This morning James and I listened to Frank Sinatra on the stereo as we concluded some restoration and painting inside our home from yesterday’s nine-hour visit from an electrician, who added recess lighting and a fan in our kitchen. James refashioned the walls and a portion of the ceiling, paint was added following the mesh creation as Frank’s big orchestra sound filled the house. Sunshine outside was waiting for us, the coffee pot was peculating. All seemed right with the world.
Once showered and outside, as James brought me another cup of coffee, he announced what simply I could not conceive happening. In a vulgarity-laced telephone call with a New Yorker writer newly hired communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, railed against Chief-Of-Staff Reince Priebus and presidential adviser Stephen Bannon. After James told me what had been said in the recorded interview I simply sat stunned.
There was no way this could be possible. There was no way that anyone willingly and purposefully acted this way as a top White House employee. Even in the times we now are forced to live with Donald Trump in the Oval Office–even now–this could not be real.
At age 55 I am still grounded in a certain professional set of standards when it comes to the way reporters, politicians, or media personalities communicate. I was raised on radio and newspapers until I turned a teenager. We had no television in those years. In my early adult years I was a radio broadcaster and news reporter. Later I worked with a state assemblyman for a decade where part of my duties were to write press releases and work with the media. In every aspect of my work life there was a standard to live by.
All my life I have never forgot the professional standards of those like, Paul Harvey, one of my radio heroes based on his ability to enunciate words, who wore a tie for his radio broadcasts. He knew the way he looked and acted in a radio studio would come across over the airwaves. And it did.
I have written many times about the lowering of standards on the radio airwaves, and with news publications like Newsweek, and just last week, The Economist. In both of the latter cases the use of the ‘F’ word has truly angered me. I find it unacceptable to use in a professional setting. It is vulgar, low-brow, and shows a great deal about what a person lacks in his/her bringing up.
I am fine if some who read this think I am just not ‘contemporary’ enough to understand that this foul word is now in vogue. To them I say, no. Simply NO!
No one will ever find me bending to the lowest common denominator. I did not do it with those who wanted me to smoke pot when I was young, and I surely will not sell out to those who wish to downgrade our language. I have too many memories of the countless hours of broadcasters and public servants who knew how to use their skills and talents for lifting up people and not embarrassing themselves and their listeners.
Tonight I would hope we might rise above politics on this one. We can–and should strongly debate health care, taxes, and climate change. But when it comes to the type of vulgarity that came from the White House–the most important office in the world–we all need to be as one and denounce it.
We would not act that way at the family dinner table, the work place, church, or even the grocery store line. We might want to think as Paul Harvey did. If we show self-respect it will reflect to others. It seems like an easy lesson, but clearly not all have learned it.
One thought on “Vulgarity-Laced Language, Paul Harvey, And Our Sensibilities”
Thanks for making a most clear cut response to what was thy most outrageous comments to ever come from any White House official. For the record, I grew up on Paul Harvey, too!