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Profanity is a weak vocabulary trying to express itself forcefully – Ted Dunlap
old-school painting
My wife started to watch the movie “Wolf Of Wall Street” within earshot of me. ICK! After less than five minutes in the incessant cesspool of profanity, she turned it off.

Hollywood has led our society away from “complicated” language into a simple world where a handful of swear words are used to mean anything and nothing; where forming articulate sentences is a thing of the past.

Foul language that used to be the mark of the lowest classes in male-only menial-labor pools has crept into all social strata.

This brings me to my daily liberty quote from C. S. Lewis that was in this morning’s mail.

“What I want to fix your attention on is the vast overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence — moral, cultural, social or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how ‘democracy’ (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient dictatorships, and by the same methods?

The basic proposal of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be ‘undemocratic.’ Children who are fit to proceed may be artifically kept back, because the others would get a trauma by being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his school career, and a boy who would be capable of tackling Aeschylus or Dante sits listening to his coeval’s attempts to spell out A CAT SAT ON A MAT.

We may reasonably hope for the virtual abolition of education when ‘I’m as good as you’ has fully had its way. All incentives to learn and all penalties for not learning will vanish. The few who might want to learn will be prevented; who are they to overtop their fellows? And anyway, the teachers — or should I say nurses? — will be far too busy reassuring the dunces and patting them on the back to waste any time on real teaching.

We shall no longer have to plan and toil to spread imperturbable conceit and incurable ignorance among men.”
— C. S. Lewis
(1898-1963), British novelist


A rich vocabulary is insulting to those without. We mustn’t hurt their feelings by using words they don’t understand. Lord knows having to look in a dictionary or ask what a word meant would be a terrible thing. We must keep conversation intellectually unchallenging.

I actually lost my job as a corrections officer over that… my reports inadvertently insulted the lead sergeant reviewing them. I had to go. He made it so. (I owe him.)

A while prior to my departure, the warden proclaimed that the rampant profanity among offenders and officers would stop immediately. I posted a list of adverbs and a list of adjectives on the unit bulletin board, then assigned every violator to immediately stop whatever they were doing and write the offending statement five ways without profanity before they could return to their card game, conversation or whatever they had been doing.

!POOF! In a few days I had pulled off the impossible in a 120-man unit.

I attach the lists below. Imagine a rich language utilizing these instead of the five meaningless substitutes in common use today.

Adjectives vs profanity . . . Adverbs vs profanity

You might notice that I watered down my definition of profanity in the ensuing decade… wouldn’t want to hurt any feelings, ya’ know.