Monday, September 28, 2009
A bomb was dropped on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live this past weekend and I am not talking about guest host Meghan Fox’s performance.
During a sketch between two “biker chicks,” newbie cast member Jenny Slate dropped the F word with veteran Kristen Wiig. Censors on the East Coast missed the fleeting F word when it flew, but did bleep it for the West Coast feed. I don’t know if new cast member Slate wanted to make a controversial impression and decided to boldly go where not many cast members have gone before in a performance, but I am always shocked and a little disheartened when people overreact to using a word that has been in the English vernacular since the Middle Ages.
The blogosphere is rife with opinions, some bloggers using the same word Slate dropped on NBC Saturday night, which I find highly ironic. Viewers want NBC and Saturday Night Live to take a strong stand and punish Jenny Slate. Some even say she should be fired for dropping the F word, writing in their screeds that she should be professional enough to know when and how to use coarse language on free television.
I have always had a problem with the perception of the use of curse words. Not because I agree with our collective Puritanical roots. On the contrary – I love curse words; all forms, all functions. Now if you’re one of those sanctimonious, high-horse people who feel that cursing has no place in polite society, this opinion piece is not for you, and I hope you don’t break your neck when you fall off that horse.
No word in the English language can be used so many different ways and for so many situations. You can use the F word as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, even a gerund! It is one of the most widely used words in social circles, yet we deny its monumental impact in broadcasting.
As a society, we are nowhere near eradicating a word that was used as an insult when the Normans invaded the Anglo Saxons in 1066. In fact, the reason we use the same curse words today goes back to the Anglo pride of keeping the most debased, guttural insult(proudly saved), and defiantly hurled back on their Norman conquers. (And notice who had the last laugh in the First and Second World Wars – take that, France, and your polite, sissified language!)
I think in certain situations and circumstances they are not only funny, but useful and in some instances, cathartic. There is nothing like letter a few F words fly when you’re upset, angry or frustrated. A recent study even suggests that cursing is good for a person's mental state because there is not only a verbal but physical release when someone vents their frustration in a curse-ladened tirade.
I am not endorsing using the F word during children’s programming or during a church picnic. Did Jenny Slate gratuitously use the F word repeatedly during an episode of Hannah Montana, turning it into a Tarentino script? No. Does SNL always like to push the envelope? Yes, since it’s inception in 1975. So I don’t have a problem with the F word at 10:30 at night. Because I know the dirty little secret that many people use that word during the morning, noon and night as well.
As the bumper sticker says, sometimes S*@# Happens.