I am a member of the vulgar generation. Which isn’t to say my generation is full of potty mouths, just that I grew up with them.
When I was a teenager, I remember the unbridled horror expressed by mommies and TV critics everywhere over an episode of "Friends." People were angry that an entire scene was dedicated to Monica and Rachel deciding who got the last condom.
As any mature adult would do, they used rock, paper, scissors to decide. Rachel won and got to have sex with Ross that night.
Even then I couldn’t understand why people were so upset. Neither of the couples was married but this wasn’t 1955 and both were in love. Plus, they were practicing safe sex. Wasn’t that a positive message?
The criticism seems quite quaint now, doesn’t it? I thought the scene taught young fans like me a good lesson: no condom means no sex, be responsible, safety first, and all that.
Ignorance is not bliss. And censorship is akin to lying.
For example -- when an older friend of mine was growing up, she didn’t know what a homosexual was. Remember "Carrie"? She was oblivious when she got her period for the first time and we all know what happened to her.
Keeping the real world under a shroud doesn’t do anyone any favors and it doesn’t work. The real world rears its ugly head regardless of our attempts to censor it. Even if it doesn’t, we naturally seek out the truth anyway. Ever heard of a Google search?
Life truths need to be exposed and revealed, otherwise we all risk feeling isolated and alone. Look at Thomas in "Downton Abbey." How difficult must it have been to be a homosexual in 1918, when homosexuality was something no one talked about openly? I know, I know, he’s not real but you get the picture.
When gender confusion, sexual fetish, domestic violence, nudity, cursing and other things "not appropriate for children" are hidden behind TV ratings, parental blocks and explicit stickers, they don’t disappear. In fact, they are made taboo, unnatural and unaccepted. Ignoring them ignores the suffering of others and keeps us from making things better.
And sadly, sometimes naiveté makes people ignorant and intolerant, or unprotected and vulnerable. Information and communication should be cherished because exposure helps us understand, and understanding leads to tolerance.
Perhaps I am so blasé about vulgarity because there has barely been a time in my life when I wasn’t hit over the head with it. My mother let me watch R-rated movies and the Internet has been around since I was 10.
And because of that, life’s cruelty has never found me unprepared or surprised.
I can’t live inside a censored bubble. I cherish brutal honesty and I don’t like being deceived. I want to know what people really think because then I know where I stand and I understand who they are. A censored, sanitized, polite and proper world may be well-intentioned, but it is a false comfort.
Lies are always uncovered, eventually.
JH Mae is a Banner columnist.