Monday, February 15, 2016

God's View On Swearing As An Actor & Actress

I have come to a conclusion, thanks to my great friends on Facebook. My conclusion is that the general Biblical perspective is that it is morally okay for some people to swear in movies in certain situations. However, this is a complex issue, so I tried to boil everything down to a detail summary, in the form of many questions and answers.

After you read my questions and answers below, you can read the rest of the blog post, where I try to explain my conclusions more thoroughly.

Questions & Answers

Can any person swear any time?


Who can swear?

People can swear, when they really need the money/opportunity that is connected to the swearing, in the acting context.

Why do some people get preferential treatment?

They are hard on their luck, and they need the money. In and of itself, a swear word is just a string of sounds with meanings associated with it: anger; disrespect. Much of the meaning, if not all, will be eliminated in the acting context. Actors often like each other, even when they act out swearing, so they are not actually swearing at each other. Right?

Are we never allowed to talk about swear words?

We can talk about them all day long.

How do we talk about them, if we cannot swear?

We can use figures of speech or just say the actual word. If we talk about the word, then it is not atually swearing. Just as acting with a swear word is not actually swearing.

Since a swear word's meaning will be eliminated in the acting context, all people should be able to swear any time. Why are all people not allowed to swear any time?

When we swear all the time, we will naturally bring the meaning out of the acting context, which reattaches the meaning. We swear, because we want the meaning of the word.

Everybody needs money; even rich people. Who, then, cannot swear?

People, who have enough income without swearing, cannot swear. In other words, most rich people and most people with established incomes do not need the swear words. People outside of the acting context cannot swear. These people have no need for the words. The Bible is clear that foul language in our interactions is a no-no.

You just told us that a swear word is just a string of sounds with meanings. Prohibiting a string of sounds is pretty strict, when we do not mean any anger or disrespect outside of the acting context. Are there absolutely no other situations, where it will be allowed?

There are certain situations! There always seems to be exceptions to the exceptions. Life would be too easy without exceptional exceptions!

Many swear words have very absolute specific meanings, which can be used in a very clinical way. When we literally talk about literal shit in a serious tone, then it makes sense to avoid figures of speech to avoid confusion. More people know what shit and crap is, than people who know what a stool sample is. [ If you need to say, shit and crap, then you might as well enjoy it. After all, I would not want to poo poo all over your fun! :^( ;^P ] If the situation is casual, and/or if the situation is not a serious kind of discussion then a figure of speech is more appropriate. Not everybody at a formal dinner needs to know that you need to shit and crap.

Tip: if you need to shit in a non medical situation, then you could talk about being excused or using the washroom, or maybe mention needing the toilet. The more vague, the better is your choice, because you will leave things to the imagination, and that will allow some people to not think about it. Shitting is 100% natural, and it must have occurred before the fall of man, but that does not mean that people need to know any of the graphic details. If people do not need to know, then do not let them know. I realize that some of you like to brag about what you just did, but still. ;^)

Also, when discussing it in a theological context, it is okay to mention these things. Fool and piss were clearly and often written in the Bible.

;^) Eugene, just so that we do not offend your delicate sensibilities, would you please give us a definitive list of bad words that can be used sometimes?

It is hard to come up with a definitive list, but it should be easy to come up with a starter list. As language changes, items can be removed and added. We should bear in mind that these words are more crude than they are bad.

  • bitch [this is okay, when speaking literally about dogs or other animals, though]
  • fool
  • piss
  • shit
  • fuck
This seems complex. Is there an easier way to remember all of this?

Yes. Just remember that there are 2 situations [as of the time of writing this] when it is permissible.

  • when you are desperate for income in the acting context
  • when you are talking about it in serious literal way

That is just a summary, and not the definitive list or fundamental principal.

Some believe that the acting script is sacred. Are you really insisting that we actually try to rewrite it?

In most cases, yes, rewrite the script.

Unfortunately, writers do not treat the scripts as sacred as they ought to. For example, writers, who take childhood cartoons, and then transfer the stories to an adult movie, are disrespecting the script that they drew their inspiration from. You can see this in Transformers and G.I. Joe, and even non-cartoon stories, like The Phantom Menace. A lot of movies have no reason to break the rules of the story world, but the writers do it anyways for no apparent reason. Despite our ideals, the story can be rewritten. Another example is the story the actresses and actors of Three's Company. There was no reason to deviate from the original apartment number and the costumes, but the writers did.

Altering the script and the facts is useful, when we need to be brief. We can always use notes and disclaimers at the end of the story. An altered script can create a much more accessible story to a wider audience.

A lot of stories do not have reality or scripts to be inspired from. In other words, the writer is starting with a clean slate. Therefore, they can rewrite it, before the story is presented to the audience [i.e.: before the story is canonized by the community].

[To read the detailed explanation, read the full this blog post.]