Every Thursday, I phone-in to a popular morning radio show. The station bosses and show hosts are exceptionally generous; they let me spout whatever I feel like spouting. I can't remember ever spouting anything they chose to use the dump button for-that's because I, like you, have a sense of what one should and should not say on the air.
Hell, the underworld, is a word our sense tells us we should not say on the air, or type on the page. Hereafter a lone H, will represent the geographical locale of Hell.
I don't know why we have that sense about H, we just do, or at least I do, and I suspect you do, too. Moreover, I would hold my saying H to a severe minimum while in your home, talking to a person whom I thought was under 14, or while speaking with your grandmother.
What is the point of not speaking or writing the occasional H, or son of a b, or the naughty word for dang? It surely can't be we're at all put-off hearing those words, because many of us hear and even say those words allot, with no adverse effect. So it must be to protect our young children from hearing those words. These are words that they are going to be hearing early and often sooner than later; in fact young people probably already hear them often, in the comfort of their own home. We figure, too, protecting our young from bad words will help assure they grow up proper citizens. I guess is what we figure.
I get it that for some reason we puritans aren't willing to allow our ears and eyes to take in certain words. Therefore, I gladly adhere to the FCC's guidelines regarding sinful language when I'm on the air, or writing for someone else's publication. When it's my live show, I'll use cuss words to taste.
Tell you what I find odd. H is a word that's meaning is a destination millions and millions of people feel doesn't exist. It's cuss word "lite". It's an empty calorie word. To hear it used, I believe, will harm a youngster little to naught. If I were making the rules about what should be censored from television and radio air, and print, instead of censoring h, and other non-effective cusses, I'd choose to censor descriptive criminal reports.
My favorite radio and television stations recently aired a report about a local nanny who was being tried for molesting a small child. The report included clear descriptive details of what the accused had done with the child, including manhandling and injuring the child, and-ah, whoops, I'll stop there, which is what I would hope our news producing outlets would start doing.
We, and the FCC, think a 12-year-old child riding to school with her mama listening to the radio should be protected from hearing the word H, yet we apparently don't mind the child hearing, often, in glaring detailed descriptions, about what a pedophile or rapist or murderer has done to his or her victim?
Young children shouldn't have to hear disgusting details of crimes. (Many of the crimes are against young children) Adults shouldn't either. And to say reporting lurid details of outrageous crimes is a public service that makes us more aware of the everyday ills that surround us, which makes us more watchful and therefore safe, is a weak defense of high-ratings seeking reporting. If an adult is not aware there are bad people doing bad things, hearing about those bad things on T.V. isn't going to shock the adult into having a clue.
And believe me, I know we're free to not watch or listen to anything we find offensive, but young children are not always in the position of power to chose what they're viewing or listening to.
Our news producing organizations, or the FCC, or the people providing this type of intense descriptive criminal detailed information to the outlets, should keep it off the air. What the h?
P.S. The last paragraph was written as a tight ending, but since writing it, I've had another thought: The kind of jarring reports the above piece addresses also play in disrespect to the victims, and you could say, if you chose, the accused.
Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act "The Logger." His column appears weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO or visit his website at www.thelogger.com