Larry Wilmore was billed as a comedian at the 2016 White House Correspondents’ Dinner Speech. What he conveyed was a humorless individual with an angry political agenda, and absolutely no respect for the office of the president of the United States. No decent person would ever speak to the President as Larry Wilmore did. No one.
With the words of Larry Wilmore in mind, consider what it takes to use course language that elicits not only audible groans and gasps of horror by those listening, but a visceral reaction of utter disgust. As the cameras panned those at the dinner, very few were smiling, or laughing. Those who did react favorably did so out of a forced politeness, or because they too are in the gutter of life with Wilmore. Decent people do not smile, or laugh when a good and decent man like Ted Cruz is being called, “The Zodiac Killer.” Loss of common decency is the first casuality if course communication is going to be used.
What else does it take for a person to engage in coarse language? It takes a vocabulary of vile words. Larry Wilmore called the President of the United States a term of racial vulgarity. He thought it was funny. It was not. However, when a person’s mind is filled with hatred and vulgarity, they will speak out of their heart. The profane will engage in base language. The blasphemer will take the name of the Lord in vain, and expect others to make no comment, or object.
In addition to loss of common decency, and a vocabulary of vulgarities, a person must be cruel in order to engage in coarse language. Some people are sweet and attractive. Others are cruel without concern. Friedrich Nietzsche was right. “Man is the cruelest animal.”
Again, a person must be totally insensitive to the feelings of all others in order to engage in coarse language. Larry Wilmore was not just rude and crude in his intemperate comments at the correspondences’ dinner, he was mean as he took swipes at Dr. Ben Carson, and then Jeb Bush. When the audience groaned, Wilmore said, “Groans are good. Groans are good.” It takes a person devoid of human empathy to be able to use coarse language.
William Norris, the American journalist who specialized in simple rhymes that had a message, once wrote:
“If your lips would keep from slips,
Five things observe with care:
To whom you speak; of whom you speak;
And how, and when, and where.”
At the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in the year 2016, Larry Wilmore could have benefited from such wise counsel. Instead, he chased after cheap laughs, with coarse language.
Aleksandr Solszhenitsyn wrote, “Thus it is that no cruelty whatsoever passes by without impact. Thus it is that we always pay dearly for chasing after what is cheap” (The Gulag Archipelago). The call of Christ is for His followers not to be cheap, not to be course, and not to blaspheme, but be gracious whenever possible.
Only a Word
“Only a word of anger,
But it wounded one sensitive heart;
Only a word of sharp reproach,
But it made the teardrops start;
Only a hasty, thoughtless word,
Sarcastic and unkind
But it darkened the day before so bright,
And left a sting behind.
Only a word of kindness,
But it lightened one heart of its grief ;
Only a word of sympathy,
But it brought one soul relief;
Only a word of gentle cheer.
But it flooded with radiant light
The pathway that seemed so dark before,
And it made the day more bright.”
—Our Pentecostal Boys and Girls