Sunday, August 18, 2013
PPOM #3 What's with the foul language?
I am really sick of hearing bad language in public. Everyone seems to be using it, including myself sometimes, but there are still some occasions when it's just not appropriate, and I'm tired of being afraid to ask for it to stop or being sneered at when I do ask.
I have been in a few situations recently where I've heard people swearing in public, and I really don't like it. In particular, on the train. There seems to be something about the train, especially when people get on in a group, that feels like home, as if somehow, the people sitting within touching distance can't hear you. Lately, there seems to be a lot people being reasonably calm and swearing. They're just using the f-word as punctuation, not in an angry, scary way, and not in a malicious way. It's almost as if they don't realise that it could be offensive to some people.
Now, I'm not innocent of this. I started out not swearing at all, and then I kind of went the other way. Now I'm trying to rein it in again, and it's really hard. I always feel particularly bad when I swear at work, which I'm really working on stopping altogether. Although it relieves some tension in the moment, I always regret it immediately afterwards, and feel guilty for using bad language around my co-workers. Plus, it's not just around my co-workers, anybody could be walking past our office and hear what I'm saying. That's not a great feeling.
Bad language is also more prevalent in music, making it difficult to sing along to the radio, and making me horrified when I hear my little cousins innocently singing words I don't ever want to hear them say, let alone when they're still in primary school and don't even understand what they mean.
I think my biggest problem is that people are using this language because it's easy. They just don't want to think harder about what's coming out of their mouth, how they are expressing their thoughts - it's laziness. I do not like that. How you communicate your thoughts matters, and you should think hard about that. I know that I spend all day talking to people, and I think I owe them the respect of choosing my words carefully. Now, why would I go to all the trouble with the customers I deal with, and not show the same respect to my wonderful colleagues? Why would I be so careful around strangers on the train, and not around my friends and family, who I love?
So I'm declaring a moratorium on bad language for myself. I don't want to say it, and I'd prefer it if it isn't used around me, although I respect the right of people to use whatever language they like wherever they are legally allowed to do so - don't forget, there is a law against using 'disorderly, offensive, threatening and violent' language in public in Victoria, which can see you receive a $240 fine.
Inspired by my own experiences, and by this post at The Rheel Daze.
More PPOM posts: from Lizzy at Hum Drum Plum, a defence of Sansa Stark; from Noni at A Doll's Drivellings, on being fat (Noni has just joined PPOM, and it's great to have her); and Alex at Adventure in TV-land talks about Aussie politics.