The news on Thursday about the continued outlandish langauge being used by a segment of the UW-Madison student section during Saturday football games makes me ponder again why people act as they do.
Concerned people have a right to make known to the UW sports department their problems about the vulgar language that can be heard coming from the student sections. But those same people need to be aware that the antics of these students did not just start during freshman year of college. There is a long road of all sorts of abusive speech that is too often tolerated in our society many years before these students ever arrive in Madison.
During a gathering in late 2001 I was quite taken aback by a small child while waiting for dinner to start. This rather loud and demanding five-year-old child started singing a parody to the famed Beach Boys song “Barbara Ann”.
The war in Afghanistan was underway following the terror attacks on New York and Washington earlier that year. Though there were plenty of reasons to justify a military response to the attacks of 9/11 the words sung by the rather irksome child were chilling. With cold detachment he repeated over and over “Bomb, bomb, bomb,–bomb Kandahar.” all in perfect timing to the song that was famous well over 40 years prior to his eyelids being formed.
Cleary this parody was not something heard on the evening news, but something that had been picked up from his older siblings, and allowed to continue by his parents who did not know how to perform their most important job.
It may seem odd to start out my post concerning the verbally bawdy UW-Madison students who embarrass the university with a story about a heartless kid. But it is at this age where awful langauge behavior starts.
Long before today’s college students chant obscenities and profane slogans during UW-Madison football games they were teenagers like those I encounter all too often on State Street or in the mall.
Loud cursing and some of the most rancid talk out in public can be found from those not old enough to drive or in some cases to even shave. Both sexes, and all races can lay claim to some rather offensive speech. If it is not ‘that is so gay’ then it is ‘*******’. The trouble is that too few adults step in and say “shut it down” and instead accept this behavior as part of the way it now has to be. Too few adults take on the role of ‘society’s parent’ to bring about change.
As I approach age fifty there is no doubt that the level of vulgar speech and the ease with which it is dispensed has only increased over the decades. No one can lay claim to having lived in perfect times where cursing was never heard, but on the same hand no one can honestly state that our discourse has not become harsher and more profane over the years.
So when I read (again) that there are ample displays of public profanity coming from the college crowd during Saturday football games I can only ask the concerned public, “What did you expect?’
Those writing letters or making phone calls to the UW sports department about the rather pathetic behavior might want to journey back in time and recall how they raised their own kids. Or how they handled matters when neighborhood kids came to visit at their home. Or how the young sports teams talked after leaving the soccer field and what was done to correct it.
I am not suggesting that everyone get raised by Southern Baptist rules of behavior. But it sure would be nice if more of our college students learned a longer list of descriptive words they might use on football Saturdays so as not to embarrass an entire university.
It might take a few adults to step up and show them a dictionary.