Things you can’t say in public

I don’t think there’s a song in recent memory that I like as much as Cee Lo Green’s F**k You. First of all it’s a brilliant pop song. If I didn’t speak English I could hum along without a problem. But let’s not avoid the obvious appeal. I like it because it’s an aggressive message coated in honey.

This good girl, for the record, curses. But only sparingly and where it can make a real impact. My mom would die if she knew I cursed and lucky for her we didn’t learn how to curse in Spanish in our language classes at the University of Chicago. I’d never drop an F bomb around an authority figure (professor, dean, etc.) because the way I’d say it would clearly show how embarrassed I truly felt. After all, I blush when a professor so much as says bulls*** in class.

Which isn’t to say that I’m such a prude that  I admonish people for cursing. Obviously you’ve never met my dad. He curses fluently in English and Spanish. The neo-parenting style of spelling choice words for the sake of little grandchildren ears is completely lost on my father. For example, after he drops an F bomb at lunch my older brother will say something like, “Dad, come on. The kids are here.” To which my father replies, “Oh, s***. Excuse me, I forgot.”

But getting back to Cee Lo. I don’t mind his use of language. I love it. He says it so sweetly you can’t be mad at him. He could have easily said, “I hate you,” or the official clean version, “Forget You.” As a lover of literature and free speech I’m against any type of censorship or editing. I respect Cee Lo for singing “F*** You” because sometimes there’s no other way to say it. Even good girls know that. True, there are some saintly people who have taken a vow of clean version-language and believe that expletives are for people who can’t express themselves better. But good girls aren’t saints. We’re merely people who were strictly trained to behave in a certain way and realize that despite a diversity of experiences we remain tethered to old-fashioned manners. We still listen to Cee Lo, Jay-Z, and Uncle Luke. But of course wearing headphones and never singing along in public.

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