Is it me, or is there a lot more of it “out in the open” than in the past few decades?
By “out in the open” I mostly mean in pop music.
I went to public school in the 1970s and ’80s. There was a lot of salty language out there on the playground. But I don’t remember hearing any of it in my favorite pop songs. Sure, there were racy songs with mildly embarrassing lyrics that I didn’t really want to sing in the shower. But I don’t remember having to hesitate over swear words in my favorite songs.
Nowadays there are “clean” versions of songs. Why don’t I remember this phenomenon from my childhood?
So this leads to my next question. In order for me to fully participate in the world of today’s teenager (which I think is a better plan than to either censor my girls or to let them do whatever they want without my involvement), does it make sense for me to pretend that the swearing isn’t happening? Should I be insisting on the “clean” versions? That seems absurd to me. I tried doing that for a couple of years, but in the end I had to agree that it seemed ridiculous.
Also, when I look at the lyrics, I can see why the swear words are there. And I do think that teenagers hate it when adults pretend that they don’t drink, smoke, swear, or otherwise behave badly at times. Even rated PG movies have some mild foul language in them. It’s just the reality of how people talk. It’s all over social media. If you have a smart phone, you can’t avoid it.
I’d rather have an active knowledge of and involvement in what interests my teenagers, than to force them to hide what really goes on in their world. Do I love the swear words that make it impossible for me to sing the lyrics out loud in the car? No, not at all. I try to point out how juvenile it sounds when pop stars use gratuitous four-letter words. But I think this is a battle I’m just going to decline to fight, and hope that my teens know that resorting to vulgar language is often the result of a limited vocabulary.