Posted at 5:50 PM on August 17, 2007
by Euan Kerr
I must be getting old.
While I hugely enjoyed "Superbad," laughing out loud all the way through, I have to admit to several moments of discomfort watching the film.
Man, these kids swear. Not just a word here and there, but streams - rivers - tides of f-bombs, references to lewd behavior and the use and abuse of intimate body parts.
Now I say this as someone who grew up in Scotland where swearing is a part of even polite society, and is a staple of modern literature.
I have been wrestling with myself to understand what it is that set me off. It's not the youth of the characters. Spend any time with teenagers today, and it's clear that despite appeals to use the depth and breadth of the English language, the simplicity and punch of invective generally comes up trumps.
Kids swear, and many of them swear a lot.
No, I think the issue may be the venue.
Do you remember the first time you heard the f-bomb at a movie? I do. For me it was back in the 1970's during "All the Presidents Men" and I remember flinching.
It wasn't the swear word. It was because it was in a cinema.
It was just so unexpected. The theater was crowded, and I suppose I felt embarrassed that all the people around me had heard a word I only knew from private conversations with my peers.
The intimacy, power, and casual venom of cursing was suddenly unleashed on a wider world.
Since that night all those years ago, I have been able to shake the discomfort, or at least mostly. Every once in a while, as with "Superbad," it raises it's head. I'm embarrassed not for myself, but for the swearers and the revelation in their language use.
Yeah, I must be getting old.