When I was younger, I used to be a little put off by George Carlin. He seemed to me to be a ranting crotchety man who had a beef with everything that walked. It was also about the time when I picked up a copy of “Pride and Prejudice” (way before it became teenage girl fodder for ridiculously romantic wet dreams) and discovered a new realm. A realm of communication and cleverly placed words. A duel where your weapon’s effectiveness depended on your quickness of tongue.
Now older and with a proper opinion on many a topic, I rekindled my relationship with Carlin and I can say the honeymoon is sweeter the second time around. And my then tongue-tied self has grown to be more dominant of the words of a very ample artillery.
Carlin, along with my other favorite darling of darlings, Stephen Fry, have each made his own complaint very plain about our language and how we are using it. Their points of view seem very divergent but they are speaking of the same thing.
I am an Asian woman who was born and grew up in California and from personal experience, I remember an underlying tenseness that was quite racially charged. In Mexico, however, that changed. To be sure, people can be as racist, if not more but there is a certain bluntness about it (Why are your eyes like that? Are you Chinese or Japanese?), whereas in the States, I feel that they try to layer words to such an extent as to bury it in redundancies (Choose your ethnicity; Affirmative Action).
Living in Mexico, however, I’ve come to understand that there was a certain fear I lived with in the States: to not offend. To tread carefully and not say the wrong thing. Here, things are more off the cuff and poke fun at things that are really blatantly obvious. Where it offends (“can you see with such tiny eyes?” was one such comment I can recall), I have stood my ground and without raising my voice, replied that if I were to hear another such comment, I will promptly castrate the offender with my teeth. His presence, as it is to be expected, has been very minimal in my life since then. Yes, I can choose to be angry but I feel that at this stage of my life, I have no room for such feelings. I am about to reach my 40s and I have no need for extra baggage. I want to nip it in the bud, deliver a well-orchestrated verbal punch or two and move the fuck on.
I have no patience for throwing haymakers when I can do just as much damage roundhouse-kicking with my words.
And now that I’ve been subject and used to this sort of language, I now feel that my paisanos, my countrymen and women from the U S of A, may be a little uptight.
In other words, loosen the hell up.
I vote for sound-sex and assume my responsibility as a middle-aged woman to call things what they are in a way that does honor to the English language.
Verbal freshness and an auditory awakening. A nicely placed “fuck” and I think we can call it a day.