The price of profanity

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On NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday today, Scott Simon interviewed Joe Eszterhas (famed as having been "one of the dirtiest, drinkingest writers in Hollywood"), on the occasion of the publication of his book Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith.  Early in the interview there was the following exchange:

Simon: … at some point you thought that maybe throat cancer was some kind of divine punishment for the things you said over the years.

Eszterhas: Well, I always had such a big, nasty, and usually obscene mouth that I would scatter with various F-bombs and other forms of tough expressions. And when this happened I thought, "you really are paying the price for all those years of firing that kind of stuff at people". I don't think that now.

Throat cancer as the price of profanity! Eszterhas's change of opinion follows, by the way, from his coming to believe that God is good and forgiving, not vengeful and punitive, so if there's a connection between his profanity and his throat cancer, it's not God's doing.

I'd consider all that smoking and drinking (starting in his early teenage years) to be significant contributing factors.

The idea that nothing (especially, nothing disastrous) happens without a reason is widespread; people ask "why me?" or "why them?" or "why here?" and seek an answer in previous history. Often God is invoked as the intervening agent. 

Profanity as the cause of ANY bad event is a new one on me, but maybe it's just a special case of immorality as the cause of bad things. Then there's the mouth-and-throat connection to profanity; presumably, if Eszterhas had gotten colon cancer or leukemia, it wouldn't have occurred to him to blame it on his foul mouth.

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