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Lying To Our Children: What Are “Bad Words”?

It’s a parent’s responsibility to teach kids right from wrong. Of course, that includes informing them about the evils of using foul language and what “foul language” entails. Children are told that “Hell” and “damn” are only to be used in religious contexts to illustrate the anger of a chosen deity, while uttering the likes of “ass” and “bitch” would garner an instant soap-to-the-mouth experience. But sometimes, parents lie to their children! They lie to them about foul language!

Growing up in the 1990’s, many students were taught that the likes of “butt”, “zit”, “sex”, “foxy”, “swear”, “fart”, etc. were all bad words. Hearing someone utter one of these words caused the entire classroom to gasp in horror like someone had just dropped the f-bomb. If a cartoon character said any of these terms, a sense of adrenaline began rushing through you, as you quickly looked around the room to make sure your mother had not heard the utterance, lest she turn off your television for “watching filth”.

These teachings were to the extent that one time my kindergarten teacher used the phrase “No ifs, ands, or buts”, and several members of my class became upset at this tragic homonym mix-up. A little boy tried arguing with her about it, and when she said, “I said ‘buts’ not ‘butts’!” he argued that now she had said it multiple times and he would be telling his mother. One little girl actually cried that her teacher could be such a bad person.

All over the word “butt”.

You said “butt”! You’re going straight to Hell, mister!!

Similar events occurred in third grade, when one little girl decided to read the opening flap of her textbook–the part that lists the author information, copyright, and publisher–saw the word “sex” (referencing not discriminating based on sex) in the disclaimer, and was instantly upset that her arithmetic book had a bad word in it. Did she know what “sex” meant, whether in regards to biology or to intimate acts? Not in the slightest. She had just been taught that “sex was bad!” That same little girl, months later, accidentally said to her friends “I promise! I swear!” and instantly looked horrified and began praying to God, as she had been told never to swear.

She grew up and became a nun. Not even kidding.

Two decades later–I know, right?!–, many of these “nineties’ kids” are wondering why our parents lied to us. Why did they tell us that these were bad words, when by the fifth grade everyone know what the real bad words were. As my generation begins to have children of our own, many of us are reluctant to pass along these symbolic mistruths to them. We would rather teach them not to say what really constitutes as foul language, rather than nit-picking over other words that are completely fine to say in a PG-rated movie. At the same time, we don’t want our children to be known as “those foul-mouthed kids” for nonchalantly saying “My big sister has a bit zit” on the school bus one morning.

Does anyone even continue this trend, or is this just a baby-boomer faux-pas?

“We still teach the preschoolers in the school I work at that those words are ‘bad’,” admits Jillian Meinze of Louisville, Kentucky. “My reasoning behind it is that when they learn those words and what they mean, they think its funny. So they repeat it and make it into things inappropriate. For example: a little boy the other day was running around my classroom singing, ‘Booty butts, booty butts’ and slapping his butt as he did so.”

“Kids are always going to do and say inappropriate things,” counters Linda White, also of Louisville, Kentucky. “It’s part of being a kid. Take away their ability to be silly and say ‘fart’ at random times, and they’re going to find something else to take its place. That’s no reason to unfairly impact their vocabulary.”

Mommy, she has a bad word on her face!!

It’s the debate between pee and urine all over again.

But is it fair to eliminate certain connotations from our children’s minds just to “protect them” or to save our own faces? What happens when they grow up and realize that those words really aren’t bad words after all? What will they think about the other values we have taught them? Won’t they question those, too?

This is one of those tricky issues that has no concrete answer. No one likes being told how to parent their children, but odd parenting styles can negatively impact a child later on in life.

Weigh in below. Should we eschew telling our children that “butt” and “zit” are bad words?


Cutting Board: Duke Nukem Forever!!

*Note, the views expressed in Cutting Board are those of Jason “Fidel” Carter and do not necessarily reflect those of Otaku Antics as a whole nor its associates. Viewer discretion is advised.

What’s it been, 15 years? Duke Nukem Forever is out for play! And what’s the verdict?! Well, to know that, we have to really look at this game, plus the originals, plus the development history. Duke started off as a wise-cracking dickhead from the late 80’s, early 90’s, and like every guy back then (and nowadays, aside from flaming homosexuals) was obsessed with sex, drugs, tobacco, and violence. This was back in a era where every main character could carry a pistol, machine gun, shot gun, rocket launcher, particle beam, freeze ray, shrink gun, mini gun, and so forth.

He’s baaaaaaack!!

Gamers had grown used to not asking questions like “Where do they keep all the guns?”, “Why are there alien pig cops?”, or even “Why can’t I see Duke’s feet?”. In all honesty, Duke paved the way for the wise-cracking heroes we have nowadays, all overly steroided-out, and with regenerative skills that would make Wolverine jealous. I mean, really, when has any soldier in the Middle East gotten shot, and where they normally yell, “MEDIC!” or “UGH!… *death*”, instead hide behind a wall, breathe for a bit, then go right back into the heat of battle? At least Left 4 Dead keeps you using health packs, and the characters make a shoddy attempt to heal you. But, I digress, Duke paved a path a blood, carnage, wise-cracks and one-liners, most from other movies, and an obsession with sex and female titties.

Then, one day, a game called Half-Life was made, then Remedy, suddenly after seeing it, decided that using the Half-Life engine would make for a great second coming for Duke. Then was announced the wonderful Duke Nukem Forever, which seemed like it would Forever be in development. Year after year we waited on the latest news, every now and then getting a trailer, screen shot, or even just hearing Remedy say, “We are still working on it.” After a while, we all lost interest and just kept it around as a joke, the greatest game that would Forever be made. Be honest, that is where Duke should have remained, in limbo.

A few years later, it finally happened: Remedy was shut down for not making any decent progress in the game or any headway. Gamers around the globe were saddened by the news that the King’s next big game was not only never going to be spoken of again, but would never see the light of day. Then Gearbox, a great developer that worked on the Half-Life expansions back in the day, as well as Borderlands, picked up Duke in order to bring the icon back into the gaming spotlight. I was thrilled not only to see Duke’s return on the Next Gen, but also that a decent developer could bring it to life.

Now for the reason you have been reading this: the review. So, I am going to start off by asking one simple question to everyone out there that has been bad mouthing the game, saying horrible things about it, and talking about how awful it is: “WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU EXPECT!?” I mean, really, people, its Duke fucking Nukem. Of course it’s not going to change the history video games, and much hasn’t changed since Duke Nukem 3D. He is a womanizing, alien-killing, monotoned jerk from the 90’s in a shooter! I mean, come on, people!

First off, the game isn’t THAT bad, but don’t get me wrong, it’s far from thrilling. Duke seems to have kept that massive ego to such a point where he now can hide behind a wall to regenerate him self, but he also regenerates his “ego” which doubles as a heath meter. However, despite how awesome his ego is, he is now downgraded to carrying two guns, like ever other game jerk out there. Look, I am all for two guns – makes more strategy, makes things more interesting – but in a game where the level design was clearly made for multiple weapons, WHY DID YOU JUST GIVE HIM TWO GUNS!?!? And why give him just enough ammo to run out!? I mean, really, we are playing Duke Nukem, not Call of Dime-a-dozen shooter! It doesn’t help that load times on the console are insanely long either… which is true.

Then, there is the ending, which Duke in fact says, “What the hell kind of ending was that?” Look, I get it, it’s a joke on the crappy endings video games give us nowadays. THAT’S NO EXCUSE! I swear, Gearbox, I should come to your studio and bitch-slap you for doing that to us! This kind of goes more into the humor, too. The game did, in fact, make me laugh several times, however, every time I did it was due to a pop culture reference or Duke making fun of other games. At one point, they straight ripped of Gears of War and then Halo back-to-back. It had no humor of it’s own, which, really, I’ve made funnier jokes that everyone could laugh about while I was drunk with friends.

However, with all this said and done, I am still okay with this game. So much, in fact, that I am going to keep it. Why? Because it’s Duke Nukem!

I shouldn’t need to say more.

Seriously, people, what did you expect, a new-age Duke with different humor? Even back then, he was riding the pop culture bus and talking about his dick and having sex with girls. I mean, really, get off your high horse and realize that it’s Duke Nukem. It seems like people can’t get into the right frame of mind before playing games like this anymore. If the game isn’t in your face in the first 20 minutes, you shy away, say it’s stupid and move on. However, no one seems to care about innovation when Call of Duty keeps pumping out new games and charging you 60 bucks for the same game with a few new guns and maybe a new toy here and there.

You know, PC did that a long time ago and charged you 20 bucks for the new stuff: it was called EXPANSIONS!!! They were cheaper and had double the content. Is it for everyone? HELL NO! It’s only for a few people, and it is not without flaws at all. It’s a decent game, with an all right campaign, and a decent amount of content. It isn’t dog poop, so shut up, lest I come to your home while you are sleeping, take a frying pan full of boiling crap, and smack you with it!

So, as nicely as I can say it, STOP WHINING!!!