Thursday, June 17, 2010

Talk Dirty To Me

Today, I took my children to a book tour for Junie B. Jones books. She's a kid with bad grammar, like most children of the ages of 5 & 6; she lacks social skills and subtleties, but who doesn't at that age; and, she uses words like dumb, stupid, meanie boy, and maybe even retarded. I don't know about the last one as I haven't read all of the books, but it's a possibility. She's got some serious learning to do.

Why did I take my kids there? Why do I let my six year old read these books? She finds them funny. She understands that Junie B. does and says things that she shouldn't. That's hilarious to her.I find some of it funny, but just as many times I inwardly groan. I went to Jeff Dunham's show last Friday and sat through his entire Achmed the Dead Terrorist bit without laughing once. My sister and cousin couldn't stop laughing. Humor is subjective. Maybe you, as a parent, don't find Junie B. or those Captain Underpants books funny. I bet your kid does.

That's not the point or the question I want to ask. Does foul language turn you off from a story? It doesn't to my kids, and they think that the "S-word" is stupid. (Aren't a good mommy? Don't answer that.) We talk about how they should act. I live in New Orleans. We have to discuss daily what is appropriate behavior for them versus the "s-word" stuff they hear on the streets. I don't expect them to live in a bubble. Hell, you can't live in a bubble in NOLA. I'd like to see you try.

Do you toss a book because it has language that bothers you? Would you stop reading or listening to an oil boom expert discuss how the boom laid along the Gulf Coast is all done wrong because about every fourth word is the F-bomb? (These links to the text and the video aren't safe for work or for children's ears.)It would be a shame if you couldn't get past the language, because you'd miss important information.

I'd like a return to civility, but a person can be uncivil without uttering a single curse. I don't blame language for all of incivility. I blame attitudes of superiority and way a person words a sentence. Normal words become epithets when sneered. I'd rather you call me what you are thinking instead of imbuing a word with a new meaning. How dare I be liberal, as if that were a new sort of evil.

I accept that others disagree with me and would like to have Junie B. books used for the junk shot. Yet, I want to know what you think, and I promise not to call you names.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

I haven't put a good book down due to foul language, though I have been irritated watching movies where the f-bomb gets dropped all the time. Seems kind of pointless after a while, and it does offend me, being somewhat the prude that I am.

As you say, seeing inappropriate behavior offers us the opportunity to teach our children what being civilized means. Our language is colorful and there are so many words we can use to describe things that don't involve swearing.

Ask one of my daughters about how often I swear and they will tell you, in great detail, of the few times they have heard me do that. Definitely holds more emphasis when used infrequently!

Oh, and to answer you question that you didn't want answered: yes, you are a good mommy. But you already know that.