There’s an interesting op-ed piece at the Wall Street Journal‘s website about the “decline of cursing” in our society. You might be surprised at the title if you haven’t noticed a decrease in potty-mouth language on television or in the workplace (if anything, there has been an increase on my campus the last few years), but the author isn’t actually saying that our language is becoming cleaner.
No, actually the thesis is that words that used to be considered obscene have been “mainstreamed,” so that they aren’t really curses anymore. A prime example of this trend? “A religious reference used to give a curse or an oath extra authenticity, but today most of us don’t for a moment hesitate to take the name of God in vain.”
You’ll need a WSJ subscription for full access to this discussion of “progress” in society.