Monday, November 26, 2007

Obscenity/Vulgarity

Discussion today (mostly between Alex and me) was about the power language has and the danger it encounters with obscenity.

What we failed to discuss was the way that class influences our sense of what is acceptable and what isn't.

Rising from lower class life to higher and ostensibly more refined classes requires a sloughing off of vulgarity.

But I've always smelled a rat in that distinction. Upper-class refinement can mask violence and exploitation. So my instinct has been to learn all the things available to the upper class, to out-do them at their own game, and to bring along the so-called vulgarity of the lower class as an antidote to over-refinement.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Upper class people swear, though; they just do it differently.

It's the middle classes who look down on bad language.

Brent said...

It is interesting actually to see that whomever added that comment is correct. The middle classes look down upon those who swear until they find out they are of a higher class than they. And in doing so make it so that the middle and lower classes actually believe that the higher classes do NOT swear when in fact they do, and more so than one might believe for the simple fact that they are a higher class and therefore do not have the rules of the game one playes to achieve higher class. However Scott is correct in the fact that we are only shown the higher classes as being proper in thier speach and mannerisms, thereby perpetuating the lie of vulgarity being the language of the poor. Actually the words that were considered vulgar in olden times were slang words used by those who could not speak properly. Using the "layman" terms deemed you as uneducated and in that way vulgar. From then on the middle and higher classes have been using thier own arbitrary rules to state what is and is not acceptable, however those rules are bing undermined in this day when speaking like a "gansta" or another type of heavily slang laden speaking has become shown as a common, if not proper, way of speaking. And in that situation you will also see that the stereotype that is portrayed as using those speaking types are that of lower class people, so therefor the lower class people accept the way of speaking as being proper for them, the perpetuating the "rat" in socioty, becuse those who do not use the type of speaking have also seen the stereotype of that language being for lower classes and therefore think themselves above those who use it. It is a wonderful circle if you think about it.

Scott Abbott said...

Interesting comments. Of course upper-class people swear, and it makes sense that it's the middle class, aspiring to what they see as a more refined class and fending off the lower class, would be the one that looks down on swearing.

That very much describes my family.

What I was thinking about was that phenomenon of knowing where to swear and knowing where swearing is simply a sign of lower class.

And my favorite situations are where someone like the late Molly Ivans brought her Texan vulgarities right into the bastions of upper-class refinement and flaunted it and exploded their masquerade.

michael morrow said...

oh this is wonderful......huh?? what's that,,,,
is there an echo,,,in here?

testing 123...hello, is this fucking mike onmmmiiikkeeee, oh shit that's me, yes hello, i'm on... more than evfer,
well i just want to say conformity is the best revenge,
when, hwere, how, what, why, whyfore-skinned, all upta me on the mou'un of my dream hobby-horse, girls and boys love naughty talk, especially when IT turns heads, recovery without giving anything away is the key....but it can be dangerous... if you give a shit-bag an inch he'll take it allll, i beginning to have sufficient memory now, the challenge is to let go of the revenge mold i been using as a template/lens through which to fashion my contribution, allowing those within earshot freedom to the same degree I demand for myself is key to expressing and exposing where I really live, moment-to-moment....breath, breath,or is it breath, breth.

First Mrs. Thumb and four daughters experience of the likes brought together in this class is nothing short of other-worldly, cool thing is, wow, we got other-, no we created other-worldly in the moment. Seems this class has transcended other, becoming what, becoming aware of moment's visceral ingredients as development occures.

ROCK-ON BIG GOODFELLA'S

michael morrow said...

OH HELL, i COULnt leave without telling you about a one-woman show in Park City this saturday, sounds like it should be required attendance for this class. It's a woman, XXX-Catholic, show named, "Letting Go Of God", I heard her on KUER's radiowest yesterday, sounds hilarious .