A recent article by New York Times music critic Jon Pareles, "From Cee Lo Green to Pink, Speaking the Unspeakable," had me shocked at how out of touch he must be. It was all about the F-word and his apparent dismay over how prevalent it is in recent music. I know the Times insists on staying firmly entrenched in its mid-19th century stylistic roots by calling people "Mr." And "Ms." in its articles — most of the time — Cee Lo was addressed as "Mr. Green" in the story, but Pink was just "Pink." Hmmm.
Anyway, the fact that in 2011 a music critic is put off by a bunch of hit songs with "fuck" in the title just tells me he needs to get out of his office and take a walk around the block. Not a walk on the wild side, Mr. Pareles, but just a stroll through the world we live in. I guarantee he would hear quite a few "fucks," a couple of "shits," and a few other choice words from George Carlin's top seven just on the way to the local deli.
Folks may lament how our spoken language has declined. I have been known to do so myself at times. I wasn't thrilled the other day when a couple of young dudes were cursing loudly in the vicinity of my kid. But she's heard the words before, even from me (I was driving, the jerk cut me off.) I could try and blame my occasionally colorful speech on my dad, who used to curse when he got angry, or an ex-boyfriend, who taught me some colorful phrases, or my years living in metropolitan areas, where spicing up the speech can help a girl cope with fear and danger in a tough town. Obscenity-peppered speech could be a result of all of those things. Or it could just be another evolution of the English language, which never stops growing and changing.