coarseAnyone who has read this Online Journal or its predecessor knows that I am not a Delicate Flower by any means. I do not shy away from coarse humor. I am, after all, the guy who writes poetry about heinous topics such as painful rectal itch, the manifold virtues of a tapered stool, a warhead in the taint. As the creator of Tae D Bo and the propagator of the infamous Punchbowl Meme, I cannot pretend to be above matters vile.
catches the crowd
archy (Don Marquis)
But the people who write for primetime television are running laps around me in the Crudeness Sweepstakes.
She Who Must Be Obeyed and I were watching the teevee with one eye apiece yesterday evening as we busied ourselves with other tasks. The show was 2 Broke Girls, another brainchild of the selfsame Whitney Cummings who currently stars in the eponymous Whitney. And even though we weren’t paying much attention at first, it didn’t take long before the two of us were staring at each other, slack-jawed, with “WTF?” expressions on our mugs.
Before the opening credits even rolled, there were jokes referencing three-ways and dildoes... and then you had these money quotes, flying fast and furious:
“I’d like to ride the blonde waitress like a Tilt-a-Whirl.”
“Maybe I will send you a Twitpic of my meatloaf.”
“I don’t even want to tell you about the history in my lap.”
“Every woman knows size doesn’t matter.”
“Look, Geoffrey, I know we just met, but there’s no way you’re a top!”
And a rapid-fire series of excrement jokes in a department store Ladies’ Room:
“We have a pooper in Stall Two!”
“Who shops and flops?”
“I just have to pee!”
“You’re here to pick up – she’s here to drop off.”
None of this material is especially horrifying to me – I’m one of the blogosphere’s premier crapbloggers, after all – but what astonished both of us was the fact that it was all on prime-time network teevee. I will confess that we were both taken aback a wee bit (“Huh huh huhhuh... he said ‘wee.’’ “Shut up, Beavis!”) by the sheer amount of sexual and excretory humor. How is it that the same country that got itself all in a lather over Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl XXXVIII wardrobe malfunction simply yawns at dildo and buttfucking jokes on prime-time television less than eight years later?
To be honest, I’m not really surprised. In today’s culture, disparaging something by saying that it sucks – or blows – is part of everyday discourse. You hear it in advertising. I wonder whether people who use these expressions give the slightest thought to their origin: fellatio.
A few days ago in Dahlonega, we saw a bookstore with the engaging name “Dorks.” Sure, it’s a reference to the kind of nerdly academic overachievers who might actually shop at a bookstore, but that’s only a secondary derivation from the original meaning – dick.
I don’t propose that the networks be more heavily regulated. That’s what the marketplace is for. I’m old enough to remember when Rob and Laura Petrie slept in twin beds on The Dick Van Dyke Show (and every other teevee show Back Then), because Gawd forbid someone might get... ideas. My thinking on broadcast media is, if it offends you, just don’t watch it. I might enjoy something that bugs the crap out of you, and I don’t want the bluenoses among us to dictate what’s available. Besides, what’s worse - a sitcom spiked with sexual innuendo and doodie jokes, or Jersey Shore?
Still, television programming and advertising tell us a little (maybe more than a little) about the general direction toward which our society is headed. And it ain’t good.
This must be what it’s like to become an Old Guy. You watch the continual devolution of Popular Culture, and you bewail the miserable state the world has come to. Socrates did it, so why can’t I?
“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”