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DIRTY WORDS

June 15th, 2014 3 Comments

MPAA Rated NC17

May Contain Offensive Language

 

Coming soon to a theatre near you!

 

Earth-shattering, tooth-loosening explosions!

 

Billowing, skin-scorching plumes of flame!

 

And thunderous, ear-piecing F-bombs detonating in a firestorm of obscenity.

 

In other words, the perfect summer film, thoughtfully designed and engineered for adolescents reared on a steady diet of video games and hip-hop music.

 

It’s hard to write about movies today without writing about the obscene language that peppers film dialogue.

 

I got my first glimpse of the shape of things to come during one of my creative walks through a quiet residential district of Studio City.  It was my practice to stroll along the peaceful, tree-lined streets, tape recorder in hand, hoping to capture any of the ideas that might well up from my unconscious as I shut my mind down and shut myself off from the noisy world.

 

It’s the next best thing to a creative nap—a wonderfully productive ritual that has been the subject of my wife’s endless mockery and will, I’m sure, be the subject of some future blog.

 

So there I was, lost in the world of my current screenplay, when suddenly, without warning, I was hit by an explosive burst of sound.

 

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!

 

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!

 

The sniper was an apartment dweller with an open window and what was known in those days as a “ghetto blaster.”

 

This near-lethal barrage was, I later discovered, a song.  The artists were, of course, a rap group.

 

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!

 

I’m working from memory, so I can’t be certain that I’ve got the lyric and its subtleties absolutely right.

 

I must admit I was impressed.  I’d never heard anything like it.

 

I am, at heart, an old-fashioned guy.  I have this sentimental and, I’m sure, unjustified fondness for old standards and their overwritten, sloppily emotional, self-consciously poetic lyrics.

 

You know.

 

Things like “I’ve Got the World on a String,” “Someone To Watch Over Me,” “Stormy Weather,” and other guilty pleasures from hacks like George and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, and so many, many others.

 

But I have to admit that their work can’t compare to that new wave of music that nearly knocked me off my feet on that quiet afternoon in Studio City.

 

Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly.

Birds fly over the rainbow, why then, oh why can’t I?

 

Pretty sloppy stuff alongside the hard-hitting, hard-edged power of…

 

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!

 

It was not long after this that studios and screenwriters discovered a new kind of dialogue, dialogue that bore a close resemblance to the language that these rap innovators had pioneered.  Audiences were quick to accept it, and today, they hardly even hear the obscenities that energize and enliven film dialogue.

 

But “fuck” is by no means the worst obscenity in the lexicon of Hollywood.  There are other words used there, words too offensive to speak in polite company, but they are words that need to be spoken, so I’m going to take a chance.  I may find myself in exile like the ill-fated Paula Deen, but I’m going to throw caution to the wind.

 

All right.

 

Here goes.

 

“Corporation.”

 

There.  I’ve said it, and I’m glad.

 

Here’s another.

 

“Development.”

 

I know.

 

I know.

 

I’ve probably lost half my readership with my use of these offensive words, but someone had to say them, and that someone turned out to be me.

 

I should warn those of you who are still with me that a lot of strong language will follow, and if you haven’t got the stomach for it, you should sign off now.

 

In fact, I think I’ll sign off and save my examination of these odious words for my next blog.  This should give you plenty of time to consider whether you are, in fact, ready to confront these loathsome and vile nouns.

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3 thoughts on “DIRTY WORDS

  1. Mary D.

    I have to agree wholeheartedly. I started to watch one movie on Netflix and the first words that all the actors said was “Fuck”, and they said it so much my ears started to bleed. At that point I turned the movie off. The same thing goes for excessive violence. I just will not watch them. I will admit to a fondness for Iron Man, but is because Robert Downey Jr. is in those movies. Also, in a lot of movies the evil person or persons are part of an evil corporation. According to some actors in Hollywood rich greedy bastards that run corporations are the worst kind of evil people. However, there is one problem. They are rich themselves and a lot of them are part of the !% that they love to disparage.

    One of the movies that my husband I saw was called “Saving Mr. Banks.” This the story of how Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) got author P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson) to give him permission to make “Mary Poppins” Yes, it there was a lot of sloppy sentimentalism in that movie and we loved it.

    Reply
  2. Kathy

    Funny you should mention that,

    I recently went out on two dates with a man. He didn’t get to a third.
    On our second date he asked me if I would do something for him. Warily I told him I would, within reason, we were sitting in a restaurant afterall.
    “Swear” he said.
    “Swear?” said I.
    He explained that he found it curious that in our two dates and numerous phone conversations, he had not heard me swear once.
    In good humour I replied, “That’s because I don’t fucking swear!” I am a primary school teacher afterall.

    He was much relieved that he no longer felt any need to, “watch his language” and proceeded to drop the “f bomb” at least twice in every sentence.

    But the restaurant was the real reason he didn’t get to a third date. I paid for the first meal and had hoped for something more than a Big Mac for the second.

    Kathy
    Sydney, Australia
    P. S. I found you site via Jamerson Parker’s blog

    Reply
    1. Dan Bronson Post author

      Dear Kathy–

      Just returned from a Sierra backpacking trip. Delighted to find your very funny comment waiting for me. Have you considered stand-up?

      Dan

      Reply

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