Radio Times

Cursing & public discourse: Have we gone too far?

January 27, 2012


A sign discouraging public vulgarity in Virginia Beach, Va. (AP file photo)

Hour 2

Mayor Nutter recently turned a few heads after he used some choice words when responding to the senseless murder of three Philadelphia teenagers.  The award-winning ABC sitcom Modern Family also found itself in a little bit of hot water thanks to an F-bomb dropped by a toddler.  Meanwhile the Supreme Court has begun debating whether or not policing profanity and nudity on broadcast television makes sense in the cable era. From offices, to grocery stores and sporting events, it seems there are very few places left where cursing is unacceptable. Have we become too relaxed with the language we use in public?  Joining us to discuss the use of profanity in public forums is TIMOTHY JAY, psychology professor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and author of Cursing in America and Why We Curse. We’ll also hear from JOHN McWHORTER, contributing editor at the New Republic and author of Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music in America and Why We Should, Like Care; and KATIE DAVIS, a project manager at Harvard’s Project Zero, where she investigates the role of digital media in the lives of adolescents.

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