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Curious Observation

Clayton Cramer blogs about Penn and Teller’s “Bullshit”, but makes a rather curious observation:

This particular program is laced with vulgar language, but I suppose if you are trying to appeal to a vulgar audience–and one that is naturally prone to gun control, because they think Jon Stewart’s Daily Show qualifies as a news program, then this is probably quite effective.

Gun nuts, in my experience, tend to be more vulgar on average than your average college educated suburban liberal.  I think the demographic that Penn & Teller appeal to is young libertarians, who do, as a whole, tend to be pretty vulgar, but wouldn’t be inclined to support gun control.   I don’t know if I qualify as a young libertarian anymore, but while I can keep in clean when social decorum demands it, it’s certainly not a natural state.

9 Responses to “Curious Observation”

  1. straightarrow says:

    “Gun nuts, in my experience, tend to be more vulgar on average than your average college educated suburban liberal.” -S

    Would you care to offer some illumination to this observation? I can’t say my experience has been the same, or even close, generally speaking.

  2. Ahab says:

    I’m quite vulgar (which I attribute to the Coast Guard), but it’s more because I understand the communicative power of a well placed profanity. While I would generally prefer to precisely craft my sentences so that they are well understood, often there are no words in the language as useful as a simple “fuck”.

  3. Sebastian says:

    Might have to do with differences in shooting cultures between where I live and you do Straightarrow. Shooters here tend to be more working class and more willing to use profanity than your average soccer mom or dad. Shooters aren’t uncommon in technology circles, which is the field I work in, but in other professional circles, shooters tend to be the Perazzi shotgunning crowd.

    It’s probably different in other parts of the country. Probably in other parts of Pennsylvania too.

  4. BobG says:

    We use more bad language because we have to put up with leftists and gun grabbers. It’s enough to make anybody drink and cuss…

  5. Brad says:

    As an avid fan of P&T BS, they said in their very first episode that the reason why they’re resorting to terms like “fucker” and “asshole” is because it’s hyperbolic and a clear statement of opinion, not fact. If they called their subjects “liar” and “con-artist” then they could get sued for libel.

  6. Brad says:

    I must correct myself. They could get sued for slander. Libel is a false and defamatory written statement. Slander is spoken.

  7. There’s definitely something of a generational difference. I grew up in an error when the sort of language that Penn & Teller use was still a little shocking in R-rated movies–and was normally only used by junior high boys to show how grown up they were. Most adults used such language only under severe provocation.

  8. Jym says:

    That generational difference is ever ongoing, though. For example, there was a point in our culture where goddamn was about the worst thing you could say, and most profanity revolved around religious statements. As that became less horrible in mainstream culture, profanity became more scatological in nature.

    It’s likely as several more generations pass that the language in Bullshit will be viewed as more and more tame, and different words will become the new risque thing to say that Penn & Teller find shocking. That’s just how language has always evolved.

    I think that right now the current generation that views the scatological language you find shocking is itself shocked and offended by terms like “fag” and “nigger,” and there’s already a handful of shows/mediums (South Park, for example) pushing those buttons, as well as defusing them into less offensive terms (“nigger” is to “nigga” or even “nukka” as “fucking” is to “freaking”) so that in another few decades kids won’t bat an eyelash at them and there will be something else they themselves find shocking. I’m pretty curious what the next big shocking profanity category will follow after heretical, then scatological, then racist/homophobic.

  9. straightarrow says:

    “Might have to do with differences in shooting cultures between where I live and you do Straightarrow. Shooters here tend to be more working class and more willing to use profanity than your average soccer mom or dad”

    No, I don’t think that’s it. I live in Arkansas 300 yards from Texas and four miles from Louisiana. We don’t have many soccer moms out here amongst the tall pines.

    I am very vulgar and profane at times. However, my experience with shooters has been that most are much more polite in speech and manner than I. I have developed an impatience with non thinkers and tend to be my most offensive after having been offended by an idiotic opinion from someone who doesnt’ understand the first damn thing about what they said.

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