Can anyone speak eloquently anymore? I am beginning to believe that is a definitive, resounding "NO." Sadly, the vocabulary of modern society has been degraded to the point where cursing has become part of the vernacular for many Americans. After Game 5 of the NBA Finals last night, I watched a post-game interview with L.A. Lakers star, Kobe Bryant, who lamented being asked a question by a reporter with a response to the effect of "What the hell kind of question is that?" Sports broadcasters are starting to refer to events as "one hell of a game." While that language irks me, I understand it has a place with some people, but not on national television.
Though the sporting world, cable television, and every day conversation may find this language permissible, I am bothered by it. However, I am more bothered with the leaders of the United States of America using language they would not tolerate being directed at themselves. Or better yet, language they would not want to hear from children. Let us examine the current administration.
White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, in a meeting with his subordinants, called them "f---ing retards" in an apparent attempt to show his disgust with their policy ideas. In case you are not aware, the Chief of Staff is the president's closest advisor. Strangely, the public outcry that ensued after his comments were directed not at the f-word, but at his use of "retard." I hope I speak for most Americans when I say that such behavior is completely unprofessional and probably would provoke a punch to the face from most employees.
Vice President Joe "I shouldn't be allowed to talk in public" Biden has also been brazen enough to spew foul language in public. During President Obama's signing of the historic health care bill, Biden introduced the president and commented to him that the occasion was a "big f---ing deal." The dunderhead apparently didn't think the microphones would pick it up. Wrong. Is this all our leaders know? To be vulgar and crass? White House officials, when asked for comment, stated they saw nothing wrong with the comments.
President Obama completed the trifecta last week with comments on the Today Show. The president was discussing the oil spill off the Gulf of Mexico and stated that he had spent important time determining "whose ass to kick." Really, Mr. President? That's the best you can come up with? Aside from the lunacy of the statement (we all knew whose ass to kick immediately), Obama tried to come off with a John Wayne-esque tough guy statement that made him sound as foolish as his predecessor. He sounded like a middle school student who talks tough to the other children, but truly has no desire to fight.
Let me be a little fair to the current administration and point out that former Vice President, Dick Cheney (a vile and disgusting man in his own right), made use of the f-word on the Senate floor. Glad I wasn't showing my students C-Span on that day.
At least former executives such as Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon (two of the most foul mouthed men to ever serve the public) had the good sense to conduct themselves appropriately in public with respect to their choice of words.
As Joseph Welch said to Senator Joe McCarthy, "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"