Blago's bad language

As news broke about Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's arrest on political corruption charges, even those who have become cynical about political miscreants expressed shock at the brazenness of his attempts to sell the U.S. Senate seat formerly occupied by President-elect Barack Obama.

Less shocking, unfortunately, was his incessant use of the "f-word" during conversations in which he plotted to cash in on his political power. Our society has become mired in both an endless parade of political graft (remember the congressman who hid $50,000 in the freezer?) as well as an endless parade of profane language in the media.

Fortunately, we are not so jaded that we will sit still for political miscreants -- we  want them punished and justly so. I'm sure millions will cheer along with me on the day that Blagojevich is stripped of his governorship and sent for a long time-out in an Illinois prison, where he will have lots of time to spend in the library and work on expanding his limited vocabulary.

Perhaps it's no accident that Blagojevich used the most vulgar obscenities in nearly every sentence caught on tape. Minding your language and minding your behavior both require self-discipline and a respect for an established order in society. Clearly, the out-of-control, arrogant governor had neither. Foul language is almost always used by people who are angry and hostile, as the tapes plainly reveal Blagojevich to be. He also proved another truth about habitual obscenity users: the more they swear, the more limited their vocabulary becomes, to the point where they cannot go more than one sentence without a meaningless, yet still offensive, profanity. So in addition to adding to that anger management problem, chronic swearing also makes you lazy, unimaginative, and stupid.

Not that long ago, one rarely heard rough language among civilized people. Most found non-profane ways to express anger and frustration, using self-discipline and a far richer vocabulary than is commonly used today. As our society has normalized foul language, we have degraded ourselves in the process. Now, people yakking on cell phones in a doctor's full waiting room (even with children present) don't flinch from using the first four-letter word that pops into their sullied brains.

Of course, the governor's insufferable actions are worse than the language he used. But as Jim O'Conner, author of Cuss Control, the Complete Book on How to Curb Your Cursing, observes, "Profanity is part of the English language, but people have to be more discreet about when and where they use it. The governor was quoted in private conversations. Still, as a public figure, he should have known that even what he said in private is likely to be reported." Yes, especially considering that he knew he was under investigation.

The fact is, a little self-censorship is good for the soul, while also building that elusive kinder, gentler society. In addition to the joy of seeing an arrogant creep like this get his comeuppance, we'll all benefit if we let bad boy Blagojevich become a poster child for what mindless profanity can do to us. As he has shown, it isn't pretty.

Judy Gruen is the author of The Women's Daily Irony Supplement.
As news broke about Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's arrest on political corruption charges, even those who have become cynical about political miscreants expressed shock at the brazenness of his attempts to sell the U.S. Senate seat formerly occupied by President-elect Barack Obama.

Less shocking, unfortunately, was his incessant use of the "f-word" during conversations in which he plotted to cash in on his political power. Our society has become mired in both an endless parade of political graft (remember the congressman who hid $50,000 in the freezer?) as well as an endless parade of profane language in the media.

Fortunately, we are not so jaded that we will sit still for political miscreants -- we  want them punished and justly so. I'm sure millions will cheer along with me on the day that Blagojevich is stripped of his governorship and sent for a long time-out in an Illinois prison, where he will have lots of time to spend in the library and work on expanding his limited vocabulary.

Perhaps it's no accident that Blagojevich used the most vulgar obscenities in nearly every sentence caught on tape. Minding your language and minding your behavior both require self-discipline and a respect for an established order in society. Clearly, the out-of-control, arrogant governor had neither. Foul language is almost always used by people who are angry and hostile, as the tapes plainly reveal Blagojevich to be. He also proved another truth about habitual obscenity users: the more they swear, the more limited their vocabulary becomes, to the point where they cannot go more than one sentence without a meaningless, yet still offensive, profanity. So in addition to adding to that anger management problem, chronic swearing also makes you lazy, unimaginative, and stupid.

Not that long ago, one rarely heard rough language among civilized people. Most found non-profane ways to express anger and frustration, using self-discipline and a far richer vocabulary than is commonly used today. As our society has normalized foul language, we have degraded ourselves in the process. Now, people yakking on cell phones in a doctor's full waiting room (even with children present) don't flinch from using the first four-letter word that pops into their sullied brains.

Of course, the governor's insufferable actions are worse than the language he used. But as Jim O'Conner, author of Cuss Control, the Complete Book on How to Curb Your Cursing, observes, "Profanity is part of the English language, but people have to be more discreet about when and where they use it. The governor was quoted in private conversations. Still, as a public figure, he should have known that even what he said in private is likely to be reported." Yes, especially considering that he knew he was under investigation.

The fact is, a little self-censorship is good for the soul, while also building that elusive kinder, gentler society. In addition to the joy of seeing an arrogant creep like this get his comeuppance, we'll all benefit if we let bad boy Blagojevich become a poster child for what mindless profanity can do to us. As he has shown, it isn't pretty.

Judy Gruen is the author of The Women's Daily Irony Supplement.