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I’m beginning to feel like a prude.
I think I should state that I grew up on a council estate. “We were poor but we were happy”. If you had pudding with your tea (dinner for you middle-class people) some nights then that was considered a luxury. There was a neighbour just down the road who had a car with no wheels up on those little ramp things under each axle. Stray dogs and yellow dog poo. Yes, yellow. Front lawns that looked as though they hadn’t ever been watered. Playing football using the trees as goalposts. Get the picture?
Yes, we were poor, some of our friends had rough families and we’d often tease each other with references to fleas. We were crude, we were not couth. If we were round someone else’s house we’d say Please and Thank You to their parents. Think Kevin and Perry. “yes, Mrs Patterson.” We had manners.
But what none of us dared ever do was swear in front of our parents. Such swearing we did was sporadic and infrequent. And what we very very very rarely said was the C-word. It was just one of those unspoken taboos. We knew it was very bad, we knew there was no need for it. The F-word was fine, who needed a nuclear option?
Nowadays things are very different. You can’t go a day on Twitter or Youtube without hearing it. It’s on all TV channels after the watershed, everyone on the internet seems to be OK with it. I’ve heard people on the street who pepper just about every f**king sentence with a f**king expletive as though it’s f**king impossible not to f**king swear at all. People with pushchairs are happy to say this stuff in front of their children.
When did this become ok? Why is this acceptable behaviour? It seems as though everyone on Twitter thinks it’s fine to use the C-word and F-word at every possibility. Calling someone a c*** has become the norm. I once said to someone that he was going to get a name as “The man who always calls people a c**t”. He later called me a c**t. But then he calls everyone a c**t. It’s his thing and his friends think it’s so funny.
As standards continue to slip it’s undeniable that this country has become much more violent, much less polite. You may think it’s just words, but I believe it does affect people’s behaviour. I always avoid people’s gaze in public as I fear that people are an inch away from “YOU LOOKING AT ME?”. I feel guilty if I look at a passer-by in case they may feel I’m challenging them. It used to be ok to keep from having downcast eyes when walking.
I was brought up to be polite, to not get in peoples’ way, to hold doors open.
But you can’t walk ten paces these days without having to swerve to avoid people who are not looking where they’re going. I can’t walk around a supermarket without people standing in the way of things, standing right in the centre of aisles or even worse right at an intersection of aisles. These people don’t care that others need to shop. They don’t care that other people can’t get past them. If you try to squeeze past you get glared at as if it’s somehow your fault and you should take a massive detour around another lengthy aisle.
I’m still old-fashioned enough to stand to the side and minimise the area I take up. As a fairly monumental chap I keep meaning to stand my ground when someone deliberately walks straight at me. They mean me to move out of their way because… well, just because. “Let ’em bounce off me then,” i say to myself. But I always move aside. I can’t help it, I’m too polite. Sometimes I get (silently) angry at the bad behaviour of others and glower at someone who’s just done something unspeakably rude. They may occasionally say afterwards, insincerely “Sorry” as though that makes it ok. Under my breath I say “No you’re not or you wouldn’t have done that in the first place”. Loud enough for me to hear, loud enough for them to hear that i’m muttering something. But I’m still too polite to call them out on it. Besides, if I did, I’d just get a mouthful of abuse. I would then become the one in the wrong.
Since when did everyone have to be so selfish? I know in London I have to adjust my behaviour because that’s just how London is. There you have to be pushy and strident to get anywhere. But outside London I expect better. And I seem to be alone in that.
This has been annoying me for a long time and finally I’ve had enough.
I spend a fair bit of time on Twitter, I listen to comedy podcasts, I’ve read Youtube comments.
Since when has the word “Cunt” (see, i’m not a prude) been socially acceptable to bandy about willy-nilly? It seems now that everybody in comedy under the age of 40 just litters all conversation with the term. Anyone stands in front of you in a queue? C*nt. Someone heckles a comedian at a gig? C*nt. Someone’s in a different political party to you and has different views? C*nt.
Oh I bow to your superior wit, clearly you are ha-ha-hilarious, you are so scathing and cool! Don’t mess with this guy, people, he’s not afraid to call you a C*nt!! I could name one “comedian” who’s every remark is to calls everyone who he meets (and in many cases his own friends who lap up the ‘hilarity’) a C*nt. I mentioned it to him that perhaps he ought to grow up or forever be identified as “the man who always says ‘C*nt'” and well, you can imagine the good spirits in which he took the constructive criticism. Actually you can’t. He ranted and ranted even though acknowledging at one point that I had a point and had made it politely.
When I was young no-one would dare say a swear word in front of their parents. They would be smacked, sent to their room without any dinner or generally punished effectively. I remember being shocked at hearing the word “bloody” on the ITN news. At school we giggled like crazy in metalwork when we were introduced to the ‘bastard file’. I gasped when Burt Reynolds said “bullshit” on a late movie.
Now we live in a world where parents refuse to discipline their children and it’s even ok for children to shout profanities or share horribly coarse conversations with their laughing parents.
I still am disturbed by hearing the C-word. To me it’s the ultimate expletive and should be held in reserve for when it’s really needed. Though I am tempted to use it on the likes of Piers Morgan and Richard Littlejohn, I’m content to use minor curse words about these abscesses on society.
The rise of the chav has given us a daily experience where every f***ing sentence is f***ing peppered with f***ing bad laguage and they don’t even f***ing attempt to f***ing keep their f***ing voices down in front of f***ing children. When I was a kid if someone spoke like that in front of children they would have been punched by the nearest adult male. It simply would not be tolerated. Neither would aggressive teens playing loud tinny music out of their cheap phones.
Truly we live in different times. I can’t say I like it.