I’ve been a fan of Colin Firth ever since he played the tortured Mr. Darcy to Jennifer Ehle’s Elizabeth Bennett in the BBC production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.


So when I had a chance to view The King’s Speech last Sunday, I jumped on it. I knew he would give an outstanding performance and he did not disappoint. Seeing the film presented somewhat of a difficulty for me, however, as I try to be careful not to watch movies with objectionable language. There are a number of reasons for this. Most important, as a Christian, there is the serious business of taking God’s name in vain. Another is, it’s simply  distracting. If a character salts his or her language with profanity, I begin to pay more attention to that than I do the plot. And another: sometimes when I walk in Manhattan, I start a mental stroke count of the number of “f” words heard in a single outing. I soon lose track, but one thought always occurs to me:when the adverbial form of that word is applied to everything from a restaurant to a taxi cab to a fire hydrant, well, frankly, it loses its meaning (probably a good thing).

There’s more. When I am bombarded—including random overhearing, not necessarily directed toward me—with nasty language, I begin to feel anxious, edgy, and unhappy. Is it possible that words carry more weight than we think?

Recently I came across an interesting experiment. I’m not vouching for the validity of Masaru Emoto’s results, but I have to admit the idea is thought-provoking.


I tried it on my plants, with startling results. I told a dying one that it was going to be beautiful again, and in a couple of days it made a remarkable recovery.

Okay, I’m kidding. But I’m not kidding about the central point. Our president has called for more civility, and so have I. Speak softly (you can skip the big stick) in kindness to those around you, and think about what you listen to, on the small screen and large, from friends and family, from strangers on the street. I heard recently that our brain is ninety percent water. Do you want yours to be fragrantly percolating or rotting? To a large extent, the choice is yours.