David Ortiz and the Coarsening of American Rhetoric
So Scott Johnson, among others, praised David Ortiz for a rallying cry at the Boston Red Sox game over the weekend that included the dreaded f-word, the Queen Mother of all curse words.
Contrast this to the near universal praise of Amanda Margaret Thatcher at her grandmother's state funeral earlier in the week. Miss Thatcher read from the book of Ephesians with a rare combination of grace and power. She gave dignity to a solemn event and inspired those who heard her words. Granted, she had a leg up on Mr. Ortiz in that she was provided a (great) text. But why couldn't Ortiz have picked a text himself, or prepared some statement, rather than winging it?
Ortiz was called on to speak at a solemn event populated with dignitaries and children. All he could do was take an occasion meant to lift people up and, as the word profanity suggests, bring it back down to the low and vulgar, degrading what should be hallowed.
What does it say that this person who could not express his deepest feelings without resorting to the profane is not humiliated out of respectable society? No one expects a baseball player to give the funeral oration of Pericles, but I would hope that anyone, even a child, could find words that don't degrade the event. Isn't it something that a 19 year old from Texas could bring so much dignity to a state funeral in London amongst the great and powerful, while a grown man couldn't marshal an even respectable performance in Boston?