I remember when people used to be decent most of the time. Men were gentlemen and ladies were ladylike. These days it seems that decency is a liability if you want to fit into modern society. It also seems that many young people who desperately want to fit into that society will do whatever it takes to be accepted there. If this means they should use foul language in a setting where it was once frowned upon (when decency was the order of the day) they will curse with alacrity. You only have to endure any of the so-called comedies coming out of Hollywood these days to see just how far decency and the appreciation of actual humour has slumped. In my opinion there is hardly any decency found in the mainstream anymore. It’s been buried under an avalanche of crassness.
Somehow, somewhere along the way we have lost track of the things that made us decent. Was it absorbing too many other world views in the information age that led us here? Has it been the sheer bombardment of negative images coming out of the creative world, including cinema, television, printed media, recording artists and news outlets? Is it a lack of impulse control because we’re told it’s OK to share our feelings with everyone now? Probably all of it.
Indecency definitely existed when I was growing up, but it was something most of us kept out of the spotlight. When I was growing up I would never have dared to use bad language in front of my parents. My parents never swore in front of us and I have carried that through to my own children. We just don’t do it.
Perhaps it’s an inability of some of our Generation X’ers to carry on the standards that our parents’ generation brought us up with when it comes to bringing up their own children. I know some parents these days who think nothing of assembling a barrage of expletives in front of their kids and I cringe when I hear that happening. A few weeks back I was meandering around Edgars as I am prone to do while waiting for my wife when I walked past a mother and her (probably) 15-year-old son. He wanted some pair of shoes that she thought were impractical, so she wanted him to choose another pair that she preferred. He had a long face about it and eventually the mother just lost it with him and let rip with a barrage of F-bombs that would have melted the wax in a nun’s ears. In a public place and without any shame. Looking at her you wouldn’t have have thought that she was that kind of woman. She looked well groomed but I guess that was as far as it went.
Another example of this kind of indecency happened at a wedding I was assisting with this year. Have you ever heard the bride, groom and their entourage using foul language in their wedding speeches? Well, neither had I, but these well-to-do people thought nothing of the language they used. In front of their parents, friends and family they constantly dropped F-bombs and other choice words during their speeches that you’d expect to come from the mouths of sailors, not a bridal party, and certainly not over an outdoor PA system at a very up-market hotel.
When did this become socially acceptable? Was I asleep at the time? Did I miss a public meeting where it was decided that decency was over-rated and that people could say whatever they wanted to? Whenever it was hopefully one day it will stop and people will go back to being respectful of others when they choose their words, especially when the Millennial Generation become parents themselves.