(NECN: Greg Wayland) - By now, everyone has heard Vice President Joe Biden whispering an obscenity into President Obama's ear.
To some, it's just another verbal gaffe by a politician. But to others, it represents a growing acceptance of vulgarities in American culture.
Big moment. Happy Joe. Open mic. Bad word!
Joe Biden: This is a big (beeping)deal.
So what's the big bleepin' deal about the VeePee letting the big, bad epithet slip out in an age when cops -- such as in the movie, "The Departed" -- and everybody else on the big screen is constantly belching a foul blue streak?
And public figures, Jessie Jackson among them, have repeatedly been caught on open mics uttering unprintable things?
Like George W. Bush, comparing a New York Times columnist to what we'll call an anatomical extremity, and proposing a solution to Middle East violence while chatting with Tony Blair that included some plain-speaking.
Then there's Richard Nixon, caught on tape, crudely dismissing all his enemies.
Maybe it's a wake-up call from our cultural drill sergeants about cultural slippage.
Marilyn Matelski,Boston College: "Words by themselves are not bad, but what they lead to in the perspective we have on the world."
So, says Boston College Communications professor Marilyn Matelski, who's studied the impact of pervasive profanity on people.
Marilyn: "When they begin to hear a word enough they become desensitized to that word and then they begin to have road rage and they begin to say nasty things to people and they begin to do horrible things on Facebook."
Marilyn: "And I think that the Joe Biden example shows that he just is accepting the kind of mass culture that people talk about all the time -- kind of forgot for a second that he was public official."
Of course, some of us long for the days when Fred and Ginger were as dirty as dancing got.
And there were no wardrobe malfunctions in front of millions.
And Marine Drill Sergeant Jack Webb ( in the 1957 movie, "the D.I."", was in charge.
And Marine drill sergeant Jack Webb was in charge.
I think there is a civility there.
Of course, Joe Biden has nothing on my old (foul-mouthed) Army drill sergeant. Nonetheless, look for the Vice President -- and the rest of us -- to watch our language.
Tags: barack Obama
, Joe Biden