Recently saw a movie, liked by most , in fact a major hit. It was a path breaking- film as far as the language goes. But that got me thinking, having been brought up in an environment where profanity was glared down upon by family, teachers and people around me in general, as to what makes people swear and why has it lost its shock value today.
After some basic research found out that swearing has been around ever since man acquired language. In fact similar behavior was also observed in chimps. It was a common reaction to pain, surprise, shock. A volley of foul language had a powerful analgesic effect as it triggered the ‘fight or flight’ response in the brain. Also found that men swore more then women ( a gap that I’m sure is lessening by the day!)
Every country, region, language has its own arsenal of expletives. In our country also, you will find a wide range of swear words to choose from. Where as the common man resorts to the more vulgar, baser form of local lingo, the upwardly mobile tend to use the videshi gaalis imported from (among other things) Europe or the US of A and strut around with one more thing phoren in their kitty.
Some time back, saw a bunch of kids, 6-7 yrs old, playing games that kids play, the way they play, that makes you smile at the innocence of childhood. Imagine my surprise when a little squabble brought forth words from them that could put even the most seasoned swearer to shame. The parents may blame the tv or the movies for the enhanced vocabulary but it doesn’t completely exempt them from their responsibility. And yes, the media ( read tv and movies)must also pick up its fair share of responsibility. We all know there are certain shows on tv and now movies that glamorize the cuss-words despite all the bleeps in place (or is it because of the bleeps that these words become so fascinating to a fertile mind?). Endorsing profanity in the name of reality is not an excuse that can be accepted. Since when did masala movies start showing reality? Show me a guy who can take on 10 armed hooligans singlehandedly, or a poor girl who doesn’t have food to eat bit yet can afford designer outfits and I swear I’ll change my Bl@#*y ways..
I’m not trying to do any moral policing because I too have indulged into my fair share of cursing in my life time. But I do have my reservations about popularizing them and bringing them into the radar range of the minds of the yet uninitiated. Yes, it does grate my sensibilities.
The D.K.Boses of the world have suddenly woken up to an added dimension to their name. Wonder what Shakespeare would have said about it; ‘what’s there in a name’ or ‘much ado about nothing’.