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January 13, 2014

Wondering whether any dirty words still exist

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — In 1972 George Carlin listed his famous - or infamous, depending on your point of view - seven dirty words that, at the time, could not be said on TV. 

Of course, fast forward 40 years and now all you need to do is watch some of the most critically acclaimed shows of the past few years and you can hear them frequently. I’ve seen many of them and while the use of the words on Carlin’s list is not always necessary, if used properly they can add a bit of humor.

I’m not listing the words here. I enjoy being employed.

No, I’m going to instead wonder whether the use of those words, combined with an increasingly voyeuristic society (Reality shows anyone?) and the cultivation of a society that communicates via Twitter has led to the list no longer being applicable.

I bring this up because twice in the past six weeks I’ve attended Orleans County Legislature meetings when a certain word has been used out of context. I must stress, this word was used by citizens in open forum and not legislators.

Both times, I honestly was shocked. Maybe it was my upbringing, maybe it’s chivalry of some sort, or maybe it’s the fact that I have a daughter (and one on the way). I don’t know.

That being said, sitting in a public meeting and hearing a citizen voice concern over rising taxes or the sale of the nursing home, and likening either situation to rape - yes, that was the word used - in any way is disheartening.

Have we really fallen so far as a society that one of the most despicable crimes a person can commit is now the go-to analogy for people to use when voicing concern over certain aspects of government administration? Can no other words be used? Sure, none conjure the horrifying image of the one in question, but other terms can still work. Ripped off. Violation of trust. Heck, even screw would be better.

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