Here’s something interesting. I visited a website (to remain nameless) that offers movie reviews with a Christian world view in mind and from a parent’s perspective. The reviews do their job in that they shed some light on subject matter that interests me. If I was writing these reviews, I’d write them differently, but it’s not my web site is it? Anyway, we were going to talk about something interesting weren’t we…
Well, in these reviews, you’ll often find a comment on profanity. In one review, the author recapped a few uses of “d— and h—“. It occured to me that Christians often will strike out those words in print or say “the d word”, even though damn and Hell have very specific meanings to the Christian that are important to remember.
The point (in my humbly submitted opinion) is that by deprecating these words — instead of deprecating the misuse of them — we paint them simply as “bad words” rather than as words that have meanings and are good words when used properly. Then, we lose the real meaning of those words. We surrender more of our beautiful language. In the end, we execute a rote search for right and wrong that cannot detect real insidiousnesses.
I may illustrate it this way:
1. Regardless of context, if I say “execrated” or “confounded” you will not take notice. If I say “damned” you will be shocked and tell me to “clean it up”.
2. “Jackass” and “ass” are disagreeable insults in 2004, but “donkey” is not.
Words mean things. We should be aware of those meanings and use the right words. My advice to the movie review web site — spell out damn and Hell and perhaps explain why it’s wrong to use them flippantly.