03 October 2008
I've Been Talking to God, and Man Is He Ticked!
Have you noticed how much God is in our conversations these days? Well, maybe not yours. But definitely in the public discussion. And look at him in that picture. He looks anything but happy about it.
I don't mean discussion as in societally, we're actually talking about religion, spirituality, the Greater Good or the spirit of the rocks that some folks pray to. (I live in California.)
I'm talking about the use of the word God.
A few years back, the words "Oh my God" weren't used in general conversation. They certainly weren't acceptable in use by the media or on television shows for impact. They weren't usable anymore than any of the "Seven Words that You Can Never Say On TV" inaugurated by the late George Carlin. (I checked. None of his "7" are 3-letter words.)
I remember not so long ago when Deborah Norville, Jane Pauley's ill-fated replacement, was practically drummed off the air. One of the gripes that viewers had was that they didn't like her tendency to exclaim "Oh My Gawd!" whenever she was surprised by something. Viewers felt it was disrespectful, irreverent and flat-out wrong for her to do that on air.
But these days, thanks to a bunch of little girls that were never famous for anything other than being famous, we hear it everywhere. We hear it on little girl tv. (Think about it: you know which shows on what network I'm talking about.) We hear it on the occasional newscast. And at the moment, it seems to be on a constant loop at CBS where the season premiere includes the death of one of the major characters (That's what happens when the actor playing the character is caught in a drug bust that is believed to be beyond simply "going to rehab.") and the final 2 seconds are another character sounding an agonized "Oh my God!!!"
I work with men all day long. Many of them are brilliant. Some of them are profane. I recall working with one particularly talented man who also swore a lot. I never minded until one day, he fixated on the same word all day long. It was in every sentence. It's a verb, so sometimes he conjugated it differently, but still I grew tired of it.
At 2pm one fine afternoon as we worked in a small room editing the visuals of the story, he got frustrated one more time and shouted that same profane word at the machine. I looked at him and said "Joe, (not his real name) you know I don't care about your swearing, but pick a different word. I don't care what you say but PICK A DIFFERENT WORD. You have worn that one out. I need variety in my swearing! Break it up for me!"
I'm reaching burnout on "Oh my God." And the "God" word in general. I can't be the only person out there who is offended by all the "Oh my God" references going on. I'm a little surprised that TV networks haven't suggested that executive producers red-line that reference because it is potentially offensive. And when I get offended, I tune out.
And as for me, I'd like a return to that gentler age when God was someone whose might we respected, whose Second Commandment we respected, and whose other children we respected by not shouting potentially offensive things about God to them.
Because You Know Who might just get ticked off by the whole thing.