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Xujhan Offline
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Thoughts on Shame in out Culture - February 24th 2010, 05:32 AM

So, I was just watching Craig Ferguson's Late, Late Show.,; today he had Stephen Fry as a guest, and Stephen managed to put very succinctly into words something that has always bothered me about our culture. I'll try to recreate the dialogue as best I can.

"Imagine an alien coming to earth and observing our culture. First he might notice all the worst things about us: we're cruel, we're intolerant, we fight, we hurt each other, we kill each other. All these things about ourselves that we should be ashamed of. Then, hopefully, he might notice the best things about us, too; how we have families, raise children, love and care one another.

"Now imagine what he might think he he looked at our language, how odd he must find it. All the words for the terrible things, that we should be ashamed of, we say them almost without thought. 'Oh, that traffic was torturous.' 'I'm having a such a bad day, I could kill.' We don't think twice about saying that, but if we just say fuck you get your show thrown off the air. You can't even talk about sex without drawing all sorts of attention. Really though, if you think about it, sex is tied up in all the best things about us; it's how we have children, it's how we express love for one another, it's an integral part in our relationships. Why is it that we don't really pay any mind to all these terrible things, yet one of the best things about us is seen as almost universally shameful and disgusting? You and I were born into this culture, so we don't really notice how odd it is, but to someone looking in from he outside we must seem awfully confusing."


Thought I'd share that with everyone here; a little food for thought. Hope you're all having a great day!


Please don't mind the very embarrassing typo in the thread title. ;><

The atoms that make up you and me were born in the hearts of suns many times greater than ours, and in time our atoms will once again reside amongst the stars. Life is but an idle dalliance of the cosmos, frail, and soon forgotten. We have been set adrift in an ocean whose tides we are only beginning to comprehend and with that maturity has come the realization that we are, at least for now, alone. In that loneliness, it falls to us to shine as brightly as the stars from which we came.
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CanadaCraig Offline
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Re: Thoughts on Shame in out Culture - February 24th 2010, 09:27 AM

Hi Fletcher!!

I hope you're having a scooby-dooby day!! lol

As one who is very aware of the power of words - I thought the point that Stephen Fry was trying to make was very interesting. And I couldn't agree more.

As for why many of us make use of words that are - by definition - quite awful [When you think of what they actually mean] I think it has a lot to do with our pent up frustrations. They are used - in a sense - as pressure release valves - so to speak. All of those awful thoughts and feelings that are just beneath our well-scrubbed exteriors - leak out every now and then as a way to keep us from losing control and going 'nuts'. [And to be seen for who we REALLY are - or at least who we FEAR we really are] And speaking of fear.... 'Hell' - is a good example of one of those awful words. Now whether or not someone believes in A 'hell' - is not the point. It is a word that conjures up all sorts of awful images. It also causes us to consider the possibility of being accountable for who we are and for what we say and do. When it comes to the word 'fuck' - I consider that to be an awful word as well. I don't think a person 'fucks' someone they love. 'Fuck' implies 'the using of' someone. [But maybe that's just me] Why other sexual words are considered shameful - I think - has more to do with what has been passed down from one generation to the next. Nudity - for instance - is often considered naughty. And we're taught that. We are taught to feel ashamed of our bodies. This is one of the reasons I think it must be very liberating to go to a nudist camp. How wonderful it must be to be naked in front of dozens of other people and be accepted just as you are - regardless of your shape or size or anything else. OK - I'm really rambling now - but you sure got me thinking!! I basically gorged on that 'food for thought'!! LOL

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