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The Coarseness of our Discourse

It's becoming hard to ignore ... and resist.
2 ¼ min

There’s a story floating around today about a radio station being hacked and an expletive-laced recording played through the station’s broadcast signal. CBS Denver describes it below.

Listeners of the Breckenridge-based 106.3 FM The Lift radio station heard strange ramblings from an unknown person along with a lot of foul language on Tuesday morning.

Someone was able to take over the IP address that sends the station’s signal out, so what was heard over the air was nowhere near what the station thought it was broadcasting, and they had no way to control it as station engineers were locked out.

What ended up on air were the voices of a couple of men from upstate New York who run an online podcast on FurCast & XBN. CBS4 reached out to them and they claim to have no involvement in the hack and posted a statement on the website.

‘We have been made aware of a reported incident where FurCast & XBN content was syndicated without our knowledge on a terrestrial FCC licensed FM radio station. We are deeply sorry to hear about this inappropriate incident … we are a group of friends who publish audio and video entertainment, wherein it is marked for containing explicit and inappropriate content …’

A one-off story really isn’t a big deal, nor is vulgarity that big of a deal in and of itself. But there is something about the overall pattern of the news and politics that is arguably seeing a rise in vulgarity and coarseness. Even Intellectual Takeout has been guilty of it.

It’s now a regular occurrence for someone to trash a candidate with a tirade chockful of profanity or to even give a speech with plenty of vulgarity. The profanity seems to act as an exclamation mark for the point being made. Yet, what does that say about our society that many seem to either lack the means to deliver a powerful, engaging speech or denouncement of a candidate without having to rely upon profanity? Not only does it say something about the speakers, it also says something about the audience and how we’ve been trained by entertainment and social media to respond.

And doesn’t seem to matter which political side one is on. There is plenty of guilt to go around. Consider the following examples: 


In such times as these, it might be wise to keep in mind a line from Downton Abbey's matriarch, the Dowager Countess of Grantham: "Vulgarity is no substitute for wit."

Devin Foley

Devin Foley

Devin is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Charlemagne Institute, which operates Intellectual Takeout, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and the Alcuin Internship. He is a graduate of Hillsdale College where he studied history and political science. Prior to co-founding Charlemagne Institute, he served as the Director of Development at the Center of the American Experiment, a state-based think tank in Minnesota.

Devin is a contributor to local and national newspapers, a frequent guest on a variety of talk shows, such as Minneapolis' KTLK and NPR's Talk of the Nation, and regularly shares culture and education insights presenting to civic groups, schools, and other organizations. In 2011, he was named a Young Leader by the American Swiss Foundation.

Devin and his wife have been married for eighteen years and have six children. When he's not working, Devin enjoys time with family while also relaxing through reading, horticulture, home projects, and skiing and snowboarding.

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