On Vulgarity

“But I don’t see why they have to use language like that,” Mrs. Bowman was saying.

“For some reason,” Mr. Magundi replied, “Hollywood equates vulgarity with honesty. In fact vulgar language is usually calculated and insincere, especially in young people. Habits of vulgarity can ossify, and a middle-aged vulgarian is probably quite unconscious of his vulgarity. But young people teach themselves to use vulgar language because they are ashamed of not using it; and they are ashamed especially because Hollywood has told them that vulgarity is the mark of sincerity. But in evaluating the messages we receive from Hollywood, it is helpful to remember that the movies are not in the business of sincerity, and that Hollywood itself is a community of arrested adolescents.”

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