Former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, known for her thoughtful and cutting Twitter commentary, is somehow still able to find time to be the hallway monitor of the news world. “I will go to my grave calling out racist [remarks], the journalist/producer/host/mother of four said in an interview with the LA Times, “And I think it’s not done enough.” But while O’Brien is trying to save America from its own stupidity one tweet and one documentary at a time, her children are more concerned with her potty mouth.
In a response to a professional request that she “stop saying the F-word,” O’Brien told the LA Times, “My children said, ‘We think we agree with that, Mom. You curse so much and you should stop. It’s so embarrassing.’ So I’ve tried to curse less.” Truly, mothers are not doing their jobs if they don’t embarrass their kids just a little bit. O’Brien’s children probably have their mother’s best interest at heart but perhaps they don’t understand the beauty and the exhilaration of expressing oneself with a sprinkling of F-bombs.
I used to take cursing for granted, throwing around the s-word and my favorite, m-er f-er, with little appreciation for the release those words gave me. But since late April, I along with a few million other people, have been observing the month of Ramadan and a part of my observance is to abstain from cursing (and alcohol which, don’t even get me started). I never realize how much of my daily vocabulary involves cursing until Ramadan starts. This year, as I crawl through the last 10 days, what I look forward to more than chugging a bottle of cheap Moscato is screaming the f-word from the top of my lungs. Cursing is like Adobo, I can’t go a day without using it.
Cursing isn’t just fun, it is linguistically necessary. In Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language, author Amanda Montell explains that the “monosyllabic and plosive” nature of words like the b-word and the c-word are both aurally and orally pleasing and provide the speaker a certain level of “phonetic pleasure.” To deny cursing is to deny pleasure and as the saying goes, I’m here for a good time, not a long time. There simply is no greater joy, when it comes to speaking than peppering in a few “bad” words to emphasize a point or add some humor.
Undoubtedly, Soledad O’Brien has bigger things to concern herself with than cursing and the many-layered beauties of it. While under quarantine O’Brien is filming for Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and her own show Matter of Fact from her closet: “My husband does not believe that the clothes is what makes all the audio sound better.” I bet that closet would make the curses sound better too.