March 28, 2006


Americans see profanity getting worse (Associated Press, Mar. 28, 2006)

This is a story about words we can't print in this story.

You probably hear these words often, and more than ever before. But even though we can't print them - we do have our standards - we can certainly ask: Are we living in an Age of Profanity?

Nearly three-quarters of Americans questioned last week - 74 percent - said they encounter profanity in public frequently or occasionally, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll. Two-thirds said they think people swear more than they did 20 years ago. And as for, well, the gold standard of foul words, a healthy 64 percent said they use the F-word - ranging from several times a day (8 percent) to a few times a year (15 percent).

The hardest part of having kids is not swearing in front of them. Funny thing though, folks rarely need to be asked more than once not to use profanity in the comments here and those who break the rule are generally just the trolls of the Left or far Right.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 28, 2006 5:11 PM

My ‘at home’ vocabulary is completely different than my ‘at work’ vocab. My ‘putting together the jungle gym’ vocabulary is a language all its own.

“My father worked in profanity like a fine sculptor works in clay.”
-A Christmas Story

Posted by: Shelton at March 28, 2006 6:49 PM

Profanity is the one language all programmers know best.
-Troutman's 6th Programming Postulate

Posted by: TimF at March 28, 2006 6:59 PM

When I went from working with lawyers to working with factory workers, I had to clean up my language.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 28, 2006 8:22 PM

Lets be honest...the far left is much more likely to use profanity than the far're too courteous, Judd.

Posted by: Frogger at March 28, 2006 8:50 PM

Mr. Judd;

If not swearing is the hardest part of having kids for you, your offspring must be truly angelic.


Here's a programmer story for you. I was renting an apartment with a co-worker on a campus while doing some consulting and I parked my car on the street in fratland. The next morning we came out and the side window had been totally smashed out. As a programmer, there was only one word harsh enough to express my feeling. So caught up in the heat of the moment, right in front of my co-worker, I said it : "that's sub-optimal".

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at March 28, 2006 9:34 PM

As an old pre-boomer guy, who's as profane as any muleskinner in male company, the biggest shock to me is the everyday, conversationalist, use of profanity by under 30 females.
Guess it was just the sexist age I matured in, language we wouldn't use in front of our potential mates, and her gender sisters, certainly wouldn't be used in front of our progeny. There was the locker room and there was our family, never were the two confused.
I blame Mario Savio!

Posted by: Mike Daley at March 28, 2006 9:52 PM

My father always told me that the only people who used profanity were those with a limited vocabulary. Years later, when I was the only woman working in a newspaper's sports department, I learned exactly how limited it was. My vocabulary made my BF blush. Of course, that was 20 years ago, and I must agree that having kids cleaned up my vocabulary in a way that even getting away from the paper didn't do.

Posted by: sharon at March 29, 2006 6:50 AM

Inappropriate use of profanity is an expression of the same froward* spirit which leads the young to wear their baseball caps askew.

Shocking language in context making it disrespectful to one's listeners, to one's subject-matter and to oneself is an expression Miltonic defiance**, a great Non Serviam.***

*** If you don't comprehend obscure vocabulary, literary allusion or Latin expressions, well, eff you.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 30, 2006 4:40 PM


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