Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The value of modest speech.

There is something to be said about not saying some things. - Me

Two days ago I came across a gemara that I find pertinent in this day and age.

The gemara (TB Shabbos 33a) goes through several sins and their commensurate punishments. Regarding vulgar speech there is a statement that when someone goes to the trouble of explicitly stating the obvious (the gemara uses the example of a bride approaching the wedding canopy; everyone *knows* what follows, yet it is not a topic of conversation - no one points it out. But the one who makes a point of saying something...) it can overturn whatever positive reward he has accrued for the next seventy years.

This is such a timely message for our generation. We live in a world that is increasingly bolder - we tend to become impatient with euphemisms and "beating around the bush". "Just call a spade a spade!" "I have to tell it like it is," and so on. Our society believes that there is more merit to having full disclosure than expressing things in a demure fashion.

This affects relationships as well: "get it out, or it will fester inside you!" While I certainly advocate clear communication, it has to be done properly; just saying things as they pop into one's head is a way to ensure that the chasm widens.

I had a professor in undergraduate who made a point of using profanity (the "seven deadly words", and then some) in class, because it "said it best".

This is one of the things that I believe has contributed to the dumbing down of the media. I have witnessed an increasing usage of lowbrow language in formerly respectable magazines, as a younger generation of "journalists" have entered the fray. It gets worse with online media - and the biggest tragedy to me is the tremendous amount of "culturally Jewish" content that puts out coarse, disgusting (and poorly written) material out into cyberspace. It doesn't make you look hip or advant-garde, only inarticulate and immature.

But this blog is about positivity and increasing light, so I will try and do my part to produce worthy reading...

Also, an earlier daf of gemara has me singing one of my favorite songs:

1 comment:

Neil Harris said...

Great post. In an age when it's assumed that we all will "comment" it's easy to see why this is a problem.