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Bleep: The H-Word
I don't mean to sound like a middle-aged, significantly less green Yoda, but it's true: Anger is usually not anger. I, for one, am the first to get furious when somebody I love gets really sick (yes, live long enough and your friends get cancer). I yell at their nurse, their acupuncturist, my husband, and—once a month—the poor bewildered Verizon customer representative who has the temerity to suggest that my obscene phone bill is due to my out-of-control texting habit. Let me add: my language can get a bit salty.
Which is why I found this video, staring the likes of Bono, Jessia Alba, and George Clooney so worth considering.
For the rest of the day, I'll be thinking about the 30,000 children who have died (please, I beg you, go to the One website now) due to famine in three months. By bleeping out the celebs, it makes the point that the real dirty word is "famine" and that famine should be—and must be—censored from the future of this planet.
But the video also got me thinking about the more traditional F-word, the one the celebs appeared to be throwing around with reckless abandon to express their outrage about what is happening in Africa. What they really were was upset—that this could happen, that people could stand by and let it continue—and they were using that feeling to try enact some change in the larger world.
Ow. I was forced to realize, once again: My curse-studded fury neither helps others nor get to the root of what is going on with me. It's corrosive, it's immature, and it only results in making customer service representatives hang up on me while pretending to transfer me to pretend supervisors.
So what if we re-think the whole modern language of anger? What if what we said, more closely reflected the emotion underneath or behind or fueling the rage? For example, we could get together as culture and officially exchange the F-word for the H-word. When something when horribly wrong, you could get as mad and mean-sounding as you felt. You could glare at old ladies and scream at puppies. But you could not say "F—you!" Instead you had to say "H—me!"
The H-word comes with certain setbacks, of course, such as that its use may dispel the fury you're trying to express, because—if I may be so crass as to utter our new curse out loud—the fact is that "help!" is a clear admission of being overwhelmed. And unlike the classic F-bomb, it does inspire the listener to do exact as we command.
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