Discussing profanity is a taboo and if you are an educationist it is almost sacrilegious. The usual tendency is to brush it under the carpet. Pretend it never existed. Before I develop cold feet let me give vent to my thoughts scaffolding it with a few observations. The Literary Fest at Jaipur grabbed a lot of eyeballs for various reasons .The one that grabbed mine was the debate on ‘Expletives a form of expression'. The spurt of movies hence released genuflected to the idea quite passionately.
When did cuss words become a form of expression? The occasional ‘friendly obscenities' were just that, occasional and friendly. Not worth the salt, very forgettable. They taking a literary hue left me baffled and curious. They almost prison our verbal intercourse rendering us impotent.
The expletives of yesteryear were empty word not obnoxious and maybe, uttered in a state of exasperation, it probably rolled off the tongue of a harangued housewife or a henpecked spouse. A timely solace, nothing more. Originally, it was an element of grammar-attributed as a grammatical intensifier. Words like ‘there is',' they are' were expletive, a mere filler in a sentence.
Fast forward to the present day .They are no more a filler .They are no more a sound expressing an emotional outburst. These “salty expressions” have over the course of time turned ‘colourful' and steamy .Sadly unsavoury vituperations are generously mouthed by our young boys and girls. A walk down the corridors of educational institutions would leave one appalled at the liberal sprinkling of these pejoratives aired without qualm, almost an incantation .The need to appease, to please, to be accepted paramount .The ‘cool' image is donned like a badge of recognition, its ‘sceptred sway,' undeniable. The uninitiated are looked upon with contempt .They too eventually join the bandwagon exploiting the expletives.
Having traversed the country, I can with confidence exclaim that expletives are certainly not the domain of a few. Even Presidents have fallen prey to it. (Remember, the expletive-deleted Watergate tapes of President Nixon). Every region is attuned to it, adding to this long barrage of detestables a unique regional flavour. These abominables are everywhere. Writers argue that expletives in sync with the character make it more realistic. Movies and television blanket the expletives with a beep or a buzz. Both need to be expurgated. They are more offensive than the word, besides they trigger one's imagination! In many ways they can be truly called ‘Expletives,the Leveller'. (James Shirley would be mortified)
On a personal front, I find expletives quite limiting. It stunts creative impulse. Talks of a deteriorating word power .Expletives prevent us rising from the banal. Moreover, they elicit a negative energy. A good indignation makes an excellent speech. It would be a pity to let anger die on the anvil of a few repetitive profanities. Acclimatised to counselling, I can't help but urge youngsters to refrain from scavenging with words.
(The writer's email id is varghesenevergiveup