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Yo, what up (bleep) dog?

2004-01-30 - 11:24 a.m.

This is it. I am officially old. I was talking to one of the younger personal trainers at the gym and made some inane (yet pithy!) comment on the weather. Her response was an enthusiastic, “True that!” At which point Shawna’s thought balloon would have read, “Huh? What did she just say?”

This actually reminds me of a peeve I’ve got about that show Punk’d. While I’ve personally never liked shows about practical jokes (I always inwardly cringe for people embarrassing themselves on national TV), I have two additional issues with this particular show, the first being the way the people on the show talk. What is up with the skinny white kids shopping in Beverly Hills talking like they’re gangstas from the ghettos? I admit, my only references in terms of origins of speech patterns that I have to draw on come from pop culture (movies, TV, videos, etc.) so I suppose it’s possible that I’m just ignorant of the fact everyone talks like that, or maybe everyone under 25, but it just sounds weird to me. It’s like they’ve co-opted speech patterns that they have no grounding in. A friend of J’s has the point of view that me saying this is akin to saying that he, as a white guy, shouldn’t play rap on his radio show. Is he right? I see what his point of view is but I don’t agree with it; it just doesn’t feel like the same sort of statement to me. The subjects of that show come from all over the U.S. and beyond, yet all seem to speak in the same manner, a manner that strikes me as fake and pretentious. You can think I’m wrong, or intolerant, or a fossil, but it doesn’t change the fact I think those kids sound silly.

The other thing that bugs cantankerous ol’ me, is the incredible amount of bleeping. Why the proliferation of potty-mouths in Hollywood? I’ve always considered random and excessive swearing to be a sign of a weak vocabulary and lack of imagination. I’m not talking about someone like, say, Dooce; an excellent writer whose liberal use of foul language is effective and an integral part of her style. I’m talking about every third word being an expletive seemingly randomly inserted. Even then, it’s not really my concern as people can talk how they like as they live their lives. But here’s the thing about Punk’d: it’s a bunch of young celebrities who, like it or not, many kids look up to and emulate. And if I had kids, I wouldn’t want them getting into the habit of talking like that. I just wouldn’t think it appropriate or polite in most social situations.

I have historically found ways to express myself without swearing, and thus, when I do drop the f-bomb into conversation, or rage about what that BITCH did, friends’ heads whip around and they goggle at me. See? The rarity of such words in my speech is what makes them effective for me. And that’s something I’d prefer my future kids to emulate, not some wiseass punk’d motherfucker on TV.

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