Since joining the Church, I've tried to change my language somewhat. Part of this is adopting a significantly different peer group that doesn't appreciate constant F-bombs. Part of it is a feeling that language that coarse isn't useful in inviting the Spirit or communicating in an articulate manner. And part of it is simple enculturation.
I've been swearing more over the last six months or so than before that, but still significantly less than before I joined the Church. So, progress, incrementalism......oh, whatever. I still swear.
Now, you typically can't find a Mormon that isn't telling you how much worse the world is getting in every single way possible. One would think that there's no point in even doing any good, as any good act will immediately be followed by six bad ones. But, in the case of profanity, there is a case to be made.
I'm not offended by most profanity (with one exception, and not the F-bomb), but it really is becoming a lot more acceptable to curse in the media. Any profanity at all was unacceptable in the 1990s for sports announcers, while anything short of the seven dirty words or "bitch" (when referring to a woman or an annoying man) is generally ok now. Network TV is somewhat more accepting of profanity, while cable is a lot more open to it. Music is also a little more accepting of it, although I think this has a lot more to do with the genres that are being played on top 40 radio than any real shift in how much profanity is actually being used.
When reading the Newsweek article about the Church on msnbc.com, I saw a banner ad at the bottom of the page for Critical Acclaim, a progressive site that seems to largely link to other progressive sites (I don't actually know, as I didn't visit). The ad featured a famous antiwar sign that read "Bombing for peace is like f***ing for virginity".
Now, this is a famous sign that is a representation of what was probably the best synopsis of why Vietnam was a bad idea that the left came up with. But one wonders: is this language generally acceptable now? Previously, flipping someone off was referenced in print news as simply "an obscene gesture". Interesting that MSNBC and GoogleAds would incorporate this ad into a random selection of ads to appear on a given page, especially given that the story was a religious piece.
So, you'd think that I'm in agreement with the idea that the world is going to heck in a handbasket on the profanity issue? Well, kind of. It actually seems less acceptable to swear in some environments than before. For example, our department here at OU has received occasional complaints about professors and GAs swearing in lectures. Not a huge deal, but unheard of a few short years ago. I wonder if a lesser taboo surrounding language really has made swearing a little less "cool".
It would be interesting to see if there actually does emerge a meaningful counter-trend on profanity. I sure hope not. I love me some Ludacris.