Louis CK has a great bit (entitled, "The Way We Talk") about how we always have to "go for the top shelf" with our words. We're always trying to make our anecdotes and observations seem more exciting, but we do this in an otherwise neutered tone of voice. I think this is symptomatic of some greater issues.
One of the most memorable observations from the aforementioned bit concerns our whiney impotence. Obviously, it does not apply to every single member of western society.
But I think that's part of the greater problem I'm about to talk about, that I would even have to concede that a generalization is a generalization, as if those could never possibly be useful in a discussion. In other words, if you're so concerned about generalizations, why are you generalizing about generalizations?
Maybe that's a straw man, but more than likely you're just an argumentative dick. ANYWAY, I think we moan and mumble our way through life because emotion is scary. I'm no longer convinced that curse words bear their strength on the basis of their literal meaning. More than anything else, if someone screams "SHIT!" and/or "FUCK!" at a playground, the surrounding tiger moms will care far less about the implications of excrement and intercourse than they will about the presence of dirty, angry words. They're not "appropriate," those words, because even the tiger moms lead lives so dull, they can't conceive of a scenario wherein someone gets angry on or near a playground. And they, of all people, should at least be able to imagine that much.
If you are feeling an intense emotion, you may act with according intensity. If you act with intensity, rather than sedation, you just might do something different or dangerous. I guess.
Meanwhile, in reality, people swear all the fucking time. People experience a range of emotions in mere seconds. Ignoring this does not keep your dumb ass kid any safer. And thus begins a fateful aversion to nuance and detail.
I think this resulting emotional blandness, ironically, contributes to the binary polarization of our language that Louis CK mocks. There cannot possibly be anything other than the worst or the best. It's so easy, theoretically, to ignore the in-between. Because you can't win if you don't risk losing, or something, right?
I'd also like to levy a significant amount of blame on our media and the corporate entities that control it. More specifically, the advertisements we have shoved down our throats on a daily basis are constantly striving to convince us that we are nothing without the BEST thing they have that our money can buy. From the onslaught of commercials trying to convince me I need more Axe and Bud Light and presumably accompanying vaginas to have a good time, to the hit-happy bloggers and amalgamators on the internet trying to convince me that this video of a homeless guy doing a thing will CHANGE MY LIFE, there is no room for rhetorical nuance.
So we exist in this cultural, tonal malaise. We throw nothing but lofty promises at each other, and so it's no surprise that we are so very frequently disappointed and let down by everything. We're just too god damn dumb to enjoy subtlety anymore. Or maybe I have it somewhat backwards. Maybe we truly love being miserable, and that's why we continue to allow such thoughtlessness to decimate our culture.