For those who wonder whether our culture's adolescent fascination with forbidden words will ever end, Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal has some interesting observations today. Per Henninger, some comedians are declaring excessive profanity and obscenity (which trend in comedy Henninger traces to Eddy Murphy's 1987 filmed standup act Raw) to be absolute in entertainment.
Henninger points out that not long ago, HBO's dramatic series were averaging well over one f-bomb per minute.* That may have pushed even the most calloused cursers over their point of tolerance.
Or maybe the question is utility. Once profanity is used that often, it loses its power to shock. Once it no longer shocks, it becomes superfluous. And no, gentle readers, that doesn't mean that everyone will find something even more shocking. No social pattern moves consistently in a straight line, not least this one.
At any rate, we welcome any trend toward less of it.
*We'd estimate that rate at roughly 1/3 that of the Scottish teenagers who stood outside the SWNID bathroom, adjacent to the local fish-and-chips emporium, when the SWNIDs lived in the Auld Country.