I love words.

I love how you can combine a few letters of the alphabet to describe a beautiful day, a child's wonder, a painful remembrance. I have always loved to read and to write. When I was younger, I did creative writing, making up stories, poems and plays. I read constantly from biographies to science fiction.

But I have become disenchanted with others' use and choice of words.

Movie directors seem to relish in how many "F" words they can include to get that higher parental guideline rating. Comedy skits and interviews seem to have an increasing amount of needed bleeping. I like watching the censored TV versions of movies rather than paying to sit in the theater and be bombarded with what I consider obscenities.

Remember saying this on the playground to someone who was being mean: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"?

That usually stopped the verbal bully. But with the advent of social media, that saying doesn't hold true anymore. We've seen too many cases of bullying using social media having tragic consequences.

As I write this, I can hear my family saying, "There she goes again, ranting against social media." But I truly believe with the epidemic use of social media, civility and respect have gone down the drain.

Words that would definitely have resulted in discipline when I was younger have now become the norm in conversations, verbal and written, by all ages.

Words I would never have dreamed of uttering (and still don't) cross the lips of so many without a second thought.

And are tapped out on keyboards -- do people believe that using a computer frees them from common courtesy and the Golden Rule? Do they even take a moment to think, "would I want someone to say this about me?"

And don't give me a speech on the First Amendment -- we have the freedom of having and expressing an opinion, but at no time in writing it did our founding fathers include the acceptance of hurtful and obscene language. There are plenty of acceptable words that can be used to express a negative opinion, even a strong one.

For me, if someone can't express an opinion without adding shock value, that's sad. And they may have a worthwhile opinion, but if you can't say it without obscenities, then don't bother me with it.

Recently, there was local uproar over a community member's tweets which were described as pornographic and obscene. I'll be honest -- I looked at one or two and said, "no more." They were exactly what I'm complaining about -- and nothing I have any interest in reading.

BUT -- why did some of the commenters feel the need to use vulgar words and name calling to call this individual out for doing the same? Really?

I have to wonder: Would these same individuals be willing to repeat their posted thoughts verbatim to a young child, to a member of the clergy, to their child's teacher?

If they had the nerve to read them to their grandmother, what would she say?

Because I know what this grandmother would say.

Email: mmckenna@


Phone: 330-541-9430