The other day I was listening to some music on the radio when I heard a rap by some singer that basically had no lyrics other than the f-word in all its grammatical forms. It’s like that rapper had taken the f-word and tried to conjugate it throughout the song. After a few seconds I switched it off. And I thought what happened to us? Why all this vulgarity?
Of all the cultures, I think the 21st century culture is the most vulgar and obscene. Even the English language has changed to some extent. Our century is a century of reality TV shows, like Jersey Shore and Big Brother, full of foul language and vulgar scenes but with zero moral value. It is a century of weak-scripted movies containing coarse language, nudity and violence, so much so that viewer discretion is advised every time one is shown. It is a century of bestsellers screaming obscenities in every single paragraph. Young children and teenagers use bad language and offensive swear words as adjectives and as nouns which make you wonder if they are capable of speaking properly.
It’s the same with books. I was really disappointed with, not to say disgusted by, Paul Theroux’s ‘Blinding Light’. Paul Theroux is an internationally acclaimed bestselling author. On the jacket of the book one reads “Blinding Light is a bravura performance…. An enjoyable allegory of pitfalls of literary success.” New York Times.
While the story is supposed to be the story of a writer literally blinded by his pursuit of the muse, it is nothing but a revelation of his sexual fantasies and endeavors. To such an extent that at some point in the book it becomes only descriptions of explicit sex scenes, with his wife, with groups, etc. and the story, the plot becomes nothing more than a detailed account of porn. As much as I like to read about writers and their muse I honestly was disgusted by this book.
Rare are the films which have a story, as rare as the books that, after reading yourself, you can pass on to your children to read.
John Grisham in his advice to the class of 2010, University of North Carolina, wrote:
“The most difficult task facing a writer is to find a voice in which to tell the story. In this respect, writing is a lot like life itself. In life, a voice is much more than the sound we make when we talk. Infants and preschoolers have voices and can make a lot of noise, but a voice is more than sound. The voice of change, the voice of compassion, the voice of the future, the voice of his generation, the voice of her people. We hear this all the time. Voices, not words.”
It makes me think that most of what we see in our culture nowadays is just noise. In fact, there is no culture. We are missing the beauty, the goodness, and the simplicity of life. Most of all, we are missing the voices of our generation. As Leo Tolstoy wrote:
“The best stories don’t come from ‘good versus bad’ but ‘good versus good.’”