‘There are no dirty words, only dirty minds’ – The Altamont Enterprise

To the Editor:

I wholeheartedly agree with Timothy J. Albright’s letter to the editor, “Stop looking for lame reasons to divide us,” published August 6, 2020.

Most “swear words” are not used, usually, with their original meanings. It is my theory that a “dirty word” is used because either the speaker does not have an extensive vocabulary to articulate his or her actual intent or the speaker is using a word to really fully express, in today’s vernacular, the only word that could be used.

So, for example, if a hammer comes down on someone’s thumb, the expressions “Ouch!” and “Confound it!” might not carry the same weight as some other words, words that some readers might object to. Language constantly changes.

Every older generation complains about the younger generation’s music, words, manners, clothing, etc.  Complaining about these things, in my opinion, signifies that we’re old fogies. Do you remember when a woman’s showing her ankle was a scandal?

As to the responsibility of a newspaper, I agree with Tim that a quote should be accurately recorded and printed, and, as I agree with everything he wrote in his letter, I will not repeat its contents.

When my kids were growing up, they were voracious readers and I let them use whatever vocabulary words expressed their point. What was, and still is, verboten in our house are words like “idiot,” “retard,” and other words that denigrate people.

As Lenny Bruce said, “There are no dirty words, only dirty minds.”

George Carlin said, “These words have no power. We give them this power by refusing to be free and easy with them. We give them great power over us. They really, in themselves, have no power. It’s the thrust of the sentence that makes them either good or bad.”

Edie Abrams

New Scotland

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