On Language – Volume I

This post may contain language unsuitable for anyone who has not attended a public middle school.sljax

A friend recently sent me a link to a video clip. It was a mash-up of every occurrence of the great actor and orator Samuel L. Jackson using the word “motherfucker” in his films. In many of these films, Mr. Jackson is portraying characters that could easily be described as “bad-ass”, but he also portrays businessmen, scientists, and even law enforcement officials. Equally menacing with a shaved head or in jheri-curls, Mr. Jackson seemingly can pull off using “motherfucker” in any persona and in any form of speech.

I shared this video compilation with my son, (relax, he’s 22 years old) and we both thought it to be hysterical. So much so, that when later viewing a television commercial for a well-known credit card featuring Samuel L. Jackson, we immediately both began inserting “motherfucker” into every possible pause or break in his pitch. For example, “This motherfucker has the lowest motherfucking interest rate in the motherfucking industry” or “Motherfucker, what’s in your motherfucking wallet?”

This conversation continued to deteriorate as we speculated on how some classic films might have been different had they cast Mr. Jackson rather than another actor.

“You’re gonna need a bigger motherfucking boat.”

“Frankly, motherfucker, I don’t give a motherfuck.”

“I’m gonna make that motherfucker an offer he can’t refuse.”

“May the force be with you, motherfucker.”

“Go ahead, motherfucker, make my day.”

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry…motherfucker.”

“M.F. phone home.”

“Here’s looking at you, motherfucker.”

“Motherfucker, you had me at ‘Hello’.”

“It wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the motherfucker.”

“No motherfucker puts Baby in a corner.”

“Today-day-day, I consider myself-self-self, the luckiest motherfucker-fucker-fucker, on the face of the earth-earth-earth.”

“I’ll get you, my pretty, and your motherfucking dog, too.”

Like many people, my son included, the general coarseness level of my language adapts to the situation. We tend to speak differently at church or at dinner with Grandma, then we do on the basketball court or drinking with friends. I recently stopped at a restaurant to have dinner with my wife. A few tables over, there were two young men dining together. Their conversation could not be considered overly loud, but it was quite noticeable that one of them was making frequent use of the “F” word. They weren’t being foul or even bawdy. They were actually talking about cars. There was no use of profanity to color, show surprise, or emphasize. It actually seemed quite pointless.

“The dodge had fucking mud flaps.”

What did make a point was the discomfort with these fellows using this language in a public place, possibly within earshot of children and elderly patrons. It made me wonder how they were brought up and subsequently, how I brought up my own children. My wife made a distinction with them of using their “church voices” to dictate volume control, but I had no specific recollection of instructing them regarding profanity.

I know that I used profanity around them in increasing doses as they got older, and they were allowed to experience an increased level as their movie choices went from G to PG to PG-13 and beyond. Could the movie industry be a better parent than I? Should they be introducing this issue on Sesame Street?

Ernie: Bert, have you seen my rubber duckie?

Bert: No, Ernie, I haven’t seen your God-damned duck.

Ernie: You shouldn’t speak that way, ol’ buddy Bert. I brought my new friend, actor Samuel L. Jackson here to explain it to you.

Samuel L. Jackson: Ernie’s right, motherfucker. There are kids watching this shit. Why they’re watching you two unemployed motherfuckers is beyond me. And Ernie, what the fuck is up with that motherfucking rubber fucking duck? Your ass is forty-five motherfucking years old.

My wife rarely uses profanity, so of course when she does, it is particularly hilarious. I’m pretty sure her infrequent outbursts are designed to make her children laugh. Mr. Jackson does have a daughter. I wonder how he handled this issue. He did narrate a mock children’s book called “Go the Fuck to Sleep”. As they have gotten older, I have heard my kids increase in their use of profanity, although never inappropriately in my reckoning. They seem to save it for complaining about work, getting cut off on the highway, and Nick Saban doing pretty much anything (My son is a Florida Gator).

My son and I continued our wordplay injecting Samuel L. Jackson into history.

“Vini, Vidi, Vici, motherfucker!”

“Ich bin ein motherfucking Berliner.”

“Damn the motherfucking torpedos, full speed ahead, motherfucker!”

“E = MC motherfucking squared.”

“Give me liberty, or motherfucker, give me death.”

“Ask not, what your motherfucking country can do for you motherfuckers, and what you motherfuckers can do for your motherfucking country.”

“That’s one small step for man, one giant motherfucking leap for mankind.”

“I am not a motherfucking crook.”

“We the Motherfucking People”

For me, Samuel L. Jackson has helped to blur the line between profanity and civility. You need only to Google “Samuel Jackson Motherfucker” to find the aforementioned video of 171 “motherfuckers” from 27 films in less than four minutes. If you wish to comment or even add some of your favorite modified quotes, you can do so on this blog feed or email me at oconman1@gmail.com.

© Copyright 2014 – Robert O’Connell. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert O’Connell with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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