In light of my last post, Derek Webb's use of profanity in a "Christian music" album (and during a concert at ACU), I was reminded of this observation from Walter Brueggemann in the interview I linked to last week (H/T to Daniel):
Walter: ...I’m just now working on a thing on George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can’t Say” and what I’m arguing is that the real reason you can’t say those words is that they remind us that we are bodies, and therefore we are fragile and we're mortal, and we’re going to die...I'd be interested in seeing Brueggemann's analysis as this was the same argument that drove a recent study of mine published in the Journal of Psychology and Theology entitled Profanity: The Gnostic Affront of the Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television. In that study I argued that profanity functions as a mortality reminder as it highlights the body in its reproductive and metabolic neediness. It light of that hypothesis, the study observed that death anxiety was positively correlated with being offended at profanity.
Dan: I wonder what George Carlin would have thought of a theologian writing on his work?
My blog summary of that paper can be found here, an online version of the paper here.
Beck, R. (2009). Profanity: The Gnostic Affront of the Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 37, 294-303.