**WARNING*** There will be strong language in this post, and I assume any following discussion.
This morning on our local radio station there was an interesting discussion about the usage, intent and impact of swearing.
It was sparked by a satirical TV show, Dirty Laundry Live, using strong language to discuss Charles Saatchi, soon to be ex husband of Nigela Lawson. During the shows opening monologue the host Lawrence Mooney described him as a cunt.
To put it in context the comment was shown live to air although it was scripted. Mooney has stated they did have a strong discussion on whether to use it or not but he contends that it was both justified and effective.
The discussion it sparked was centered around the appropriateness or not of using that language on live to air television.
From a personal perspective I have no problem with the use of the word. Words are just words, some have more impact than others. Its the values you ascribe to that word, and the context they are use that matters.
In this particular instance I think calling the man a cunt was an effective and appropriate usage. Its not wording i would use around my children but again its not a show children should be watching.
The interesting part of the debate and what I was interested in discussing here was the contention that using the word contributed to violence against women. I can't say I agree with that argument.
As I said before words are just words. I'm sure that the word cunt CAN be used to denigrate women, but in the context it was used I don't think it does.
Is calling someone a prick, a cock head or a dick demeaning to men? Sure they aren't words with as much impact but they are all negative words associated with male genitalia.
If I use those words to purposefully denigrate a group then I should be condemned. But is that what has happened here?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
I was a military dependent for years and took my children out to watch drills and physical training. On occasion we heard some drill sergeant screech at his men calling them cunt, pussy, bitch, douchebag, tits, motherfucker, and all this while the trainees were carrying rifles with bayonets. He tried to stir up their anger using female genital parts to insult them. The trainees would lunge with a stabbing motion using these same kinds of words.
Military families are well documented to have high rates of family violence. The men came home to wife and kids, got a bit overwrought, and started using these words in their homes. Kids played in the street in military housing areas, and they taunted other boys with the same kinds of language and delighted in chasing little girls screaming such invectives.
I hated the military. It was a hate-mongering culture.
I heard a sports coach urging his boys on with "Don't be a GIRL!".
Me thjnking, "But I'm a 'girl'". Being a "girl" is a putdown?
I love and respect all women. My mother was one obviously, and I loved her very much. Women are great, and in most cases more intelligent than men.
Among the boys on a high school football team, being a girl is definitely a putdown.
If someday they encounter any outspoken lesbians, they might hear masculinity described as both a birth defect and a mental illness. They might also hear a penis described as a dildo substitute.
Marine Corps drill instructors were known for using words such as fag, pansy and queer to motivate new recruits.
Not coincidentally the Marines, for years longer than the other branches, opposed allowing gay men to enlist.
Living as I do in a veterans' retirement home and having been in the Navy, I tease a few former Marines about their being afraid of gays. Not many, just my best friends among them.
I tease most former marines with, "The best use of a Marine is to throw him overboard, preferably near an enemy-held island."
BTW, what accounts for the not-very-friendly relationship between a few sailors and a few marines? Aboard large ships, cruisers and larger, marines are the police and supervise their brigs. When sailors go ashore and return more than a little drunk, they go to the brig.
I was aboard a destroyer and we had no marines aboard. I made third class petty officer and for one night in Japan I was a shore patrolman. My partner, a first class petty officer, carried the .45 caliber gun. I was real glad I didn't have to deal with any drunk sailors.
Oh! my goodness! What experiences you must have had. When and where did you serve? I found that individual solders were most pleasant but get them in a group and they acted like they never had a mother to correct them. How is life for you now?
The night before my ship left for Korea by way of Hawaii, I got high on beer. The next morning I woke up in my bunk aboard ship and didn't remember how I got there. I was hungover and a few miles out we ran into a storm. Try being both hungover and seasick. It's not fun.
Soldiers? I wanted no part of combat on land. I knew how to swim and hoped I wouldn't have to outswim a shark. I was surprised that so many foot soldiers wanted no part of combat at sea.
We all had mothers but some of us were doing what our mothers had never allowed. It's part of growing up. I came back and one day while talking with I girl I liked, embarrassed myself by talking the way I had while in the Navy. I had to learn to like like a civilian.
Life is swell now. A South Korean consular official from San Francisco was here last week to speak and give medals to the 200+ guys here who'd served in the Korean War. Governments do that; speeches and medals cost very little. I'd heard enough talk and had been given enough medals; I went to my writers group instead.
Gee, sixty years have passed since I was real annoyed that we had left a military dictatorship in South Korea.
Tom, do you have anything you want to say to the young men and women boarding transports to foreign countries that are in deep chaos? Possibly being in battle, perhaps being disabled or killed, or being a survivor of whatever they encounter, do you have words of wisdom to help them thrive, even if bad things happen? Is there a way to prevent PTSD?
The easy Q: Is there a way to prevent PTSD?
I don't see violence ending.
Some people cope with it better than others. For instance, of the three young women held captive and raped for years, the one who managed her escape has been going public. She is coping; her ordeal might result in her life having a purpose she couldn't have foreseen.
The other two have been silent and probably need help. I hope they're getting it.
PTSD's least severe symptom is an alertness that might be a near-clinical level of paranoia. I hope they don't take on the stresses of parenting.
The other Q: Do I have anything to say...?
If what I say would move them to turn the transport around and come back, I would say it. I would next have to administer medications to:
1) lower their testosterone level,
2) raise their oxytocin level, and
3) render them skeptical of the American history they'd been fed.