Thursday, December 21, 2017

Taboos. . .

Taboo means something prohibited or restricted by social custom or religion.  There were once commonly held taboos -- things that you just did not say or do (especially in public).  These things were violations not simply of modesty but of our mutual respect.  The word comes to us from the Polynesians, Tongan tapu or Fijian tabu ‘forbidden, prohibited’.  The concept is nearly universal.

Taboo is now seen as an unfair and unhealthy restriction.  There is little that is taboo today -- on TV, in the movies, in the news, and in conversation.  Perhaps social media has encouraged our modern release or relaxation of things we did not speak of or do in public but I doubt you can blame social media for our lack of discretion.

The sad truth is that we have been on a path encouraging and flaunting vulgarity and breaking taboos for a very long time.  We think it is freedom, pure and simple.  But it is an abuse of freedom and the most shameful glorification of that which our conscience knows better.  More than this, it encourages a climate in which we are ever more vulnerable to those who are driven by desire -- against women and men, but especially against children.  The more we embrace vulgarity and breaking our taboos, the more those sexual predators flourish and the despicable acts of violence that dominate the news are given sanction and approval.  We claim to be more and more liberated; in reality we are more and more fearful, having witnessed the shocking acts of violence and sexual aggression that have become the norm in the news.  Predators of all kinds flourish under the seeming approval of desire and the dropping of taboos. In the end, we leave to our children not only a culture of depravity but also a world much less safe.  Even well-intentioned and seemingly decent people are moved to do what was once considered taboo, thinking that such behavior is now normal and safe.

It is time for us to remember again the value of things which are considered taboo.  It is time for us to reclaim conversation from words that shock and demean.  It is time that we take back the airwaves from those who glorify perversion and violence.  We must do it in the name of safety and for the sake of our children if we will not do it for the cause of decency and goodness.  We must fighting back against the casual crudity that has come to dominate nearly every public and private conversation and has turned us against our own very natures, replete with their ability to exercise self-control.  Such violence of words naturally gives way to violence of deeds.  Vulgarity betrays our our understanding of ourselves and the very things that separate us from animals, dominated by instinct and defined by desire.  Even worse it create the cover for sexual and violent behavior that is an assault against others. We should not allow predators to hide behind the notion that absent taboo, anything and everything is normal and salutary.  To do anything less is to violate our own dignity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too, watch fewer movies as a result of Hollywood vulgarity:

Vulgarity has ruined the younger generations. It would take decades to reverse the trend: