Wednesday, August 20, 2008

a barb is a barb is a barb

I was watching television the other day and saw a political ad involving a comedian-turned politician running for office. It prompted me to dig into things a little further and I was stunned at what I found.

The accusations in the ad were true.

In 2000, funny guy had written a sexually explicit fiction article for a popular men's magazine. The detailed excerpts made my stomach turn; it was extremely devaluing and degrading towards women.

There was a lot of hoopla surrounding the story because a prominent female politician from the same political camp, spoke out against funny guy. She was ripped to shreds for creating a division. (She's since apparently "come around" and is now offering her support.) Funny guy was staunchly defended; his article was considered "harmless" because, after all... he is a satirist - derision, sarcasm, and ridicule are just par for the course.


This situation has had me thinking deeply about the power of words. Perhaps it's because God has put me through the ringer with my own mouth. Is it really a big deal, after all, if he said he didn't mean it? Interestingly enough, a research project led by Western Carolina University psychology professor Thomas E. Ford, suggests that sexist humor may be more than just a joke:
The research indicates that people should be aware of the prevalence of disparaging humor in popular culture, and that the guise of benign amusement or 'it’s just a joke' gives it the potential to be a powerful and widespread force that can legitimize prejudice in our society.
The article in full is HERE. God isn't silent on the issue either. As mentioned before, I have my own mouth issues. Many of them. Here's what scripture has to say about the words we wield:

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Ephesians 4:25

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-32

Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness to God. Ephesians 5:4

"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." Matthew 12:33-37 (emphasis added)
No matter how we paint it - a barb is a barb. Try listening to yourself today; really pay attention to how you are speaking to your spouse, your children, a friend. Needling, sarcasm and derision - no matter how sweetly delivered - hurts.

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Amy said...

Omgoodness those pics turned out soooooo cute! (I can say that since I was present and saw that he was being well taken care of!)

Sooo true about the power of words. Especially having gone to an all womens college-and knowing the importance of inclusive language and all that. I'm an independent when it comes to politics-I try to listen to both sides, and there's just been something about the man you refer to that has always rubbed me the wrong way.

Mellissa said...

1) gorgeous pics!!!
2) AMEN! My mouth has been an issue for me since I started talking! You are so right! I love the scriptures too, I will be marking those in my bible. THANK YOU!!!!