Monday, September 28, 2009

Generation Gap?

I am utterly mystified by the coverage of Jenny Slate's debut on Saturday Night live. Apparently, during a skit in which she played a "foul-mouthed hard-core biker chick," Slate slipped up and uttered what the pearl-clutching media is delicately calling an "F-bomb."

Gasping ensues. Will she be fired? Will she go into an unstoppable spiral and commit suicide? Will we ever forgive her? When will those naughty writers learn to be civil? Will NBC have to pay outrageous fines?

Give me a break. For the life of me, I cannot understand why an adult saying "fuckin'" in its most innocent, adverbial form at 1 in the morning deserves any notice whatsoever. Neither I nor any of my fellow Millenials would bat an eye at hearing this usage in normal conversation. It's not like she was testifying in front of congress — it was a skit called "Biker Chick Chat."
The coverage of this incident has been fascinating, if only because of the preciousness with which major media outlets treat the issue of "obscenity."

The New York Post calls the incident a "snafu," so it seems that we can say "fuck" as long as it's part of an acronym coined by the Greatest Generation.

The AP priggishly assures its readers that "the dreaded word" was not part of the original script:
But the most objectionable word was substituted, with rapid-fire comic frequency, with an inoffensive stand-in for that vulgarity.
The Washington Post reports that Slate's use of "the most forbidden of four-letter words . . . tainted an otherwise festive season opener."

Eye-rolling seems grossly inadequate. I can think of half a dozen four-letter words that people of my generation would be ashamed to utter, and "fuck" is not among them.

But then, the Washington Post and the New York Times are notoriously prissy when it comes to language – they won't use the word "torture" if it's the US doing the torturing, but apply that word freely when other nations are the culprits.

They couldn't pick a real obscenity out of a lineup.

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