Social Question

clioi's avatar

Why is swearing in popular culture becoming more acceptable?

Asked by clioi (532points) April 18th, 2010

I was watching Hot Tub Time Machine with my friends recently and they enjoyed it. But I was distracted from the comedy of the movie by the swearing; there was a swear word literally almost every single line of the movie. I find it distracting and annoying, and at the risk of sounding like my 87 year old grandmother, I’m starting to find it offensive. It dawned upon me that a lot of movies recently, especially comedies, are throwing in more and more curse words. There seems to be a trend, particularly among newer, younger filmmakers to just cram as many curse words as they can into their movies. Why do they think that a lot of swearing instantly makes a movie good or funny? Also note that I’m not against swearing – I do it, too, I just think you should have some kind of self control.

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24 Answers

fullOFuselessINFO's avatar

i f*cking agree with you. what kind of f*cking society do we live in when we have to put a f*cking swear word in every f*cking sentence that we say?
haha. i do agree though. i saw KickAss tonight and i felt the same way sometimes. i dont really know what to tell you other than we are integrating it more into our daily speech, and therefore people think that they have to turn the amount of swearing up in movies to make it more noticable.

bob_'s avatar

‘Cause it’s not that big of a fucking deal.

TexasDude's avatar

Have you ever seen Idiocracy? There is a scene in the movie where it shows the evolution of the restaurant Fuddruckers into Fudpuckers to Budpuckers to Buttfuckers, or something like that, as society gets dumber.

So I guess society has progressively gotten dumber and is more easily amused by lots of cuss words. But that’s not saying alot, because the Classical Greeks wrote some really, really raunchy stuff. And Geoffrey Chaucer was really dirty. I guess I’m just bullshitting you then.

eden2eve's avatar

I think that people use crude language when they don’t know how to communicate eloquently. To me it feels less intelligent. It certainly distracts from the message to me.

I’m sure this is a social phase, and am hoping and expecting that people will “grow out of this”. The sooner the better in my estimation.

ezywho's avatar

It’s an attempt to establish a dominance hierarchy in the simplest, basest form we know, albeit unsubconsciously. The reason we’ll say ”(I) f___ you” instead of ”(I) copulate with you” is that the word “copulate” only describes the act, whilst the “f-word” implies sex without consent, i.e. rape, and the fact that the victim of your verbal assault must submit in order to escape this fate. As in the case of the simulated sex acts amongst chimps.

meagan's avatar

It isn’t anything new. People have been swearing forever. You probably just haven’t been around it.

Pandora's avatar

Because many Hollywood tries not to go for the clever tongue in cheek jokes. They try to gear their jokes for people who haven’t passed the 5th grade emotionally and intellectually.

DominicX's avatar


I haven’t seen this movie (though I’ve seen a lot of movies similar to it); are the jokes based on the swear words?

Because for someone like me, I don’t really notice the swearing. It’s just part of how people talk in movies like that. Now, if it’s a movie with less swearing, then a swear word is really going to stand out and in that case, the goal might be humor or to really emphasize anger. But in movies like HTTM where they’re used so much, they don’t even stand out, so I don’t see how that could be the basis of the humor.

But this is coming from someone who really doesn’t care at all about swearing. It’s absolutely the least of my problems. It really doesn’t bother me at all in movies. But again, I’m just a different person.


You should try reading Catullus from the 1st century B.C.

faye's avatar

@Pandora GA. I wonder if I could get a grant to study the relationship between IQ and swearing. Or education and swearing. I new a man who, when in his cups, could barely get an intelligible sentence out for the f**ks or f**kings. We had to pick out non-cuss words and figure it out. I hate it in movies. Also don’t need to see anybody pee.

TexasDude's avatar

@DominicX, Catullus is exactly who I was thinking of!

bob_'s avatar

Hey, I just remembered this song. Pretty cool, wouldn’t you say? XD

WARNING: language not suited for sensitive ears.

Pandora's avatar

Btw, I meant to write , Hollywood mainly tries not many Hollywood tries. (Sorry getting tired)
@faye Grew up in the Bronx, I know what you are talking about. Some people think the f word is just the proper verb or even noun or adjective for everything. After a while it just becomes a whole sentence and you don’t know what they are talking about. An example would be.
I went to the f***ing store to pick up the f***ing things for the f***ing b*tch.
What store, what thing, what canine/woman? It can get a little ridiculous.
Good luck with the grant. :)
@dominicX , I haven’t seen the movie but I have seen the previews. I just hate it when writers think that cussing every 5 seconds is suppose to be a magic formula for comedy. It may be funny the first few times but then it just gets old really fast.
I miss watching comedians like Costello, or Carrol Burnett. They were quick on their feet and didn’t need cussing to make their jokes funny.

DominicX's avatar


I’m just saying that I don’t think the frequent swearing is supposed to be the real funny part. A sentence like “What the fuck is going on?” isn’t any funnier than “What is going on?”. I just don’t think that’s meant to be the source of the humor, but I’ll have to see the movie to tell for sure…

JeffVader's avatar

Its a simple case of desensitisation…. the more something is said, the less of an impact it has. I can only guess that this then causes stupid people to say it more often to compensate.

LostInParadise's avatar

It is because popular culture is the only culture there is. There is no trickle down effect. It is all bubble up. We are talking, walking, singing, dancing and wearing clothes like members of the hood.

Seek's avatar

I think it’s because a lot of these movies couldn’t get an “R” rating without a significant amount of swearing, and “R” rated movies tend to make more money in the theater, Pixar aside.

ucme's avatar

As Gepetto once said to Pinocchio whilst bending over naked, “fuck nose”

warwickmcghee's avatar

prob cos theres no institution (church is dead) that can effectively regulate the issue of swearing. its the incredible level of exposure of swearing to it that leads society to accepting it. and the more and more that it is accepted, the magnitude of its punch is lessened which leads to it being used more casually as a way of exclaiming one’s point. and censoring a film’s dialogue isnt really accepted that much i dont think.

alive's avatar

you are right that cussing does not replace real creative comedy, but i think it is a good thing that cussing is becoming more common on tv and in movies. its called mother fucking progress! ;)

clioi's avatar

@fullOFuselessINFO but is it that movies are following the trend of people’s speaking, or is people’s speaking following the trend of movies?

mattbrowne's avatar

I would hope not.

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