I’m not a prude. I’ve been known to drop an “occasional” f-bomb. But, I’m struck by how words which used to be considered, if not profane, at least not acceptable for proper conversation pop up now in every day language. The one that gets me the most is “s*cks.” When did this become acceptable in casual conversation or for use on family television programming?
First, there was the TIDE commercial. You know the one with the two hipster parents of triplets folding laundry and the woman looks at the man and says, “You s*ck at folding.” The husband proceeds to give a good hearty laugh. What was the purpose of using the word s*cks in that ad? Would people NOT buy TIDE if the woman simply gave an eye roll and said, “You’re really terrible at folding.” Or, “Augh, just give me that” as she takes the toddler shirt from the husband. How much product did the word s*cks move? Was it critical to the ad? I don’t think so. In fact, and my Grammy Barno would be proud, I wrote Procter & Gamble to express my dislike of their ad. Not that they cared. They didn’t even send me a coupon.
Then there’s a company called “Your Marketing S*cks.” I hear ads for it on ESPN Radio when driving my son to school, and I see ads for it on television as well. Certainly, hearing off color language is not new to my almost-14-year-old son. And there are plenty of times when I’m driving a group of boys around town that I need to remind them all that the word s*cks is banned in my car. But I question the marketing skills of a company that can’t come up with a better name than “Your Marketing S*cks.” The best this guy has to offer is using “shock” language? I’ll pass, thanks.
But Wednesday night sent me over the edge. We like to watch “The Middle” on ABC. Generally, the show is good, 8 PM fun about a quirky family struggling to make ends meet; they’re not beautiful; they’re not perfect; they’re not rich; their house is a mess; they know how to laugh and move on from the every day battles that many families face. So, I was wildly disappointed when Patricia Heaton’s character described some customer service representatives as “a bunch of d-bags.” But she didn’t say “d-bags” she said the whole phrase. Ick. This is now a phrase that families should incorporate into their every day vernacular?
How is this OK during a prime-time show on a major network? When did we lower our decency standards so much that this is considered humor? You can argue freedom of speech on this, and you’re right. The writers of these shows and commercials have the right to use whatever language they want.
But just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should. Let’s get back to respect. Let’s get back to using words that we would say in front of our grandmothers. Ones that can make us laugh without making parents cringe in front of their kids.Jean Maisano Jean@FreeVoter.com