Is the F-Word Not a Thing Anymore?

Standards disappear when we're afraid to support them.

Source: ‘Threeboy’ from Richmond, Canada (Jay & Trey Cartoon Swearing) [CC BY 2.0 (]
Source: ‘Threeboy’ from Richmond, Canada (Jay & Trey Cartoon Swearing) [CC BY 2.0 (] (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Yesterday, Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl champion Jason Kelce delivered an epic profanity-filled speech at the Super Bowl Parade in front of... oh, about a million Philadelphians, including many children. Now, his speech has gone viral and it's got many wondering if the f-word is even a thing anymore.

It's certainly indicative of a coarsening of our culture's language. But let's be honest, many speak now like they're in a Martin Scorsese movie. (Scorsesification?) ((Or how about Tarantinitis?)) Just look at mainstream movies, television, or the music young people listen to. Raunch. Profanity. Don't get me wrong. Some of the music is quite listenable but after I hear it a few times I start making out what they're saying and it usually is something about making some very poor long-term decisions.

And then parents shrug and wonder why “kids grow up so fast nowadays.” It's a bit ironic that so many nowadays are wary and fearful of saying anything that could be deemed as offensive, including simple gender pronouns — but when it comes to offending someone with profanity, nobody seems worried about it anymore. In fact, those who object to foul language are often derided as being prudish or somehow relics of a bygone era.

Is there a difference between cursing in a private conversation and in a public venue? I'd say there certainly is. Cursing in front of children or in a public venue is certainly different than something said between two adults in a bar.

Some might ask what's wrong with profanity. I would ask the opposite question. Let's not consider what's wrong about it. Let's think about what's right about it. Does it uplift? Do those words clarify or are they just an easy way to get a laugh?

In talking about the f-word I'm afraid I have to bring up even a dirtier word. The R-word. Responsibility. This is a word that nobody seems to want to hear nowadays. There are many parents out there who don't want their children being exposed to that language because they know that kids will emulate that which they see adults do. It's ironic but kids want to be “grown-up” so they do thing that adults do. They drink earlier. They engage in premarital sex. They curse. And adults don't want to be grown-up so they act the exact same way. It's true. Adults want to act like children and children emulate the adults so they continue acting like children. Nobody wants to be the grown up anymore. No one wants to be the authority figure. Everyone wants to be cool. And when that happens, there are no rules. Standards are lowered or even erased. Things spiral. And the young see this.

After one of my kids' games recently, two parents were talking. The one man cursed about how bad the referees were. They used the s-word. The other man's three-year-old reacted. She gasped and told her daddy the other man said a bad word. They both laughed. That's the thing, little kids still react when people say a bad word. But they eventually learn that daddy doesn't have the guts to tell people not to use that language in front of children. So they lose respect for both the rules and Daddy.

The sad thing is, I loved what Jason Kelce had to say about there's always going to be “experts” to tell you why you can't do something. I think it's a message we all need to hear. But after a few minutes he goes off the rails a bit and the expletives roll. Someone should've told him to watch his mouth. There were about a hundred people up there with him. But none of them did it. Why? Because that someone would have to risk being uncool. But wouldn't it have been so cool if someone did?