I see from the news that Billie Joe Armstrong, the front man for punk band Green Day dropped what they now call an F-bomb at least six times during the band’s performance at the National Hockey League’s All-Star Game Saturday night in St. Louis. What a man. What an artist.
There are a couple things going on worth noting. First, the “art” community is always looking to break new ground – to push the barriers for art’s sake. But what are they doing, really?
If we look backward, the pop culture started pushing barriers at least by the 1950s. Vulgarity, profanity and obscenity started finding their way into the media through circuitous routes, and art commenters figured out they could cleverly say “the F-bomb” without having to actually spell it out and be answerable to their supervisors.
The interesting thing about “the F-bomb,” or “the N word” is that both constructions require that you actually know the words alluded to and that you associate each word with its construction. This means that the person writing “F-bomb” is using the word in its meaning, or “the N word” in its meaning just as certainly as if they spelled it out. Otherwise, their code words would just be gibberish and nobody would read them, understand them or hire them.
But Billlie Joe did not say “the F-bomb.” He said the word we all know, and he said it multiple times in a forum that has heretofore been sort of resistant to obscenity.
The art commenters will insist they support Billie Joe for the sake of art and the sake of free speech, but they don’t. They are more analogous to a class of fifth-graders blowing snot out their noses when the teacher sits in blackboard chalk, carefully patted from erasers onto her chair when she’s not in the room. Or in more modern terms, when they conspire to sign her up on dating websites or searches for medical devices. Kids will be kids.
The fact is, the founding fathers NEVER contemplated that their revered amendment protecting free expression would be stolen and forced into service for obscenity, vulgarity and profanity. They actually believed in disciplined thought, disciplined learning and disciplined action, and in every man’s and woman’s right to engage society on the basis of ideas.
The question that needs asked is where does this all lead? Now that we have introduced the “right” to say “motherF-bomber” at an NHL game, is that enough? I think it’s clear it is not. Not any more than it was enough when Carroll O’Connor (aka Archie Bunker) in 1971 said G**damn it on TV’s All in the Family. In fact, once he did it, he did it some more.
The second part of the issue is in the media. They chatter and cluck while blushing with admiration at the bravery of their champions – those that can still blush.
This issue of the media is interesting. The media got all up in arms when Trump called them out as “fake news,” but it was all high dudgeon, and no refutation of the claim. Is it true, or is it not?
We don’t have all day to chat, but give some thought to where you think the entire Political Correctness movement comes from. It’s the media. It is some sub-editor at some politicool paper or magazine that gets some kind of stoner giggle from some nameless Twitter twit and, it always being a slow news day for the lazy, it goes into print. Once there, if audacious enough, it get re-published as it gets re-tweeted until it achieves the revered status of “meme,” at which time it is picked up by bored academics with a need to be haughty, and it’s a course of study.
Anyway, we have legitimized profanity, vulgarity and obscenity in our entertainment, our academics and our media, and I think it’s fair to ask them outright where it ends. What is enough?
All this seems such a shame, as all indicators are pointing to a positive life for most Americans. The China situation seems to be improving for secondary wood products, and it appears it will continue to improve for some time. The old way of business-as-usual with China was not good, it has changed and I don’t see future administrations going back.
I like to watch building permits. Every building has a floor, a table, a stair, furniture, cabinets, et cetera. We issued 1,370,300 building permits in 2019 – 41,500 more than the year before. That’s a nice gain, and one we can be thankful for. In 2009 we issued only 583,000 – slightly more than one third what we issued last year. And still we see dour media economists forecasting doom and destruction, housing bubbles and market crashes. I guess that’s OK, since with the Dow over 28,500 at presstime, it’s sort of easy to predict a day or two when it won’t rise, but still …. Things have been worse.
So that was January 2020. February is up next. Let’s see what we can make of it.