The case for making expletives deleted

Bob Burnett
Bob Burnett

ONE of the characteristics of a sane, sensible and

decent society is boundaries. We have boundaries for the conduct of human behaviour.

Boundaries teach us self-control, self-discipline, respect for others and awareness of the other person with whom we share the world and life.

Be it a white line that tells us to stay on the left side of the road, or a law that says you must not take what belongs to someone else, or cultural mores that say that when travelling on public transport you should surrender your seat to a pregnant woman, boundaries are the glue that holds society together.

They enable a disparate group of people to function in some semblance of harmony.

I have a theory that language is the frontline in the boundaries battle.

In every culture there are certain taboo words, which one must not use in polite and public conversation for the simple reason that they offend.

In Australia, that's been recognised and attempts made to eliminate offensive words from our vocabulary, especially words that are inherently racist or sexist.

But what about expletives?

I grew up in a culture where certain expletives were never used in polite conversation and never used where there was a possibility that they could offend.

Even regular users of these expletives would chasten a mate who used such words in a situation where they could cause offence.

It was a good discipline, and a discipline that flowed throughout life: "Respect the other person, be aware that you are not the only person on the planet".

You have to have a self-discipline frontline some

where, and I believe that frontline is the use of language.

So how come the arts and entertainment industries believe it's their calling to move the frontline, or dismantle it altogether?

How come we have to have the mandatory offensive expletives in a television program, movie or novel before it can be considered "cool"?

Take for instance the ABC series Strange Calls, set in Coolum.

With wonderful assets such as delightfully quirky storylines and top-shelf acting, how come the writers and producers thought we had to have the mandatory gratuitous expletives in each episode?

This series probably will reach the heights of "cult classic", but to me they will always be marred by the expletives.

Why the expletives? Was it just to gain an "M" rating, so that "cool" people ("mature" people) would watch each episode?

The expletives added nothing. They were a distraction. Why do we feel we have to tear down what are life-enhancing boundaries?

I suspect it's because there's something in us that says: "Because society says I mustn't, therefore I will. I will stretch, shift and destroy the boundaries".

Topics:  opinion

LETTER Monty Python circus with squirrels marrying squirrels

Squirrel in Yellowstone National Park during summer.  - User Contributed

God help us with the current crop of egomaniacs in Canberra

Bagging up some Christmas cheer

GOOD CAUSE: Wesley Mission representative Mike Jeffrey and Queenslander Credit Union CEO John Weier prepare for the Red Bag Appeal.

Almost half a million people are living below the poverty line

Ipswich unites in march for safe world for kids

The streets turn red in one of the previous Walk for Daniel events.

Bruce and Denise continue movement

Local Partners

What's on the small screen this week

Georgia Love pictured in a scene from The Bachelorette finale.

TWO big reality shows wrap up this week while

The Ipswich stamp fair has it all licked

RARE METAL: Dave Roberts with his aluminium Tongan stamps from 1965.

Ipswich stamp fair will feature rare and unusual stamps

Seven decades of keeping Ipswich entertained

This is what the Incinerator Theatre in Queens Park looked like when the Ipswich Little Theatre Society performed its first play.

Times Past with QT columnist Beryl Johnston

Brad Pitt won't file legal response to divorce petition

Brad reportedly refused to send off the paperwork

Azealia Banks won't take legal action against Russell Crowe

Rapper Azealia Banks

Rapper drops legal action against Russell Crowe

Brad Pitt meets with his kids amid divorce proceedings

Actor Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt has met up with his oldest son Maddox

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track