Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a Hoot

Actually, the long suffering and finally fed up Rhett Butler said to Scarlett O’Hara at the end of Gone With the Wind: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

The word “damn” was effective because, at the time, swear words were not part of the public vocabulary as they are today. Rhett’s speech now would be about as noticeable as a car passing on the street.

As we all know, our language has been upended. So called swear words and terms for bodily fluids and intimate acts are common in both our movies and our written literature.

No doubt we bid good riddance to the faux courtesy of earlier days, as well as the racism embedded in Gone With the Wind.

However, our greater honesty is threatened with a vocabulary that is as enlightening as an overflowing sewer.

To use demeaning words prevents us from discussing a topic in meaningful terms. To claim, for example, that either proponents or opponents of the recently passed tax laws are covered in excrement kills true discussion.

We might, instead, say that we favor the law because we believe it will boost the economy with money saved from taxation. Or we might oppose the law because we believe it taxes middle class income while leaving too much wealth untaxed.

Some of our current speech is too often undisciplined blather against people who bother us. Or it flows out against those who happen to be in our space.

Purposeless language aiming merely to shock is like the empty calories of junk food.

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