The naughty secret about computers

🐝 From the Apiary: A Mike Leonard Commentary 🐝

Facebook, Instagram and various social media have been accused of harming young people’s self-esteem, safety and lives and known about the need for moderation from their own studies.

Profits over responsibility. Profits over anything and everything.

It’s a serious matter, I get it, but teasing and taunting and being cruel to other kids has always been with us. It’s just more pernicious now than ever, and awareness and intervention are reasonable tools to combat the problem. If the First Amendment draws the line at yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, we’re in that territory now.

Thanks a lot, Zuckerberg.

Not to minimize that, but while we’re on the subject of the not-so-brave new world of internet technology, platforms and trolling, an under-the-radar phenomenon I’ve noticed is the pandemic of cursing and naughty language that the computer-dependent world has given us.

Come on, moralists. We have a potty-mouth plague here.

When the Herald-Times was at its peak in my day as a reporter and columnist for the Bloomington newspaper, and it had a full complement of employees, the reaction to a systemwide computer crash always proved to be entertaining. I recall how one copy editor, a proper and taciturn older woman, would practically shout an obscenity or three when the system locked up.

Crashes were especially egregious before software engineers figured out that autosave functions could mitigate the disaster of losing everything you’ve done in the past minutes, hours or days.

I’ve had friends and advisers help me with IT issues and blurt out expletives when various computer actions don’t do what they are supposed to do. “WTF!” they’ll bark in bewilderment. Only they don’t say the popular abbreviation.

“F me!” is another.

I could go on.

And we move on.

But there are positives as well.

It’s rare to hear “Pardon my French” after an expletive outburst anymore. I’ve always hated that term anyway. “That wasn’t French,” I want to respond.

“Frigging” is an incredibly irritating term. We know what you are meaning to say, but out of some misbegotten sense of propriety, you think you can’t say it, so you use a term that everyone knows is code for the word you won’t say. So just say the damn word.

Sure, it’s just good manners to watch your language around impressionable children, who might innocently say something along the lines of “WTF, mom?”

And I do believe in respecting religious beliefs regarding certain expletives that involve a supreme deity.

It’s also bad form to say “Are you out of your (fill in the blank) mind?” in a business setting, for example. There are acceptable euphemisms, like “I don’t think you’re looking at this from the 30,000-foot level.”

Personally, I’m not offended by any of the above, unless it’s a combination expletive and threat.

Otherwise, I just don’t give a shit. 🐝