Issue one coarse crude or vulgar word while I was growing up and I was sent to my room without the next meal.
Among a host of other concerns raised by the election campaign, the coarseness of the language, the vulgarity, rudeness and lack of respect for others – these stand out as truly troubling. We now have in the West a record number of people with further education, and an historically large number of young people in college. And yet you have the impression that bad language is shrugged off and that anonymity on social media allows the most horrible ad hominem attacks and foul language, without any danger of paying for it.
As a follower of Epicurus I never thought I would say or think this, but “free speech” has gone too far and those who abuse it should be disciplined (clearly, their incompetent parents were not inclined to do it; maybe they were preoccupied with shopping). It is troubling that the “F” word, the “B” word and the “C” word are bandied about, and people don’t care.
I hope I am being proudly old-fashioned when I say that mutual toleration and respect are the cornerstones of civilisation (certainly of Epicureanism); that uttering foul language at the expense of the powerless isn’t funny, or clever, or meaningful – just beneath contempt. Moderation allows us to live together and to differ in our views without screaming and shouting.
Want to know what else provoked my tirade? A made-for-TV series called “Mozart in the Jungle”, ostensibly featuring female players in a symphony orchestra (cue for beautiful, civilized music) preoccupied with crude sex and barrack-room language. We turned the thing off after 15 minutes. The crudity and vulgarity of the internet has invaded everything.