them. It gives them a momentary shock, but there’s no real lasting benefit. I want my words to always mean what I want them to mean, and resorting to unnecessary hyperbole is not how I will accomplish that. My point in creating this website was to present new ways of looking at films. If I were to muddle that message with mindless profanity, I would undermine everything I’ve tried to build. I would just be another Nostalgia Critic knockoff or worse instead of someone with something intelligent to say.
I like to be different. I don’t intend to be contrarian for the sake of being contrarian – that would be conceited and foolish. But if I see a lot of people doing something, I try to figure out why they’re doing it. And if I don’t discover a compelling reason to follow the conventional wisdom, I veer off and choose something I believe to be better. I have never heard anyone present a compelling argument for being foul-mouthed. I don’t want to be misunderstood and have anyone think that I self-righteously look down on anyone who uses a bad word. I’m grateful that I live in a country in which I am free to be as dirty and grotesque as I like in my language because it makes my choice to avoid those words meaningful. If everyone was forced to avoid using certain words, they would just make up new words to replace them. But even if everyone could somehow be forced to speak cleanly, I would hate that world. I want everyone to have the choice of what they want to say. There can’t be beauty without the possibility of ugliness. So I appreciate the ugliness and the depths of the English language because the beauty and heights of that language would be meaningless and pointless without them.
All or Nothing
I’m an all-or-nothing kind of guy. I don’t drink, smoke, gamble, spend recklessly, or use swear words for the same reason: because I worry that I would become addicted to them if I ever started. I desire the safety of simplicity. By avoiding anything I know to be bad and potentially addicting, I keep my life easy and uncomplicated. Of course, I’m not perfect and I make plenty of mistakes. But the way I speak is one area of my life in which I can maintain complete control. So if anyone ever feels the need to swear at me or call me a rude name, I will reply politely and I will not respond in kind. You can bet I will always keep my language clean and respectful. I swear.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.