New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | March 23, 2019

Editorial: How censorship and profanity have evolved over the years

By Andre Jones | July 3, 2018 6:58 pm

As I went out with my sister and nephew to the movie theater last weekend to enjoy a viewing of “The Incredibles 2”, (warning, minor spoilers) there was a certain scene that my sister paused and said to me, “Did I just hear them say [the D word]?” I told her I didn’t think so. But sure enough, when reviewing the information from a few YouTube “Easter Egg” videos from the movie, it was mentioned that the profanity was used in a specific scene. Granted that the movie was actually rated PG and not G, this sparked an idea about in my head for this editorial.

Today, there seems to be an imbalance on acceptable censorship on profanity and what can be shown on television to the youth. Language is technically protected under the first amendment, but there are bureaus that advise of discretion about what can be said and shown on television. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, but I’m also saying there is inconsistency across the board and it varies from generation to generation.

An example is cartoon violence. There are typical shows that include that violence in today’s time, but it is shown during the latter hours of the night. As I grew up, it was common to watch Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry to see those antics of the back and forth physical altercations and slapstick comedy. However, those type of cartoons are toned back and even limited on some networks.

Another example is profanity. Let me be honest; you hear profanity everywhere, not just on television. I can’t tell you the last time I went a day without hearing a curse word (or what it deemed as a curse word). You hear them on television, in radio songs, and everyday casual conversation as if they were words used on an everyday basis.

You can’t control what a person says, and you can only limit so much. However, when it comes to children, it is up to the parents to set an example of the words they can and cannot use. There are parents who don’t mind their children using curse words (yes, I know some parents like that), while most give a warning that those words aren’t appropriate in a public setting.

For me, I try my best not to use profanity due to the people I am around on nearly a day-to-day basis. I monitor posts on the Chronicle’s Facebook page because that is a public forum and we want people from all ages to enjoy it. (Sorry, we also edit emojis that are unnecessary.). I’m a firm believer that a person can get their point across without that type of language, but I definitely respect a person’s freedom of speech.

Censorship is basically a person’s choice and is regulated by that person. There will be times where we won’t be able to control what we hear or what we see. However, it is our choice on how we react to those words or actions. That is the most important takeaway of it all. Remember, profanity in public can be considered a crime.

So, the next time you flip to your favorite television show in the room, enjoy it. But be aware of the surroundings because there may be things on it that are done or said that you won’t be able to control and may be imitated by the younger generation.