Thursday, April 24, 2014
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GUEST COLUMN: Fowl language

I was reading a story this past week about a new newscaster on his first day of work at a television station, it seems he let loose a couple of major swear words live on the newscast. One of those being, and I quote Ralphie; "the queen-mother of dirty words". I immediately felt bad for him, but I also know that this is a place that requires a lot of thought and attention to detail. I started my journalism career in radio.

It was highly important to know what and how to say something, and you never wanted to let any colorful language slip while live on the air. Actually it was a good idea to change into your on-air personality when you got anywhere near a microphone. Now I have uttered the occasional cuss word, but that usually involves a hammer, nails and poor aim.

The new newscaster was promptly suspended from his job. It seems that he had some other issues in front of the camera on live TV. And within a few days he was released from his job all together. By this time the film clip of his faux pas had made major news websites and some video postings, so quite a few people had seen it. Support for the newly unemployed anchor started to pour in. A lot of folks seemed to have compassion and asked the television station to give him another chance.

As I see it, he made a big mistake, on his first day on the job. He probably will never make that mistake again, ever. But he was aware of the requirements for his job and he failed quite early in his career. I feel bad, but know that the station has a reputation to uphold in the community, and laws to follow. I guess my question is why were these words on the end of his tongue? How did they slip out so easily? I think as culture we are lowering our standards, and language is one of the major characteristics. I often hear these and other similar words spewed out in public as a part of normal conversation. I am not a prude, but I really don't think they are appropriate for daily use. In certain settings it might seem more acceptable, but these days I hear children speaking these words without any embarrassment. Why are we stooping so low?

So I was thinking about some other things are seemingly more acceptable now than just a generation ago. Well one thing that does stand out, is clothes. Well not so much the clothes, as I understand that styles change, but now showing undergarments seems to be an accepted style. I can remember a time when if a portion of a private article of clothing was visible it was an embarrassing situation. But now certain underclothes are actually designed so they are more appealing and they beg to be shown. I am happy to see that some communities have actually cracked down on this "style".

Next would be piercings and tattoos, both are similar in nature and seemed tied on my list. Piercings have really become more strange and large in the past few years. I am fine with the jewelry type earrings and even the occasional dots here and there. But some folks seem to take making holes in their head and face to a new level. It is no longer a female style of diamonds in their earlobes. It is holes that hold an assortment of items. Along the same lines are tattoos, what used to be a manly tradition has now crossed over to the fair skin of the ladies. In the past there were women that put a small flower or dolphin on their ankle, but these days they can be just as covered as a hard-core biker. Granted some of the artwork is very good. But in a few short decades the tattoos will fade to dull colors, tight smooth skin will give way to a stretched and wrinkled canvas. I think long sleeve clothes will suddenly become popular again. Also any large piercings will continue to grow and instead of a small item in the hole they will now have room for household appliances.

I hate that a reporter lost his job for a single slip of the tongue. But I am happy that we still have a place where proper and acceptable language is still required. The more colorful words should be kept in their appropriate place, surrounding hammers and such devices capable of releasing the words in a more private setting.