Monday, March 14, 2011

I mean, I'm all for freedom of expression, but Scheiße!

Everyone remembers when they learned words like "Scheiße" and "merde" and started working these words into their vocabulary, feeling like a stealthy cultural renegade, right? Just me? Good talk.

Anyway, my point is a lot of people think that because it's a cuss word in someone else's language, it doesn't count as a bad word in mine! So if I want to say "shit" in German, no one will know what I'm saying and it's no harm no foul!

(Unless of course someone nearby sprechen sie deutsch.)

This flawed logic seems to be in effect among the students in Saudi Arabia. The only problem is, they're cussing in English...and just about every single student (and all the administrators...and a lot of the teachers) in the building speaks English. There's nothing stealth about this vulgarity, and the girls don't seem to care.

For example, I was sitting in the English cluster during recess the other day and the upper high school girls were participating in a little public speaking contest. This is a VERY big deal for the girls, and they were very nervous. As one girl was reaching for the door knob she let out--crystal clearly and at a conversational tone--"Oh shit."

I mean...YOU'RE IN THE ENGLISH CLUSTER!! Directly in front of teachers! If she had said it under her breath, I could have let it slide, but seriously?!

Someone doesn't get the grade she was expecting on a test. "Oh, dammit!"

A girl is surprised by a tidbit of gossip at lunch. "What the hell!?"

I haven't heard anybody blatantly drop the f-bomb, but I'm sure the day is coming. And I'm sure it'll get dropped just as unapologetically as the rest of the expletives that are already carelessly flung through the air.

I'm positive the girls don't think they are breaking any social rules with this behavior. In fact I had the luxury of getting to over hear a conversation today between a few 11th and 12th graders debating the vulgarity of words like "hell," and "damn" and "shit."

"I mean, they're just words."

Classic argument. Foolproof.

Let's just hope the girls can remember to turn the filters on before any college interviews or important events.

Vicariously yours,

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