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Dirtier and dirtier

It turns out that you're right: language in books is getting coarser and, well, "dirtier."
Michael Schaub of the LA Times picked up last week on a study done by some San Diego State University professors that shows books have gotten substantially more linguistically graphic since 1950. Or, as he put it: "...there's been a dramatic increase in course words."
I will not repeat the offenders here, but perhaps you recall George Carlin's famous monologue about the "seven dirty words" you could not say on television. Of course, those words and many, many more are almost routine on TV, especially HBO. And they are no longer rare in books, even books aimed at teens.
Sometimes, at the request of the young-adult librarian, I will go through a graphic novel to see how it's playing out, and I'm often surprised at the bad language, especially when it is used gratuitously -- that is, it serves no purpose other than to simply be there.
The psychology profs who did the study quoted by Schaub say that the increased use of bad words in books stems from a growth in individualism since the '50s. I don't know about that. In fact, that doesn't even sound reasonable.
But, darned if I have another explanation.
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