Profanity And Vulgarity In TV Commercials
Americans Are The New Barbarians!
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
the time you think it is impossible for America to become more crude,
rude, vulgar profane, and just plain nasty in our communications with
one another -- it gets worse.
Now advertisers are using profanity and vulgarity in advertising on TV.
me be clear about this: If an advertiser had approached me with one of
those ads containing the unacceptable language, I'd have politely shown
them out of my office and suggested they never return -- no matter the
amount of money involved.
TV stations and networks that accept
such ads ought to be ashamed of themselves. They ought to remove them,
at once, and apologize to their listeners and viewers.
prude. I learned to cuss pre-school. I grew up in a tough part of the
city with little gangs of local toughs roaming our streets. I had my
share of scrapes and I learned early how to swagger and bluff in order
to present a tough guy image -- just to survive.
I'm not particularly proud of it, but I can cuss a blue haze when I lose control of my infamous temper.
is a degree of civility needed to separate a civilized person from a
barbarian. I am sorely afraid we in America are the new barbarians!
once had a grammar school teacher who said that cursing was a sign of
weakness and a lack of education. She said it meant you were unable to
express yourself in acceptable standard English and must resort to
profanity, which simply showcased your own inadequacy, your own
insecurity. Sixty plus years later and I still remember that.
course, it's all about grabbing the attention of the listener and/or
viewer. But, in my opinion, it is a cheap, underhanded, way of
showcasing a product that, apparently, the advertiser feels is so
inferior that extolling the products values alone will not gather the
attention needed to persuade the consumer to purchase said product.
course, it's not JUST about the commercials. The TV shows themselves
are filthy with potty humor and profanity and crudity of all kinds and
rumor has it the FCC is looking at the possibility of relaxing the
rules, even more, to allow more of the profanity and vulgarity and, some
say, even frontal nudity on the airwaves that belong to the American
This is simply unacceptable.
You may find it
difficult to believe but it was illegal to swear in public in North
Carolina until 2011 when a Superior Court Judge struck the law down
saying it was unconstitutional. The law said: "If any person shall,
on any public road or highway and in the hearing of two or more persons,
in a loud and boisterous manner, use indecent or profane language, he
shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.” --SOURCE: http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_14/GS_14-197.html
But there are other states with similar laws"
Massachusetts’ blasphemy law threatens that:
“Whoever willfully blasphemes the holy name of God by denying, cursing,
or contumeliously reproaching God, his creation, government or final
judging of the word, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching Jesus
Christ or the Holy Ghost, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching or
exposing to contempt and ridicule, the holy word of God contained in
the holy scriptures shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not
more than one year or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars,
and may also be bound to good behavior.”
Michigan's blasphemy law
says: “Any person who shall willfully blaspheme the holy name of God,
by cursing or contumeliously reproaching God, shall be guilty of a
Oklahoma law provides: “Blasphemy consists in
wantonly uttering or punishing words, casting contumelious reproach or
profane ridicule upon God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the Holy
Scriptures, or the Christian or any other religion.” Uttering such
speech is classified as a misdemeanor.
Other states have general
anti-profanity laws conceived to protect society from the potty-mouthed.
Consider this Mississippi law:
“If any person shall
profanely swear or curse, or use vulgar and indecent language, or be
drunk in any public place, in the presence of two (2) or more persons,
he shall, on conviction thereof, be fined not more than one hundred
dollars ($100.00) or be imprisoned in the county jail not more than
thirty (30) days each.”
Another Mississippi law prohibits
entering “the dwelling house of another” and using “abusive, profane,
vulgar or indecent language.”
Drivers beware, as well. Some states have laws that specifically limit cursing on public highways.
anti-profanity laws were passed to shield women and children from
foul-mouthed men. Consider this Michigan law: “Any person who shall use
any indecent, immoral, obscene, vulgar or insulting language in the
presence or hearing of any woman or child shall be guilty of a
Another Oklahoma law warns, “If any person shall
utter or speak any obscene or lascivious language or word in any public
place, or in the presence of females, or in the presence of children
under ten (10) years of age, he shall be liable to a fine of not more
than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), or imprisonment for not more than
thirty (30) days, or both.”
Some states, at least, don’t impose hundreds of dollars in fines for cursing and swearing.
Rhode Island’s profanity law, “Every person who shall be guilty of
profane swearing and cursing shall be fined not exceeding five dollars
($5.00).” -- SOURCE: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/curses-blasphemy-profanity-laws-still-on-the-books
It is not unusual these day for me, or my wife, to simply turn off a TV program that is riddled with profanity.
OK. So I'm an old fuddy-duddy. I can accept that. But I refuse to relinquish my hold on dignity.
is a coarseness to our conversation these days that did not exist a few
decades ago. We are, I am convinced, a less civilized nation as a
result. Civility is nothing more than showing respect for others.
Today's coarse, crude, vulgar, profane conversations on screen, on
stage, or toward one another in public is far less than civilized. It
cheapens not only our discourse, it lessens the degree of regard we have
for our fellowman.
I don't give a hoot for "artist's license."
If a screen writer is incapable of writing a script that will capture
an audience and hold them for the duration of his/her tale without
exploiting the entire dictionary of profanities, then he/she has no
business writing anything for public consumption.
If the FCC
wants to actually DO something worthwhile, they could clean up our
airwaves. But -- they won't. In fact, I expect them to allow it to get
J. D. Longstreet
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