According to several reports, Tucker Carlson got fired for using the “c-word” in reference to one of his bosses. And the Fox newsroom apparently was awash in unwholesome epithets, often sexual in nature. Such is the state of far-right conservatism. But heavy-duty expletives, once stigmatized by politicians and the media, now prevail everywhere.
You surely have noticed this. Films and pop music seem to glory in their ever more funky language. The staid New York Times now grudgingly accepts profanity. So does NBC News and many major media outlets. It seems to be coin of the realm to spice up stories with otherwise little merit.
Readers of this blog know that I’m not a prude about language. I counted eight stories with the word “bullshit” in them, but I like to avoid the stronger stuff unless it’s in a quote. Hot words lose their punch quickly, particularly with overuse. And the purpose is not blasphemy anymore; it’s putting on an act of being streetwise and hip.
When I was much younger I used foul language a lot. Sometimes it was just a lazy way to make a point or impress a listener, and sometimes that was worth doing. You have to develop a kind of good taste in when and how you swear. That’s lacking in so much of what we hear and see in the media today.
Though this linguistic indulgence began before him, Trump is largely responsible for how such language (and behavior) has flourished. His language is key to how his followers respond to him. Does it help the rest of us understand him? I don’t know. If I called him a coarse motherfucking pussy-grabber, does that clarify anything?
Bless E. Jean Carroll for pursuing her case and telling her story. The Post’s Ruth Marcus says that we need to hear these repellent stories over and again “to remind ourselves of how far Trump has dragged us down into the gutter with him, reduced to his level of tawdry entitlement.”
“Tawdry entitlement.” That really says it all, doesn’t it? Language, as someone said, is the window to the soul.