Friday, May 08, 2015

Watch Your Language Cap!

The Deseret News is a Utah newspaper owned by the LDS church.  As such, the newspaper has a highly edited feel.  It's not just bluntly conservative it's... churchy...

This week the entertainment columnist, Chris Hicks, took Captain America to task for swearing in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.  He writes:
The first scenes of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” drop the audience into the middle of a chaotic battle, and that is where most of the film’s witty quips are frontloaded — a highlight being a gag about goody two-shoes Captain America being offended when Iron Man curses.
Cap admonishes Iron Man over their communications system, saying, “Language!”
As a result, for the rest of the movie Cap is the butt of jokes about cuss words — until, at the end, he finally lets go with a profane phrase of his own.
Wow. Isn't that a great lesson for young people in the audience? If you are ridiculed for taking the moral high ground, by all means just let down your guard, violate your principles and join the crowd.
Mr. Hicks falls into a typical, self-serving, religious trap. Swear words, cuss words, whatever you want to call them are not moral markers. A person is no more moral for saying them than they are for not saying them. To indicate so is to cheapen morality.

Swear words fall into the realm of mores... social customs. In this or that society certain words or phrases may be considered impolite or rude... but those are only constructs which vary from time to time and location to location.

If I were to say, "Da*n! that is a f**king good pastry!" I may offend your sensibilities, but I have done you no HARM. It is wrong to equalize offense with harm. It is an injustice to people who have truly been wronged.

So why is it self serving? It allows the person who holds such a position to think themselves to be on a moral "high-ground", when in fact... they have DONE nothing. To claim a moral position due to a lack of cuss words in your vocabulary is cheap, and it is lazy.


Michelle said...

Absolutely. Feces, poop, crap, shit. They all mean the same thing in English. Why one is proper over any other is purely subjective.

As a lover of films, It makes me bonkers when religious people value movies that are "sanitized" over those that are "not sanitized." I find the type of commentary that you quote above so vapid. As if that part of the film is worth discussing over others. Right now, my superpower is the ability to eyeroll so hard that a nearby car rolls over! :)

Andrew said...

I remember that, even as a believer, I knew this issue was self serving and meant nothing.

I was once on a camel safari in the Negev desert. Our host was the chief of a Bedouin tribe. He spoke many languages. When I told him once that that I needed to stop to go to the bathroom, he looked at me quizzically. I then said I needed to take a crap, and this brought no further understanding. One camel back, my friend Stu called out, "He has to take a shit!"

The Bedouin laughed. "Ah yes, shEEt! Now I understand."

They are just words.

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