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What exactly is wrong with swearing?

Posted on 2007-07-20
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I would be very interested to hear how people have arrived at their own 'naughty list' of words. There is clearly a huge amount of variation in what people find unacceptable in terms of word usage, so how do you decide which words are OK and which ones are bad? What is the harm in allowing people to express themselves in whatever manner they see fit? Is it reasonable to censor people based on your own personal opinion about what people should be allowed to say, when everyone draws the line in a different place?

I asked this question on a newsgroup a while back and was told that swearing means that:
(a) you have lost the argument because you feel the need to resort to it and;
(b) you must have a more limited vocabulary.

(a) seems like a bizarre assumption because people who swear a lot are often perfectly capable of making a valid point amongst the swearing. As for (b), knowing more swear words would seem to imply possession of a wider vocabulary. Are there any more watertight moral arguments for self-censorship? Do any moral arguments carry weight when the acceptable limit changes with each generation?

Please note that I'm not expecting a list of examples of acceptable or unacceptable language. I have no idea if EE have an official list of banned words, but chances are that sort of thing will result in a stern email. I'm not trying to foment civil disobedience here :-)

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Question by:Nicola-H
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by:ThomasBallardIT
ID: 19532677
Well, the only word I never like to hear is the N bomb.  Pretty much everything else is fair game.
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by:patrickab
ID: 19533417
Nicola-H,

You have raised a perfectly valid qestion but most probably in the wrong forum. Waterstreet doesnt like swearing here as its not covered by the opening rubric that everyone has to agree to for the Lounge.

As to the Q well so long as the swearing doesnt prevent people from concentrating on the point that one is making then it is usually OK. It all comes down to the company. Usually better to err on the safe side rather than offend simply through the lazy use of swear words. Enough for now as Im using a non-qwerty keyboard in France and its hard work.
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by:nickg5
ID: 19535037
If you think about it, each curse word is a subsitute for more acceptable words. The acceptable words are ok.
Ex: cow manure is the acceptable word........(             ) is not
Ex. the opposite of Heaven is (        ). This word is in the Bible. Totally acceptable to say in my society, USA.

Some more acceptable versions of some curse or swearing words have made their way to television and is used without hesitation.
Ex: Another word for "to urinate" is now heard on television and is an acceptable word.

I use all curse words but only around people who do the same. I do not invade someone else's privacy with foul language, or what they might think is foul. I never use God's name in vain. That is where I draw the line. All other curse words are just figures of speech to me.
Ex: An exclamation of frustration could be said with the word damn, which is a word you find in the Bible.

There are more polite and acceptable ways to say the same thing that some consider to be swearing.
Ex: kiss my butt or fanny is 100% acceptable. Other ways of saying it are not acceptable.
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by:BobSiemens
ID: 19535960
There are ideas and visuals that aren't acceptable to see or talk about EXCEPT that sometimes you have too.  You need replacement words for the ones we all know and try to avoid using.

Take cow manure.  You have to have it for farming.  But scatological material is (and should be) absent from our lives as possible.

It also aids society to have both accepted and unaccepted things.  Rules play an important part of a society and there needs to be lines that are drawn that you aren't allowed to cross even if you have to invent the lines themselves.

In this case, people need words that are generally unacceptable so that rebelling is defined and shocking is defined and anti-social is defined.  You need something more effective to say about someone than indicating that they have fecal instead of gray matter in their skulls.
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by:TEFKASG
ID: 19536227
>>Are there any more watertight moral arguments for self-censorship?

No, not really.  The impetus not to swear is due to social conditioning more then anything else.  Morality doesn't have much to do with it.
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by:Jason Thompson
ID: 19536288
I figure swearing in public is the same as belching loudly in public.  They're both just noises, but they both reflect on the refinement and self-control of the noise-maker.  If you don't want to draw attention to yourself or potentially offend those around you, then you shouldn't do either.

In a perfect world, people should judge you by the words that come out of your mouth over anything else.  Hopefully we can all develop the skills to choose our words wisely, whatever those words may be.

At the same time, sometimes it just feels better when you let out a loud one.
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19539288
In polite society, swearing is considered a sign of ignorance.

The logic is that people revert to swear words when they cannot think of or don't know the proper word to use.

Children often revert to swearing to pretend that they are adults, and they often never outgrow the practice.

There is no place in proper conversation for swearing.  And certainly no place for it in forums or on-line.
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by:patrickab
ID: 19541054
nickg5

>Ex: kiss my butt or fanny is 100% acceptable.

Wrong. In the UK fanny does NOT mean the same as butt. Just so you are totally clear about this it is NOT acceptable in the UK to say "kiss my fanny". In the UK the term fanny is slang for vagina. So please Yanks do not generalise on such matters when you really don't know the international meanings of phrases.

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by:dagesi
ID: 19541428
Swearing allows you to stress what you say in a way that requires more effort otherwise...
Consider the following:

"What am I supposed to do now?"
"What AM I supposed to do now?"
"What am I supposed to do NOW?"
"What the f@ck am I supposed to do now?"
"What am I supposed to f@cking do now?"

If you were speaking those sentences, you have to put the emphasis when you mean it... if you include a swear word, you've automatically created the emphasis.
Now some people use swearing so much that it's the verbal equivalent to typing in all caps - it takes all of the meaning out of it.
That's not to say that swearing excessively isn't a negative BECAUSE you do it - rather that the concept of swearing for emphasis loses that facet if a large quantity of your words ARE swear words.
Of course, considering how multi-faceted the F=word is, it could be argued that using that instead of learning all of the words you could learn to use in its place is in fact you being lazy in your language.  Sort of the equivalent of using run, running, runned type thing...
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by:WaterStreet
ID: 19541626
Nicola_H,


patrickab said:
"Waterstreet doesnt like swearing here as its not covered by the opening rubric that everyone has to agree to for the Lounge."

This has nothing to do with whether or not WaterStreet likes it.  One of the ways EE wants to draw a distinction between P&R and the EE Lounge is that one has an almost anything-goes attitude, but the other doesn't.  This is the reason for the Lounge warning.  WaterStreet, the Page Editor, is expected by EE to edit certain words.  When he doesn't, you will often see that a Mod or Admin does it.  A recent example of this was in the "Crusade of the Atheists" thread where Lunchy edited at least two postings for language.

You asked "so how do you decide which words are OK and which ones are bad?"
The two "guidelines" that WaterStreet heard from EE Admin are the following.

1. In regard to specific words to be avoided, refer to the seven George Carlin words at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_dirty_words

2. In regard to the generalities of language and talking to other EE members, the following suggestion helps ensure that one's conversational conduct does not violate the EE Member Guidelines.

"Don't say anything that the average person wouldn't say to his mother, his priest or a respected teacher."

Whether or not one has a priest, one should get the idea of this suggestion.
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by:patrickab
ID: 19542265
Ouch - still a bit prickly about it all?
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by:patrickab
ID: 19542318
George Carlin's list is to cater for the Yank sensitivities which don't extend to the Yanks making films which include all of those words and which are exported worldwide. Total hypocrisy really. Many of the words on that list are in use in the UK in 'good and classy company'. The only reason they are not included here is that they are not liked by WaterStreet and the EE word-police even though he claims it has nothing to do with his likes or dislikes of them. But as there is not a published EE list of banned words it must come down to his/their likes or dislikes.

For example the last word in Carlin's extended list - 'twat' is certainly not a dirty word in the UK. It is derogatory in that it implies that the individual referred to as a twat is a total idiot - but dirty it is not.

The 5th and 6th are specifically Yank and are unacceptable and very oriental in their type of abuse. The seventh is naughty but not really rude in the UK.

But then this is a Yank website so we need to keep to the Yank hypocrisies and pretended sensitivities. I have no idea who we are pretending to protect or to whom we are pretending that those words are not in everyday use by a huge percentage of the well educated people in the English speaking world. However arguments and debates are rarely enhanced through the use of those expletives as they usually get in the way of the debate/discussion/argument but that is not a good reason to 'delete' them. Instead why not leave us to decide whether they are appropriate - or can't we be trusted to make that judgement or might our world crumble around us if we are allowed to read those words. Do me a favour. It's just a power thing here on EE. Or is it that EE is fearful that is might actually get sued for allowing the use of words that are in everyday usage - I doubt it.

In the Tech Areas of EE it's different as that is business and language needs to be tempered to the needs of the subject and the business environment. But in a discussion forum on P&R those restrictions are not relevant or needed.
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by:JakobA
ID: 19542619
Words do not just have a meaning. they also carry connotations and those connotations can vary videly depending og which version of the word you use.
examples

G_d.
        Reverent reference to the OT supreme being, obeying the injunction that its 'name' must not be spoken.  The religious will find this entirely acceptable; the irreligious (like me) find it a bit 'holier than thou' and offensive.
       
god.
        the basic reference understood by all. A few (overly religious IMHO) people find it offensive becaus of the lack of capitalisation.
       
Jesus H Christ.
        Definitely irreverent. a deliberate attempt to provoke the religious.

--------------------

Commie
        Derogatory by design. To a socialist like me it also serve as a warning marker that the person speaking known little of the subject except what was taught by McCarthy etc.

Kommunist
        What they called the kind of people they aspired to be.

Socialist
        The practical compromize you will find in most of western europe.


Afro-American / negro / nigger
etc.

It is worth noting that associations and offensivenes vary with who is talking. in modern rap fx the 'nigger' word is acceptable. in discussions here it is one of the few words so charged that people can get banned for it.

Byt yeah, it is all just words, words that means different things to different people and even change their meaning with time, curlture, location and age.

What matters is respect, and when ANY words are used with the intention to hurt or disrespect others, those words should not have been used.

regards JakobA
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by:BobSiemens
ID: 19542962
>>Are there any more watertight moral arguments for self-censorship?

People have a moral responsibility to work cooperatively with a society.  People have a moral responsibility to try to avoid offending others.
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19543143
>>It is worth noting that associations and offensivenes vary with who is talking. in modern rap fx the 'n***er' word is acceptable. in discussions here it is one of the few words so charged that people can get banned for it.

No, this is a totally wrong statement.  Yes there are a group of people who feel that they are entitled to use a swear word, but that does not make it right.

A word is wrong and should be used by no one, or a word is not wrong and can be used by anyone.

It is this type of fake dual standard that confuses folks and causes hate and discontent.

The other thing about swearing, is that if you have to ask a question like this, (and it is not just for discussion) then your parents did not teach you properly about the use of words.
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by:patrickab
ID: 19543363
arthurjb,

>The other thing about swearing, is that if you have to ask a question like this, (and it is not just for discussion) then your parents did not teach you properly about the use of words.

Oh dear how judgemental is that? Just because your parents taught you something does not mean to say that it was correct. One's parents are usually the most influential people in one's life but it is important to question and not adopt things just because one is told to do such and such. That sort of attitude has led to religious sectarian strife of the worst sort and to religious, class, racial and any other prejudice that you can think of.
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by:rid
ID: 19543540
I think the motivation for exercising some kind of self-control is that a lot of people tend to value the packaging with more interest than they judge the contents. For practical purposes, any kind of presentation should have the swear-words removed, unless you think you can make an effect of sorts that will not get stuck in the throats of the listener(s). Tha't the practical side.

My personal opinion, is that the words in question themselves are just noises. The interpretation of these noises is with the listener, there are no "bad" or "evil" words, it's all part of your "frame of references" - socially, religiously etc. If people could just loosen up a bit and not take themselves so seriously, there wouldn't be such a fuss about certain expressions.

Discarding input from someone, just because his/her way of expression doesn't suit your refined ears (or values) could be a bit on the daft side - He/she might have something important to say (interesting contents), but is using another set of references for the language (the packaging is not pleasing). Ignore it at your own risk...

Cheers
/RID
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by:nodisco
ID: 19544095
Nicola-H
<<I asked this question on a newsgroup a while back and was told that swearing means that:
(a) you have lost the argument because you feel the need to resort to it and;
(b) you must have a more limited vocabulary.

I don't agree with these as its over-simplifying.  While its definetly true that theres more than enough people about swearing their heads off, its my expericence that people (on this site), in other forums and often in conversational argument - use swearing to illustrate their passion or emphasise their reaction - rather than it be just an insulting retort.
I think swearing is a purely personal thing.  Considering some people are offended by rather minor (in my mind) swear words, the only "correct" answer to general swearing is never to use it at all as you always risk offending somebody.  My personal feeling on it is that I am already self-critical about my use of swear words - which keeps me from using it excessively.  I think its personal - and this works for me



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by:JakobA
ID: 19544241
arthurjb >> http:#a19543143

It would be nice and easy if things were that black and white. Alas it is not so.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nigger
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19544474
>>It would be nice and easy if things were that black and white. Alas it is not so.

The point is that it is that easy.

If folks do not like the word they should not promote it by using it.

There may be some portions of society who have accepted that some folks think that the usage is correct in some places, but they are wrong.

You cannot ask for equality and diversity, and yet have behavior and speech that is acceptable by some portions of society, and yet unacceptable by others.

We have been working hard (at least in the USA) to create a color blind, diverse society.  So if a word is acceptable or unacceptable to use because of the color of your skin, then all or work has failed.
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by:BobSiemens
ID: 19544967
<<<A word is wrong and should be used by no one, or a word is not wrong and can be used by anyone.>>>

I don't agree.  A word is offensive based upon its connotations and context.  Both of these may change based upon who is saying it.

I have nothing to say where it would be appropriate to say the N-word, for example.
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19545008
You can disagree all that you want, but there is no logic or use for a word that can only be used by persons of a certain skin color.

Certainly, we are not discussing words like Bitch which is used to describe a female dog or Ass which is used to describe a donkey.  My remarks were only based on the "N" word.

I can think of none other than the "N" word that some folks try to claim is ok for usage by one race but is a fighting word if used by someone of another race.

And as I said, folks who claim that and use the word are destroying years and years of civil rights progress...
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by:-Mystique-
ID: 19545193
====(a) you have lost the argument because you feel the need to resort to it and;
A lot of times, this is true although there are many other situations where swearing is used to convey anger, frustration, etc.

---(b) you must have a more limited vocabulary.
True, because the list of commonly used swear words is quite short.  
One of the things a preschooler learns quickly, is the power of newly discovered and clearly spoken swear words, to get the attention of adults!
Most of the swear words used liberally in the English language, can be found on a bathroom wall.
That can be readily observed by anybody learning to use a language other than their own native tongue, as some of the first and best retained words learned in a new language, are swear and insult words!

Swearing is like most bad habits,. easy to acquire but hard to break. It's easy to pick up the habit of swearing just by hearing it all the time in a place such as many workplaces.

When people use swear words all the time as part of regular conversation, then what do they have left to say when they are really angry?

There is one word though, that although considered a swear word, is extremely versatile and flexible enough to be used in a tremendous variety of situations.  

For a refresher course on the most useful word in the English language, here's an educational link, that includes 3 separate choices of sound fiiles should you want to refresh your memory with audio too!
http://www.sigg3.net/myself/fuck.html
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by:JakobA
ID: 19545682
arthurjb >> "I can think of none other than the "N" word that some folks try to claim is ok for usage by one race but is a fighting word if used by someone of another race."

I can. several in fact. Such as Australeans proudly calling eachother convict (but as an outsider I better not call an Australean that). or telling Jew-jokes, but try asking waterstreet is jews tell jew-jokes.

And I suspect the reason in each case is the same, inside the group it is a way of bonding, coming from outside it is an insult.

regards JakobA
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by:Nicola-H
ID: 19546506
arthurjb:
"A word is wrong and should be used by no one, or a word is not wrong and can be used by anyone."

So who decides? There are huge cultural difference when it comes to what is acceptable. Look at the censorship on American music television channels compared to UK censorship, for example. On the US channel I sometimes watch, even phrases like 'nuclear war' are edited out because they are deemed to be offensive. In the UK there are very few words that are censored, particularly after 9pm. As a couple of people have mentioned, there is also the question of content. The word 'nigger' has been used to describe someone who is marginalised and discriminated against - listen to Patti Smith's 'Rock n Roll Nigger' or Marilyn Manson's 'Antichrist Superstar'. It's not used as an insult - on the contrary.

Most of the words that we use had perfectly reasonable and decent meanings originally. They were not created to offend people. Most are only regarded as taboo because some societies have an unhealth  attitude towards sex, the female anatomy, race etc. There is no absolute list of unacceptable words (as patrickab's 'fanny' example demonstrated).

"The other thing about swearing, is that if you have to ask a question like this, (and it is not just for discussion) then your parents did not teach you properly about the use of words."

That assumes that there is a sound means of judging which words are acceptable and which are not. How do you decide? Why is your list more justifiable or logical than mine, or anyone else's? You are making very bold statements about the existence of an absolute morality in language here, but thus far you've provided nothing to back it up.

Is it appropriate for you to tell someone in a completely different culture what they can and can not say, simply because your parents have an opinion on the matter, an opinion which it seems can not be backed up by any logic?


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by:arthurjb
ID: 19552956
Hi Nicola-H

I agree with most of what you have said.  In a culture's use of words it is often hard to identify the choice of words, and in some countries, the words are different than if other countries.

But the point that I have been making in later posts is that having words that are acceptable/unacceptable based on skin color is destroying the civil rights advancements made in the last 50 years.

JakobA I did not know about "convict" but is it a racial thing? Can a black Ausie call another (white or black) that?

I disagree about the jewish part of your comment.  Many groups tell jokes about themselves, yet are offended when a non-group person tells similar jokes.  But I know a lot of jewish folks and I don't hear them using words that they don't want others using, and are offended by derogatory words even when used by other jews.

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by:JakobA
ID: 19553602
Appaently we have latched onto an ongoing debate ;-))
http://www.uclick.com/client/wpc/wpopu/
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by:JakobA
ID: 19553733
"But the point that I have been making in later posts is that having words that are acceptable/unacceptable based on skin color is destroying the civil rights advancements made in the last 50 years."

If that is the point, then i tend to agree. black people using the word nigger polarize opinions just as much as white people do when using the word. For this thread though that is not really on-topic. Nor is the notion that 'bad words' should be racially bad.

And "destroying the civil rights advancements made in the last 50 years." is rather over the top. I see it more as a parallel to gay pride parades where the marchers often act more stereotypically, ridiculously gay than even Jack in Will and Grace. That is to be expected in disadvantaged groups.

The Australean "convict" is entirely cultural and refer to the early use of Australea as a penal colony. A quite large proportion of the early colonists were transported criminals. The aboriginees were there already so they are not included in that.

regards JakobA
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by:nickg5
ID: 19558634
there is nothing wrong with it.........except do not swear in the presence of someone who does not swear or in front of a stranger since you do not know if they approve of swearing or not.
2 or more curse words are in the Bible, so they are not wrong to say.
Each curse word is just a dirty way of saying other words.
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19561086
nickg5  You are mostly correct,
except that there is a class of swear words that are considered blasphemous, if used with a reference to a deity. (such as G** D**)

and

>>2 or more curse words are in the Bible, so they are not wrong to say

I'm not sure your logic is correct.  Several people here have mentioned words that are wrong, just because you see them used doesn't make them right.
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by:rid
ID: 19563292
How can a word be "wrong"? Words are totally neutral in themselves, it's the associations connected to certain words that may be unsavoury, ant those are not the same in all places where the word is used, or for all persons. who use it or hear it. There is no "truth" here, only opinions. Hurting people may be considered wrong, but you can do that just as effectively in BBC english as with cursing and swearing and the aim to hurt is the problem rather than the language in itself.

Guns aren't evil in themselves, it's using them that creates disaster.
/RID
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19570514
rid asks;
>>How can a word be "wrong"?

Your parents and or your culture tell you what is right and wrong.  They also tell you the degree of "Wrongness"

Persons who (knowingly) swear know that it is offensive.  They do it to annoy other folks.

But as you implied, you can unknowingly swear.  For example the word Fanny is not a swear word in the USA , and is even used as a woman's name.  In the UK, a woman named Fanny, would generate giggles among children whenever her name was said...
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by:DanRollins
ID: 19570942
Swearing (at least the use of vulgar words) is the verbal equivallent of defecating on the rug in your neighbor's house.

It means -- or at least implies -- that...
* You could not control yourself -- you're more animal than human.
* You lack empathy: You don't care that the room will smell bad for everybody.
* You crave attention, but lack imagination.
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19571062
Right On !   Dan
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by:rid
ID: 19571874
This may be a language problem; I'm not a native to the english language, but your view (Dan and arthurjb) seem far to fundamentalistic when it comes to right/wrong in this context. I don't agree at all. I suppose that's why we're having a discussion here.

/RID
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by:DanRollins
ID: 19572648
I'm not saying that there are no gray areas.   Consider how stupid and unrealistic a TV drama about criminals would be if the script eliminates all unacceptable words:

   The Sopranos Censored
   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdKAxdyz05Y

So... there is a time and a place.  If you need to empty your bowels, you go into the toilet, and close the door.    If you are in a pub and your hooligan buddies are watching the game, feel free to yell out whatever comes to mind.  If you are providing technical assistance in a workplace environment or if you are engaged in an intellectual discussion about religious principles, you avoid swearing.  It's pretty simple, really.
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by:rid
ID: 19572712
I have no problem with the idea that you should keep a civil language and adjust as necessary to the situation you're in. What I don't really fancy is the notion that words are considered "wrong" (or "right", for that matter) and that one's use of them can be grounds for evaluating your character; like you yourself would be "wrong" because you use a certain word. If words would indeed be "wrong", you'd have a smear on your character even if you use those words in a place where noone cares. It's illogical. The thought of double standards isn't appealing to me. Doing wrong is wrong even if nobody notices. And I don't think words can be globally wrong - they may cause offense in some places and not in others, but that goes for any sort of human behaviour.
/RID
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by:Nicola-H
ID: 19574169
DanRollins:"Swearing (at least the use of vulgar words) is the verbal equivallent of defecating on the rug in your neighbor's house."

Swearing is just the use of words. It does not have any lasting impact because of the words used - it is the intention behind them and the way on which they are used that causes impact. A person can be every bit as offensive without swearing.

Take your comment that people (like me) who swear are 'more animal than human'. This comment is ignorant and offensive and you didn't need to swear.

arthurjb:"Your parents and or your culture tell you what is right and wrong.  They also tell you the degree of "Wrongness""

This makes no sense. My parents swore. Almost every adult and child I have ever met swears. There is swearing on TV, on the radio, and in every playground. I bet every person in this thread has sworn at one time or another. Our culture teaches us to swear. It is regarded as being acceptable enough for it to appear in everything from a TV chat show to a Harry Potter novel. When people tell children not to swear, they are sending a mixed message, and probably guaranteeing that they will start swearing just to be rebellious. If you decide that there is, in fact, nothing wrong with swearing then its power to offend is removed in an instant.

Whether or not you decide to be offended by a word is a personal choice. There is no absolute list of words that are acceptable or unacceptable. You can walk a mile across town and find a completely different attitude towards word usage; and it changes dramatically over time. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' here, just opinion. Why, then, should your opinion about a word be regarded as bieng more important than mine?

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by:dagesi
ID: 19575404
I think swearing kind of falls into 4 categories...
1. Swear words said that are insults of something someone has no control over (race or sex)...
2. Swear words that are nouns and likely to hurt that are not covered in the first category...
3. Swear words that are severe expletives and not covered in the first two categories...
4. Swear words that are mild expletives...

But swearing as an action is a lot like music... it changes and adapts, with parents not being keen on the sorts of things the kids are keen on... ad infinitum... so a great bit of rebellion is involved in swearing...
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by:DanRollins
ID: 19576400
I agree that swearing is "relative" -- vulgarity is acceptable in one context and not another.  

There's nothing new or unusual there... lots of human activity is contextual.  It is "100% wrong" to shoot a man to death (unless you are defending your life or your children, etc.).  It is "perfectly right" to talk about a movie (unless you are in the theater and doing so distrurbs others sitting near you).  It is 100% wrong to urinate on the livingroom floor, but perfectly acceptable to do so in the toilet.  It's dead "wrong" to start a fire in a house (except in the fireplace).  Etc., etc.

Context is important in nearly everything.  
The ability to recognize when you are in a context where vulgarity is acceptable is one that every civilized human should have.   But because it can sometimes be difficult, the best policy is "If you're not sure, then don't do it."
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19579312
>>This makes no sense. My parents swore. Almost every adult and child I have ever met swears. There is swearing on TV, on the radio, and in every playground.

Just because people do something, doesn't make it correct.

There are millions of thieves, and almost everyone will admit to lies sometime in their live.

In fact the correct thing is often the hardest thing to do.

>>If words would indeed be "wrong", you'd have a smear on your character even if you use those words in a place where noone cares. It's illogical. The thought of double standards isn't appealing to me. Doing wrong is wrong even if nobody notices.


You are correct that people should not swear even in private, since it is wrong.

People justify their thievery and lying with the same logic, "If nobody notices, then I didn't do wrong."

So rid, you are slowly see the path of enlightenment!  Don't swear in public or private..


The fact that some words are vulgar in some cultures and not in other is a given.

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by:SunBow
ID: 19579924
:-))
> What exactly is wrong with swearing?
I swear I dunno
I swear to do so your honor
I swear do you
I swear to respect flags and as good citizens swear to obey all officers of the lands
I swear by this ring I thee wed
I swear I'll be your friend for life
          (er, who's? nevermind)
--------------------------------a Grammy in 1995 ----------------------------------------

I swear by the moon and the stars in the skies
I swear like the shadow that's by your side

I see the questions in your eyes
I know what's weighing on your mind
You can be sure I know my part
Cuz I stand beside you through the years
You'll only cry those happy tears
And though I make mistakes, I'll never break your heart

I swear by the moon and the stars in the skies, I'll be there
I swear, like the shadow that's by your side, I'll be there
For better or worse, till death do us part
I'll love you with every beat of my heart
And I swear
Ooo

I'll give you everything I can
I'll build your dreams with these two hands
We'll hang some memories on the walls
And when (and when) just the two of us are there
You won't have to ask if I still care
Cuz as the time turns the page
My love won't age at all

And I swear (I swear) by the moon and the stars in the sky, I'll be there
I'll be there
I swear (and I swear) like the shadow that's by your side
I'll be there (I'll be there)
For better or worse, till death do us part
I'll love you with every beat of my heart
Oh, I swear
(Oh, yeah)

I swear (I swear) by the moon and the stars in the sky, I'll be there
I'll be there
I swear like the shadow that's by your side, I'll be there
I'll be there
For better or worse (better or worse), till death do us part
(Oh, no)
I'll love you with every single beat of my heart
I swear
(I swear)
Oh, I swear

Posted by: Stephanie - Thurmont, MD http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=3325
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by:SunBow
ID: 19579926
So was that a lot of swearing in or what!
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by:SunBow
ID: 19580052
> I would be very interested to hear how people have arrived at their own 'naughty list' of words.

Anyone mention George Carlin yet?

> so how do you decide which words are OK and which ones are bad?

Did you get slapped? Don't call me honey, honey, don't call me sugar, sugar, and I am not your BABY <ka-whack>

It is a touchy feely game, rehter than be bigshot say anything, observe and learn and adapt, for as you say, we be different, hard to find any two alike. What is unwise these days is to experiment in writing. A slap for verbal comment (not abuse) is less painful.

> What is the harm in allowing people to express themselves in whatever manner they see fit?

um I dunno, do you ever care to communicate with another?

<  asked this question on a newsgroup a while back and was told

I agree but only part of the story, small beans, no bananas

> (a) seems like a bizarre assumption because people who swear a lot are often perfectly capable of making a valid point amongst the swearing.

I disagree. A choice of word can add some level of emphasis. Do it again and I am sorry, I bore easily. My disagreement is with "a lot" - which is too often abusive, go relieve yourself elsewhere or with another

> Do any moral arguments carry weight when the acceptable limit changes with each generation?

There are good moral arguments, but I doubt I could agree with some fire/brimstone approach.

> examples of acceptable or unacceptable language

Try to not do latter if you think it is, Too many searches and filters these days, unless you want your name placed higher on the list

>  I have no idea if EE have an official list of banned words,

True, not complete, was once work in progress but as far as text goes, you are unfiltered but can be edited. Personal judgement. Of many persons.

Also - how about

List of acceptable words?

Consider, some filters have censored word like 'liberal', the "L"-word.

++++++++++++++++++

nickg5,

> If you think about it, each curse word is a subsitute for more acceptable words. The acceptable words are ok.

Disagree. I agree in genral, and that we do well to head that route but what is this one, say it aloud to all?:
            
The two look anticipating into each others eyes as it nears time to retire for day and they are acting giddy

Each says to other:
      Now I am so ________ I want to ________ _________ you
      Let's ___________
      I really want to get _________

> Ex. the opposite of Heaven is (        ). This word is in the Bible.

Ok, I try - from the good book, the opposite is valley
Heaven's above upthe hills, valley is below

> Ex: cow manure is the acceptable word

Not really, as far as title goes

*Mistake*
Bang thumb with hammer
      "Ouch"
[four letter word]
But in pain you want to say "Oh manure!!!"
(sure about that?)

er, I do not really think the word substitution really works out all the time

> Ex: An exclamation of frustration

reminds me of one I've tried but haven't worked out well.

[OW!]
say:            "Oh, Expletive Deleted!"

> Ex: An exclamation of frustration could be said with the word ___

Try getting out of four letter mode, as a cheat I tried first three, but does that one not also convey reasonable message?
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by:SunBow
ID: 19580127
Given time, my next steps would continue along lines I see of JakobA, in that it can be unwise to use a word or phrase, but that does not make it a swear word or a curse.

Example can be name calling. That is not respectful any word used, no list needed. I mean derogatory not pet name or nickname, "You Liberal!" That choice gets one little.

Not so unlike the "I swear" comment is the curse (not cuss), using words to harm. Does not matter so the word choice there, cursing someone to oblivion is not too friendly

Name calling in limited sense not too good. Ever have someone call you somethine sweet, and not getting a bigger smile or flirt?

Choice or words to blacklist vary and list remains subjective, but as I recall the feds monitoring the airwaves at least once posted a list of every word they have decided to object to. Or rather, they did not identify word, they provided entire transcript of being innapprroappriatte usage. (beware of spelling that one correctly, it was on the watchlist at least through yesterday.

patrickab > word in Carlin's extended list -

I want the later list. Dirty words were for bad  evil clubs. He cleaned it for prime time live. I used to remember half the words. THe routine was as good if not better than the dirtier one. But he had multiple lists, I think I am getting filtered to only the crude ones.

Here is one example the the list of words that could not be said:

                            armpit

Ever see or hear that one broadcast? Well, I mean back when, I haven't been in touch with the latest modernizations to sluticize it all

Word choices also gender specific. George once noticed that they say horses sweat but you guys shouldn't tell the gals they sweat. Oh turnaround was fairplay, the boys may perspire but they do get told they sweat either

Can a male say this word: "fabulous"
Does he want to hear that he is pretty? From which gender/age/religion/etc
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by:SunBow
ID: 19580148
> As for (b), knowing more swear words

Missed it. Restating. More words is better, I agree. Observation is that many latch on to just a one or two word selection, with few other words in between. I'd call that 'crude' when having to endure that. Doesn't that sort of make you want to increase distance to source of noise? I mean, if neither you not your date is the source. OK, maybe date as well, but not mate, right?
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by:Nicola-H
ID: 19581000
arthurjb:"Just because people do something, doesn't make it correct."

Quite so - but just because you do not like something does not make it incorrect. That is my point. You say that swearing is wrong, even when there is nobody else around to be offended by it, but you can not define 'swearing' because it is different in every cultural group; and you can not even say why it is wrong.

"People justify their thievery and lying with the same logic, "If nobody notices, then I didn't do wrong.""

That is not a useful comparison because stealing is rarely a victimless crime. Someone suffers for it. If I swear in an empty room, it has no negative effect on anyone. It might relieve some stress, so the only effects might be positive.How can something that only has a positive effect be wrong? How are you defining 'wrong' here? Wrong according to who?

I just don't see why we should always censor our behaviour in order to avoid offending others. People say things that I find offensive, but surely freedom of speech is more important than catering for the over-sensitive minority? We're not talking about a majority here - which suggests a certain amount of hypocrisy in all of this opposition to swearing. If you do something yourself on a regular basis, and everyone else in your society is doing it, perhaps it's not wrong after all.
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by:rid
ID: 19581045
It certainly seems to me that some people think swearing is "wrong" because it's a "sin", and therefore wrong. I don't cater to that notion. Insulting or hurting other people is wrong, but you can do that without swearing (as demonstrated earlier); also, swearing may not hurt anyone and then it's really quite neutral, at least in my view.

Of course I realise that the use of uncultivated or rude language may convey a picture of the speaker that isn't wholly beneficial to his/her reputation, but that is in the hands of the speaker. If you want to make impressions, you must understand communication -in all its varieties- and you must understand what to say in which company.
/RID
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by:daleoran
ID: 19582271
Wow, what a thread. I want to make one point about swearing, in particular the word "nigger", and censorship. Yes I know the word has caused alot of heated debates across the internet but I came across one act of censorship involving the word that I couldn't believe.
I recently watched the film 'The Dam Busters' on UK television. Now for anyone who doesn't know this particular piece of history 'nigger' was the name of Guy Gibson's dog and also the codeword for the breaching of the German dams. During the film the two times that I know of (there may have been others) that the word was used it was censored either voiced over or cut completely.
This is a 1955, a time when the word was acceptable (so I lead to believe) but it is now a part of history. Is it right that it was cut? Is this political correctness working overtime?

On another note:
patrickab
As far as I know the work 'twat' is also slang for vagina in the UK (it does where I leave)
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by:SunBow
ID: 19582824
http://blue.usps.gov/pac/uspstv/welcome.htm 07/23/07

Senate Committee OKs FCC Oversight of "Fleeting Profanities"
 
(Broadcasting & Cable) _ The Senate Commerce Committe approved a bill last

Thursday that would give the commission the authority to regulate "fleeting

profanities."

The bill, sponsored by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), is intended to

reverse a recent federal appeals court ruling that challenged the FCC's indecency

regime.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that the FCC had not

justified why it had changed long-standing policy in ruling that a fleeting

profanity was indecent. The ruling was a victory for broadcasters, who had

challenged the commission's March 2006 indecency fines.

Rockefeller has long been critical of broadcasters on the issue of indecency. His

Protecting Children From Indecent Programming Act would "require the FCC, in

enforcing its regulations concerning the broadcast of indecent programming, to

maintain a policy that a single word or image may be considered indecent."

In a statement Thursday, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin praised the vote, which he said

"affirmed the commission's ability to protect our children from indecent language

and images on television and radio. Significantly, members of Congress stated once

again what we on the commission and every parent already knows; even a single word

or image can indeed be indecent."

Copyright © 2007 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All

rights reserved.

http://www.thecelebritycafe.com/features/11103.html 

Senate Committee Approves Bill Overturning Court Ruling on Obscenity
22-Jul-2007
Written by: Jacob Gordon

The FCC is anxious to protect children from indecency, but critics of the bill

say it addresses a non-issue.

A few weeks ago, a court decision effectively barred the FCC from firing

broadcasters for using fleeting expletives in live broadcasts. On Thursday, the

Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)

that would effectively overturn that ruling. FCC chairman Kevin Martin was

pleased, saying the bill would affirm the commission's ability to protect our

children from indecent language and images. (Martin did not specify what exactly

constitutes indecent.) But Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National

Association of Broadcasters, resented what he saw as the bills implication that

broadcasters have potty mouths: [broadcasters] go to great lengths to prevent

[indecent] language, and it is disingenuous to suggest otherwise. And Nick

Gillespie, editor-in-chief of the libertarian Reason magazine, suggested that

Congress would do better to concern themselves with issues such as terrorism and

poverty, saying, This helps explain why congressional approval ratings are at 14

percent and going down. 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/television/news/e3i3d0f320aaf6

dea31398cce9fdeaeb279


Martin says FCC's fairness doctrine dead
By Brooks Boliek

July 27, 2007

WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the FCC sought to assure lawmakers that he isn't

planning to have the commission reinstate the so-called "fairness doctrine." In a

letter to Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., that was made public Thursday, FCC chairman

Kevin Martin said the agency found no compelling reason to revisit its 1987

decision that enforcing the federal rule was not in the public interest.

"Discussion of controversial issues over the airwaves has flourished absent

regulatory constraints, and the public now enjoys access to an ever-expanding

range of views and opinions. Indeed, with the continued proliferation of

additional sources of information and programming, including satellite

broadcasting and the Internet, the need for the fairness doctrine has lessened

ever further since 1987," Martin wrote. "In short, I see no compelling reason to

reinstate the fairness doctrine in today's broadcast environment."

Some notable Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., have reportedly suggested that Congress needs

to resurrect the FCC doctrine

Republicans contend that Democratic ire at conservative talk radio and other

conservative ....

The fairness doctrine was largely criticized as actually enforcing unfairness as

it allowed the government to define what was fair. While aspects of the doctrine

have been questioned by the courts, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the FCC's

authority to enforce the doctrine in 1969.

In August 1987, the FCC abolished the doctrine by a 4-0 vote, saying that it had

grown to inhibit rather than enhance debate and suggested that because of the many

media voices in the marketplace at the time, the doctrine was perceived to be

unconstitutional.

Congress attempted to restore the doctrine in 1987, but the legislation was vetoed

by President Reagan. A second attempt to resurrect the doctrine in 1991 was

derailed when President George H.W. Bush threatened another veto.

                              -(etc)-

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117968292.html?categoryid=18&cs=1

Brownback offers boost to FCC
Senator tries to increase unit's authority
By WILLIAM TRIPLETT
 
WASHINGTON -- Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, a contender for the 2008 GOP presidential

nomination, will make an effort to explicitly grant the Federal Communications

Commission authority over fleeting expletives on the broadcast airwaves --

authority a federal appellate court recently said the agency does not have.

The senior lawmaker plans to attach to a finance bill amendments that would extend

FCC indecency authority over "excessively violent content" and inadvertent

broadcast of expletives uttered even just once in passing.

The agency had cited Fox for two live broadcasts that included the words "fuck"

and "shit" that awards show guests uttered fleetingly. But the U.S. Second Circuit

Court of Appeals rebuked the commission, saying it lacked such authority, and thus

vacated the FCC citations.

The 2-1 decision held that legal precedent governing broadcast indecency exempted

fleeting language or images that might otherwise be deemed indecent. If ultimately

passed by Congress and signed by President Bush, the fleeting-expletive amendment

would essentially invalidate the court's decision.

It was unclear what would constitute
.......

http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/07-12-2007/

0004624749&EDATE=

More Than Half of Adult Americans Say the FCC Should Have Authority to Fine Major

TV Networks for Airing a Single Expletive

Agree (total strongly agree and somewhat agree):           52%

Robert W. Peters, President of Morality in Media, commented:
    "There is a perception on the part of many in the secular entertainment
and news media that because they, along with many in their circle of
friends or co-workers, curse with impunity, most everyone else must do
likewise, or at least not be bothered too much by it.
    "There is also a perception that our nation's founding fathers put
their lives, fortunes and sacred honor on the line so that those in the
media could curse up a storm, not only in the workplace but also in front
of microphones that send filthy language unsolicited into tens of millions
of homes.
    "There is also a perception that many federal judges agree with them,
which is why broadcast TV networks sued in federal court challenging
various FCC determinations that the broadcasters violated the broadcast
indecency law and challenging the constitutionality of the law itself, a
law that has been on the books since 1927 and that has been upheld by the
Supreme Court.
    "In one of those lawsuits, the TV networks argued that the FCC had no
authority to fine a network for airing a 'fleeting expletive,' and last
month two federal Court of Appeals judges seemed to agree with them.
Furthermore, the two judges seemed to think the FCC no longer has authority
to fine a broadcaster, even if the broadcaster airs curse words
continuously.
    "The truth is that while many Americans may on occasion utter an
expletive, most adults also understand that cursing or swearing is not
acceptable behavior, especially around children. In other words, unlike TV
networks, most adult Americans still have some standards.
    "The truth also is that the First Amendment was never intended to endow
the media with a right to curse whenever, wherever and however it wants,
and as much as it wants.
    "This is not to say that the FCC should fine a broadcast licensee
whenever an expletive is uttered over the airwaves. In the 1978 FCC v.
Pacifica case, the Supreme Court observed that the FCC's decision in that
case 'rested entirely on a nuisance rationale under which context is
all-important.'
    "It is to say that to give broadcasters a 'right' to curse at least
once in every program borders on madness, and to give broadcasters an
unlimited right to curse crosses that border."

http://www2.ljworld.com/blogs/brownback_report/2007/jul/11/brownback_report/

On June 4, a divided 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the FCCs ruling that

the Fox Television Networks airing of profanities by Cher and Nicole Richie

during the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards amounted to indecency. The court

also questioned the FCCs decision that Bonos words uttered during NBCs telecast

of the 2003 Golden Globe Awards constituted indecency. Another appellate court in

September is to hear a challenge to the FCCs fine of CBS stations in the wake of

2004s Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident. The appellate court decision was seen as

a major win for broadcasters, but that victory could be taken away by Sen.

Brownbacks proposed amendment.

U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed as a federal judge a woman who attended a same-sex

commitment ceremony, overwhelmingly rejecting the concerns of a Republican senator

running for the White House. The vote was 83-4 in favor of elevating Michigan

state judge Janet Neff to federal district court. Neff in 2002 attended a same-sex

commitment ceremony for the daughter of long-time neighbors. Sen. Sam Brownback of

Kansas last year blocked President George W. Bush's nomination of Neff, citing her

attendance at the event.

More than 50 religious conservatives in Iowa will lead an effort to convince

Republicans to support presidential candidate Sam Brownback. In a statement,

Brownback said the conservatives "share my goal to rebuild the family and renew

the culture" and could play an important role in his bid for the GOP nomination.

Chuck Hurley, a former state legislator and a leader among the state's religious

conservatives, will head Brownback's "Faith and Family" committee.

Sen. Sam Brownback has won one of the straw polls in Iowa

http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/BPnews.asp?ID=26112

In June a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York

rejected FCC decisions that the uses of obscene language in live programs on Fox

Channel in 2002 and 2003 were indecent. With its 2-1 ruling, the judges sent the

case back to the FCC to give the agency an opportunity to explain its reasoning

further.

The FCC had decided live Fox broadcasts of the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music

Awards programs violated decency standards by use of the F-word and/or S-word. The

decisions followed a ruling by the FCC that a single use of the F-word on the 2003

Golden Globes Awards on NBC was indecent. That marked a change in policy for the

commission, which had previously relied on a requirement that the use of an

expletive must be more than fleeting.

The Second Circuit majority ruled the FCC's revised policy "represents a

significant departure from positions previously taken by the agency and relied on

by the broadcast industry." Judge Pierre Leval dissented, however, calling the

revision a "relatively modest change" and saying the FCC provided a "reasoned

explanation."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3i7837c6a14057a06231496bbf83e0f831

Under federal court rulings and commission rules, material is indecent if it "in context, depicts or describes sexual or excretory activities or organs in a patently offensive manner as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium." Indecent speech can be aired safely between 10 p.m.-6 a.m.

http://macyapper.blogspot.com/2007/06/fcc-loses-hoorah-edition.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/05/business/media/05decency.html?hp

WASHINGTON, June 4  If President Bush and Vice President Cheney can blurt out vulgar language, then the government cannot punish broadcast television stations for broadcasting the same words in similarly fleeting contexts.

That, in essence, was the decision on Monday, when a federal appeals panel struck down the government policy that allows stations and networks to be fined if they broadcast shows containing obscene language.

Although the case was primarily concerned with what is known as fleeting expletives, or blurted obscenities, on television, both network executives and top officials at the Federal Communications Commission said the opinion could gut the ability of the commission to regulate any speech on television or radio.

Kevin J. Martin, the chairman of the F.C.C., said that the agency was now considering whether to seek an appeal before all the judges of the appeals court or to take the matter directly to the Supreme Court.

MacYapper - It's about time these guardians of the public morality got knocked off of their high horse. Bono accidentally blurting out "fucking" is not going to change anyone's life for the better or worse. President Bush uttering an audible "shit" is not going to send anyone down the road to h-e-double-toothpicks in a handbakset.

Although I'm afraid if it does go all the way to SUPCO that the new evil 5-4 majority will put teeth back in the FCC pantywaste policy.

MacYapper - I've always been dubious about this "public owns the airwaves" bullshit that allows the government to say screw the first amendment, we're in charge of what language is appropriate.

Anyway, short term victory for those of us not scared shitless if so-called dirty words. But then my father was a WW II vet who swore like a drunken sailor. Or some other metaphor that's more appropriate that is escaping me.

NYTIMES.COM:
Adopting an argument made by lawyers for NBC, the judges then cited examples in which Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney had used the same language that would be penalized under the policy. Mr. Bush was caught on videotape last July using a common vulgarity that the commission finds objectionable in a conversation with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. Three years ago, Mr. Cheney was widely reported to have muttered an angry obscene version of get lost to Senator Patrick Leahy on the floor of the United States Senate.

We find that the F.C.C.s new policy regarding fleeting expletives fails to provide a reasoned analysis justifying its departure from the agencys established practice, said the panel.

Macyapper - Remember when Cheney told Pat Leahy to go fuck himself? And we've already reviewed the Bush "shit" moment. If it's OK for our noble leaders of the free world, it's ok for the rest of us. We can handle it. Even the kids won't immediately go rob a bank. Relax. Jesus.
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by:DanRollins
ID: 19582893
re patrickab's thinking that "twat" just means "idiot" ...

I recall from middleschool days there was a guy who was fond of calling other guys "peckerhead" always in jest, and it certainly got laughs.   I thought it was so hilarious that (kidding around one day) I called my brother a "peckerhead" in the presence of my mother.

She quietly took me aside and explained that  "pecker" is another word for penis...  And that I probably ought not use that particular word in public...

As to "censoring history" (e.g., removing the word "nigger" from a documentary film about something that took place in the 50s):

I think it's understandable.  They removed it for the same reason they'd remove the word "f*ck" -- hearing it would offend some viewers.

BTW, my grandfather's coal-black dog was named "nidderBOY!" (where one might sort of intentionally "mispronounce" the g's with d's, or one might not).   They thought nothing of it at the time (late 50's, early 60's) but now when the family gets together to look at old photos and 8mm film, everybody is a little uncomfortable when that dog's in the picture :-)
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19583429
SunBow,  I was going to complain about your postings about song lyrics, then I saw several pages of documents that you just should have linked to.

I understand your desire to be accurate, but you should just post excerpts, and maybe links to the original documents.  But this is Experts Exchange, and one of the defining parts of being an expert is being able to distill the information down.

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by:-Mystique-
ID: 19589302
===Most of the words that we use had perfectly reasonable and decent meanings originally

This is very true.  And words that seem unacceptable in one language, are correct terms in other languages.  Imagine for example, if your native language was Spanish, not English.  The correct term for "black" in Spanish is "negro".   The letter "e" is pronounced with the same sound as short "e" in English, not the long "e" sound.  So the word negro in spanish would sound like neh-gro...  It's easy to see how the word "nigger" could have possibly derived from the Spanish word for black!

Also, I've found out from personal experience, that wherever two racial groups live side by side, they seem to want to use derogatory racial insults toward each other.  I remember vividly when I was introduced to an inner city Native American/Black/Hispanic neighborhood, and my hosts said this is TimberNigger land (a joke referring to their own group of friends and family being Chippewa), down the road is Little Mexico and across the street is Little Africa as ways to distinguish where most of the Mexicans lived and where most Blacks lived in that area.  On the Chippewa reservations my friends come from, white people living around the rez call the Chippewas "timber niggers".  In states where there are reservations, such prejudices against Native Americans are common, in Indiana which is a non-reservation state, one rarely sees such slurs toward Native Americans used (and in Indiana I witnessed a different form of such discrimination between white people who were of North ancestry insulting  white people who were from southern states such as Kentucky and Tennessee, terms such as "hiijacks, hillbillies, rednecks, hillbilly trash, etc." )  
I've heard whites who lived near Plains tribes, refer to the Plains Indians/Native Americans, as prairie niggers.  One can go into Yahoo chatrooms for Arabs, Islam rooms, etc, anytime and hear the Muslims or Middle Eastern people in those rooms being called "sand niggers" by other people who have gone to chat to stir up animosity, etc.  
"Trailer trash" is another example of a common derogatory term used to refer to people who live in mobile homes.
The thing that is usually left unsaid though, is that these derogatory terms usually refer not just to racial characteristics, but just as much, or even more, to negative behavioral characteristics.  
I imagine almost everyone has heard someone talk about "Niggers' and asked that person if they considered someone mutually known, who was black and an upstanding decent citizen who behaved in ways society approves of, if the person calling people "Nigger" thought that the black person both know, is a "Nigger" too, and the name caller quickly says "Oh No, he's not a Nigger" and then goes on to explain all the positive attributes that the mutually respected black person possesses that keeps him from fitting the derogatory term.  
Most often, the term "Nigger" really doesn't even mean black, as much as it means a lazy, usually insolent with bad attitude and quick temper, possibly iimmoral or drug/alcohol addicted  person who expects everything to be handed to them while making no effort to attain anything for him/herself.  Its not uncommon to even hear people refer to someone who isn't of any dark race, as being a "nigger" because of negative behavioral characteristics.
Conversely, blacks often call each other "nigger" as a friendly word, often as part of a greeting.  
Just as bad or worse, but with much less public outcry being made over them, are terms that originated as insults, such as "ho", "bitch" etc, that are becoming commonly used slang to refer to girls in general.
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by:Nicola-H
ID: 19592268
rid:"It certainly seems to me that some people think swearing is "wrong" because it's a "sin", and therefore wrong."

That adds a religious angle to the censorship, which is presumably of no relevance to people like me who do not believe in the concept of sin (beyond it being a list of things the church doesn't want you to do - but that just makes me want to do them more often).

"Of course I realise that the use of uncultivated or rude language may convey a picture of the speaker that isn't wholly beneficial to his/her reputation"

That's a good point. I think it should be a question of personal preference and judgement, and if it makes you unpopular with certain people then so be it. It's a question of making an informed decision and accepting the consequences of that.

SunBow's litigation example is disturbing. As soon as we start allowing our morality to be dictated by the most uptight, conservative members of society, we're screwed.

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by:DanRollins
ID: 19593829
Morality has *always* been dictated by the most uptight conservative members of society.  Morality is generally defined as a list of prohibited actions.  And prohibitions are much easier to define and legislate and litigate ("Thou shalt not...").

Sometimes people rebel against prohibitions and controls, but often they embrace them.   I think that there is an underlying reason why people allow "uptight, conservative" people to define what is and is not acceptable.  It might relate to the stability of a society.  Certain rules, such a prohibition of murder, theft, etc.  make for stable, successful societies.  The opposite (throwing out the rulebook) is anarchy, where the the stable foundations of the society get eroded and the society fails.  

In the middle, there is this large area of "rules of lesser importance" (such as prohibition against vulgarity) where the battleground lies.  I think it is a series of small battles where the ultimate question is:  Will we be a more conservative society (with a larger chance of ultimate success), or will be a more permissive society (with a larger chance of failing)?  

Tiny changes, such as allowing certain words to be spoken on broadcast TV, have a miniscule effect on that... they might increase the chance of society failing by, say, 0.0001%  But that is offset by (and balanced against) the obvious benefits of personal liberties -- which has been shown to have a very positive effect in the success of modern societies.
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by:rid
ID: 19594275
There is a big difference between having laws, decided upon by a body of people whom you can elect or reject, and "laws" put down by unknown men or women in ancient times but still today regarded an marketed as absolute truth. Some conservatism and inertia is good, rigor mortis isn't. Rules have to change as the world itself changes.

Anarchy, by the way, isn't about throwing out the rulebook, although it is some sort of popular interpretation. Basically it is about rejecting any kind of "rule from above" and living by socially accepted rules. There is also a political angle with it, but that I won't go into.
/RID
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by:rid
ID: 19595903
Interesting.

A seemingly inocent Q about swearing has evolved into something else and much bigger, at least in my view. It's a pity I'm not native to english as I feel strongly about some of the comments here.

I'll never accept rules that I haven't been given the chance to have a say in. I'll dodge them at best and do any tweaking needed to have them fit my conscience, but there's a limit somewhere... I'll never accept any Old Testament-style framework for my life. I hope my country will never accept ANY religiously-tainted legislation (no matter WHAT religion!). I dearly like to believe that each woman and man can decide for themselves how they want to express their thoughts, verbally or otherwise and then live by the results because they have been able to make an educated decision. Rules without motivation are empty shells and not worth the space they occupy or the paper they're written upon. I'll strive to  never, ever be in a situation where I'd be tempted to say that I "only followed orders"... If man can't be allowed to think for himself, well, what have we? Sheep?
/RID
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19597111
>>That's a good point. I think it should be a question of personal preference and judgement, and if it makes you unpopular with certain people then so be it. It's a question of making an informed decision and accepting the consequences of that.


That might be a good decision if it was an informed decision.  But, since swearing is a sign of ignorance, then by definition it is not likely an informed decision.

Like so many decisions in a person's life most are mad uninformed or poorly informed.  The biggest example being drug use, the second being tattoos, and the third being proper language usage.

Bad decisions on all three can destroy a person's life, or at the very least limit their income possibilities.
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by:JakobA
ID: 19597693
>>  "But, since swearing is a sign of ignorance"

Ahem, that is your postulate. You will need to support it with evidence before it is acceptable as an argument. Personally I have met well educated and articulate swearers about as often as ill educated and inarticulate swearers. Looks more like a cultural thing to me.

regards JakobA
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19597711
If you look up the swear words in most dictionary's they will have a notation indicating that the words are vulgar.

vulgar is listed as, lacking in cultivation, perception, or taste : COARSE b : morally crude, undeveloped, or unregenerate

most of those words indicate ignorance.
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by:Nicola-H
ID: 19599255
arthurjb:"most of those words indicate ignorance."

Ignorance of what? You keep making claims like this which you seem to be unwilling to back up. Saying a word does not cause information to leak out of my brain, so how am I ignorant of something?

You can not even state why swearing is 'wrong'. Rather than simply adopting a viewpoint that has been foisted upon you by your parents, try starting with the assumption that swearing is fine, and see if you can come up with anything logical to refute that. This is, after all, a philosophy forum. rid is absolutely bang on - blindly accepting rules is not the best approach to living. It just means we inherit the mistakes of the last generation.

DanRollins:Morality has *always* been dictated by the most uptight conservative members of society.  Morality is generally defined as a list of prohibited actions.  And prohibitions are much easier to define and legislate and litigate ("Thou shalt not...")."

Morality is not a list of actions. We have inherent morality which is unrelated to rules and laws, and which we share with many other social species.

"In the middle, there is this large area of "rules of lesser importance" (such as prohibition against vulgarity) where the battleground lies.  I think it is a series of small battles where the ultimate question is:  Will we be a more conservative society (with a larger chance of ultimate success), or will be a more permissive society (with a larger chance of failing)?  "

Why are you assuming that conservatism leads to greater success? That is not the case with science. If we left  it to the conservative, right-wing Christians of America for example, biology lessons would consist of a few quick readings of Genesis, and America would fast become one of the most intellectually backward countries in the world. At the moment it still has some of the best scientists and universities, but that could well change if the hard-line conservatives are allowed to dictate government policy. How is a flexible, advancing society 'failing'?

I also don't see how permissiveness in general leads to failure. I would much rather live in a society which is more tolerant of other races and other sexual preferences, for example, than in a 'conservative' country where they are persecuted. There are many people who believe I should be persecuted for my lack of religious beliefs - would you hand them control? I also place a high value on freedom of speech, a concept which supports the use of any sort of language.

I do not believe that we generally allow the extreme end of conservatism to control what is acceptable in society. The extreme end in the USA is a literal interpretation of Biblical law and a return to the Inquisition. I think we have a balance between liberals and conservatives which keeps both extremes in check. Most of our laws fall somewhere in between.
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by:DanRollins
ID: 19599579
>>You can not even state why swearing is 'wrong'.

Actually, I can, rather comprehensively.  Here's a simple example of why vulgarity is wrong:

You are in at the Music Center listening to a Mozart symphony.  You are swept away by the beauty of it.   During one movement, you actually weep.  Then in the most thrilling passage, the guy next you you says "F^ck a PIG! Oh SH%T!" (for whatever reason).

Can you see how that would debase the experience?  Humans appreciate the intelligence behind great works of art.  A Shakesperean sonnet makes us experience beautiful emotions.  A great play or film can enlighten and bring us great joy or elicite sweetly poignant saddness.

Vulgarity can do only one thing:  Bring the listener back to the basest features of human existance.

We don't bring up DIARREHA at the dinner table.
And the reasons we don't are obvious to everyone I've ever known.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
To me, seeing vulgarity in an EE post is akin to seeing a piece of litter while hiking on an otherwise beautiful mountain trail.  It is jarring.   It spoils the experience.   The person who carelessly threw it down did me a disservice and did a disservice to everybody who later walks that trail.  And he could so easily have avoided littering the trail that one almost has to assume that he did it *intentionally* -- just a vandal who wants to destroy the experience for others.
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by:Nicola-H
ID: 19599721
DanRollins:"To me, seeing vulgarity in an EE post is akin to seeing a piece of litter while hiking on an otherwise beautiful mountain trail. It is jarring.   It spoils the experience.  The person who carelessly threw it down did me a disservice and did a disservice to everybody who later walks that trail."

If a piece of litter on a mountain path offends me I pick it up and move on. If you decide to allow your entire experience to be ruined by something so trivial, you are damaging yourself. Your reaction is out of proportion to the offence.

"And he could so easily have avoided littering the trail that one almost has to assume that he did it *intentionally* -- just a vandal who wants to destroy the experience for others."

That does not explain why it is morally wrong. It explains why you, personally, do not like it. How can that explanation be an absolute proof of it's wrongness if my response is not a negative one at all? It's subjective.

Also, you are using an extreme context with the concert. If swearing is totally wrong then it should not be context-specific. Arthurjb believes that it is wrong to swear in an empty room, so at least his idea of 'wrong' is consistent (event though he can not justify it). Move your example to a boxing match and the response is very different. The language has not changed but the setting has - and suddenly swearing is perfectly acceptable and widespread.

There are places where swearing would be socially inapproriate, but that does not make it wrong in every context.

It's also inaccurate and overblown to decide that anyone who swears in here is deliberately trying to 'destroy the experience for others'. Do you honestly believe that is my intention when I swear? A single word in a post means that I am trying to ruin the site, despite the fact that other people did not find it offensive at all?

Why should things that happen to be offensive to you be wrong, when things that happen to be offensive to me are perfectly acceptable? What gives your the right to decide, to make a better moral decision? People who do not swear are in a minority in this society, so why should their view be the prevalent one? Do you think Harry Potter books should be censored?

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by:angus_young_acdc
ID: 19601228
Yes but you can also compare it, albeit in a loose way, to racist/sectarian comments.  Many people find them perfectly acceptable and use them regular however they are still vulgar words like most swearing.  We live in a politically correct "moral" society based on what is acceptable and what is not and swearing is considered inappropriate, much like getting your tackle out in a public park is also unwanted based on what society has put upon us.

"Do you think Harry Potter books should be censored?"
Not really related but I do mainly because I can't stand those books hehe.
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by:JakobA
ID: 19602563
>> You are in at the Music Center listening to a Mozart symphony.  You are swept away by
>> the beauty of it.   During one movement, you actually weep.  Then in the most thrilling
>> passage, the guy next you you says "F^ck a PIG! Oh SH%T!" (for whatever reason).
>>

You know that actually happened to me once. There i was, eyes closed floating in the music, when suddenly "Oh Alfred, such ineffable musical genius, did you notice the synergy between woodwinds and percussion it that last movement, ..."

I could have strangled the bitch ;-)

regards JakobA
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by:dagesi
ID: 19602631
Of course, that's making it seem like there's too fine of a point there...
Wouldn't you have almost the same reaction when the guy in front of you pulls a bag of chips out of his coat and starts munching on them?  Or the lady behind you answers the cellphone she left on and has a nice LONG conversation...?
So seems to me it's not the swearing per se so much as the discordance with the "environment".
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by:DanRollins
ID: 19602771
Nicola-H,
Of course there is nothing wrong with swearing in an empty room.  I do it myself when I swing a hammer and hit my thumb; that is, when I temporarily and unexpectedly lose control of my higher reasoning centers.

We avoid swearing, particularly vulgarity, in certain contexts because we have empathy for those around us.  If we are in a concert hall listening to uplifting music, we know that using some words could spoil it for someone else ("Watch your tongue, buddy...  There's a LADY in the room!").  

But if we are in a place where there is nobody who will get offended, it hardly matters.  

I say hardly, because even in a situation where nobody will be specifically "offended," using foul language in, for instance, a business meeting, "tips your hand."  The others in the room instantly know that you lack self-control and/or lack the ability to express yourself without avoiding a few specific nonessential words.  Even when you don't offend anyone, you lose respect.  

Others think less of you.  I'd say that's reason enough to avoid it, all by itself.  You might say "I don't care about the respect of others" and that's a fine sentiment.  But in the business world, that equates to lost sales, missed promotions, etc.

I also say "hardly" because if you get into the habit of cussing in an empty room, you will find it much more difficult to avoid cussing and vulgarity in contexts where it is socially unacceptable.  

I also think that using foul language pollutes your own mind... like having dog feces in the drinking water.   If you are always saying and thinking about the product of bowel movements, then how can ever expect to be able to explore the more beautiful, cerebal aspects of the human condition?

Of course that last admonition is advisory.  If your thinking system is so poluted that you miss out on the best things in life, then there's no skin off my nose.  By far the most important issue is that your lack of control in social settings could prevent *other people* from having maximum enjoyment of a situation.  That's how vandals act -- they destroy for the shear pleasure of destruction.  Is that the group with which you want to identify?
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by:rid
ID: 19602900
The discussion is sort of both focused and "disfocused"... odd, really. Some argue that swearing is inherently wrong and the examples are almost entirely words that are about a particular (in itself beautiful) human activity, or feces. Not all swearing, though, is connected with those phenomena. I recommend the study of the "Tintin" illustrated stories, in particular the Capitaine Haddock character has some good stuff for those interested in more creative verbal abuse. Also, I don't use body-function-related words much, except for the swedish equivalent of "crap"; many swedish swearwords are related to the devil & c:o and therir supposed whereabouts and activities. Sometimes an event warrants other ways of expression than the normally refined toungue I use and I have to draw on my (somewhat limited) collection of expletives. It is by no means a thoughtless exercise - I choose the words carefully!
/RID
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by:SunBow
ID: 19604617
/diverge/
/off-topic/

arthurjb > just post excerpts, and maybe links to the original documents.  But this is Experts Exchange, and one of the defining parts of being an expert is being able to distill the information down.

In defense, I do try hard to exclude, meaning use of excerpts, to add to potential hit rate of a source which I try to include, not as advertisement, or even as a best resource, but in a form of gratitude and hedge on plagiarism or copyright. I have also switched, or tried to, to a form of segregating comments here between mine own and those pasted. I distaste confusion of any who think I have pasted my own beliefs, and I sometimes have trouble discerning some comments of others from the excerpts they make.

I am not great at clicking links, some break and some do not work (I need another upgrade? again?) and some are filtered. I also have distaste for links that go only to some homepage or to an extremely lengthy page where it is difficult at best to figure out what the poster was referring to.

I have to guess that you agree with some of that, given your use of 'excerpts' - like we do need some context, not simply links or lists of links that are copied to every question.

On the down side, I should agree that I tend to post longer comments and lengthier excepts than most, many of whom are not sure what I am driving at. But among the longer ones here, I found after the fact another waty to support one of my arguments, time permitting - I am not a fast typer by any means, and time is restricted.

> to distill the information down.

I tend to agree but for the need to include a little context, quotes out of context are easy to misinterpret. Experience with media shows that their links are only good for days or hours, things I have read and search for no longer findable etc.

Something you may not be aware of is I come in colours. Some research was done and they picked on me. Questions were on achieving points, from both angles, one was for the most words for fewest points (non-zero of course). As I recall I was among top ten leaders, for more than one question, in abuse of language by typing a lot for so little. That you may now understand. Findings on the opposite, least words for most points, they fingered me into top ten as well, more than once. I forget actual placement, but I think I was at least 2nd if not first in both, possibly twice in top three. That was awhile ago now, things may have changed.

As to whether to use more words or less to either make a point or to gain a score is yet something I cannot give any pointers on, though by history here I should know,it is variable but a lot based on POV, a 'best answer' may be ignored in favor of one that user can understand and use to satisfaction.

/back to topic/
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by:SunBow
ID: 19605004
DanRollins > [comment including] always in jest, and it certainly got laughs

I cannot personally compete, on words so much, but at least twice over dinner I was asked about what was learned in school, and repeated something that got laughs from the other kids. I received form of discipline for that meaning lesson to learn, it was not the words on their own that wwere taboo, it was the form of joke, time & place, and audience.

From another couple of households came this "nigger-toes" which I never heard anywhere else to this day, although it was suppodedly normal, another had "darkies" and kid I thought I might like once blurted out over formal dinner, possibly their own birthday celebration: "please pass the pecker" and was dumbfounded by the abundant laughter that ensued - completely ignorant. When ignorant then the sin is not. I almost wish there were less censoring so better discussion can be had on word origins, meanings, and usages. <sad>

Mystique- wherever two racial groups live side by side, they seem to want to use derogatory

Not mine. Closeness, of those not understandable, leads well enough to derogatory, end of story. My experience. Any neighbour found reason to complain about some other, god knows why. Not in my experience but from news items, the racial aspect of derogatories is from those who are less close but viewed as competitors for something. So if it were black and white world (it is not) a white could be out of work and complain about a black who does work but for less wages -- and, extend complaint about race vocally and to others. Situation had little to do with race and more to ones ability to get up off ones duff, go apply for job, get job, and retain job. Perhaps learn on the side. The issue can be of a Korean businessperson being thought of as impolite to an out-of-work black person who then makes the derogatories about all asians or whatever, no one word choice needed. Nowadays the situation has switched to a form of racial derogatory against immigrants or "illegal alieans" - and that too is often still about job opportunity and pay. But if those complaining would accept a job cleaning out toilets for a living .......

I think distance is important to being derogatory, especially upon other (not same) race if the flamer is not willing to do so to person's face.

This (flaming?) is IMO off-topic, but for the way I would bring it back as supportive of context, that it is not about a word, but who is using it, how it is being used, who the audience is, what the occasion might be etc. An African-American can and will use n-word face to face to another if thought of same background. They would still not approve of any from another background to use same language if all other circumstances the same.

SunBow > Kevin J. Martin, the chairman of the F.C.C., said that  ........ (etc)

As I went through those links looking for a quote I found very hard to locate any more, this dude seemed to show up in ways where I felt like increasing my own use of derogatory, perhaps something like a "white-Man speak with forked tongue". It seemed like a flip-flop, to same question opposing answers are given (ad-lib): "I/we are not really interested in censoring anybody" vs an "We/I require god_powers so we can censor everything, everybody"

But in retrospect I prefer to use his form(s) of response in support of my own argument, that what is 'permissible' to say and do is at least in part due to respect for speaker and audience, the timing and everything. If audience is known 'pro-censor' (kids benevolent society) then what is said is couched for that audience, but when addressing vocabulary to a media (association of broadcasters) then what is said may be couched (differently) for that audience.

What boys say to boys in locker room, is not same as what they should say to girls they want a date with.

What girls see and learn in powder room of informalities of other girls, is just not to be said later to the boys. Whatever the word choice or level of interest

"I need to take a _______________" <urgent>
Can be a choice, word not issue, but audience may indeed be issue to entire sentence structure
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by:BobSiemens
ID: 19605100
We all have a social responsibility to help to make the world a better place (or to harm it less).

There are more important responsibilities, but still.

To some degree, many people feel that swearing is ugly.  People should take this into account.  

If you swear, you should simply make a responsible choice about what the consequences of it are.  If no one objects, it doesn't matter.  If it bothers the people around you and you have no good reason for swearing, you have acted badly.

If I (a white guy) calls someone a nigger, it will probably bother people.  It would tend to bother me if a white guy did that around me.

If I heard a black guy call another black guy a nigger, it probably wouldn't bother anyone (it might).  It wouldn't tend to bother me if it happened in a friendly context.

With freedom comes responsibility.  In this case, free speech comes with the responsibility to not degrade other people's environment.
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by:SunBow
ID: 19605287
                 ~ Religion

I do not want us to overlook another aspect, something I was learned of many times in upbringing.

A word substitution will not reduce the level of sin.

I say it differently of course, but idea is fairly basic.

Suppose a four-letter word is to be banned, its use is determined a sin, reducing it to three letters to be able to use it, or adding a letter, or substituting one letter for another, or even substituting a completely different word - does not change any potential penalty for word choice, in the global scheme of things. While this has religious context, and I probably heard it there, I probably also heard it from such other sources as teachers and ancestors et al. Even from other kids. It also can apply in law, but more limited there.

Rethinking now, I think I can still accept that, given subsequent experience. Changing the name of a thing does not change the thing being referred to. A taboo is still a taboo, however one chooses to go about it. That can be had from religion, philosophy, psychology, and on, that to make sense of it all, it has to make sense and stand on its own without permitting excuses of any form.

-------

As far as individual word choices for a taboo list, I think it must then follow that if a word substitution was deemed as ok, then the original word itself must be ok and not (real) taboo, at least on the global market.

-------

You've got the actual quotes above (data/information/accuracy) let me now rephase or paraphase it. The difference to distinguish in the question is the nature of the local community and its preferred customs, and apparently limited in scope to the two main means one has to reduce weight near their beltline (not same rule applicable to ability to either take in air or exhale. Same for food, from ones orifice on high.

As such, consider, that air is typically unseen, not as visible as the stuff normally coming out of a body, visibly - which is also considered best done in private and not in public, consider as deemed permissible or not by one's local community - which also lends to it becoming a personal choice to do some things in private but not in public.

What would you think of a person who insists on eliminating material from body in a public doorway or out on the sidewalk in plain view? Or even under cover of darkness? Why?
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by:SunBow
ID: 19605327
BobSiemens > responsibility ...  free speech comes with the responsibility to not degrade other people's environment.

yeah, what I was trrying to say in earlier argument.

It matters not so much what any one lists as for taboos such as some words here and there. It is respect.

If someone likes another, and they are doing a dinner for two, and when one says something to another who gives that ! response, it matters not what the word choice was, it matters not what the response was, it does not have to be a physical slap, but it can even feel worse (now what'd I do?!).

The only recovery available is to recognize the response (negatory/insulted/whatever) not commit that sin again, even in review not knowing what it was. If not acknowledging or ignorant of person's reaction, odds are getting real good that one is going to be going home alone more often, and sleeping alone more often, and getting less respect for themselves. Beginning this at the time of that intercourse, without regard to marital status or gender or preference or race or ....
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19605354
>>We all have a social responsibility to help to make the world a better place (or to harm it less).


Bob, is this a religious, cultural or just a personal belief?

The swearers here tell me that they have no social responsibility.

"Heck with society", They say, "I'll curse if I want to."

And I believe that this is the whole problem, young folks today who don't understand how much they are limited by their behavior and decisions.
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by:rid
ID: 19606339
"young folks"...

Well at 50+ I feel I'm entitled to some decision-making in all aspects of my life. I choose to drink beer, sometimes, although I know ethanol isn't good for you. I choose to be a bit on the meticulous side when it comes to traffic regulations, when driving in the city (because that's one way of staying out of harm's way), I choose not to smoke, I choose not to use foul language in the company of children, but my choice might be different in the company of adults... I choose to make desicions based on my own knowledge of the world and not by blindly adhering to rules. Americans should know about this - wasn't that something you fought the english over, some time ago, metaphorically: " no taxation without representation"? "Freedom"?

Physical science deals with gravitation and other laws of nature. All other rules are man-made and can (should, perhaps?) be challenged by man, from time to time, to see if they still hold.
/RID
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by:DanRollins
ID: 19606352
This Q is posted in both Misc and P&R, and there is one religious angle on it:
 
Right near the top of the Ten Commandments is the rule against taking the Lord's Name in vain.  Blasphemy, is apparently a serious sin.  Depending on your viewpoint, saying...

    "Oh my God!" (at every turn, as in "Oh My God!, I gotta see that movie!")
or
    "Ye Gods" (like the teenage gal in the Music Man)
or
     "By God, I'll ...."
or
     "I swear to God!" (as in "that movie was great, I swearDaGod!" )
or
     "As God in my witness, I'll never be hungry again."  
or
      "JEEEsus aitch KrYEEst!" (probably not considered blasphemy to Jews)

Now there are various ways to avoid breaking the Commandment, while getting nearly the the same effect.  My father was likely to yell...
     "Judas Priest!"
...when he stubbed his toe.  And you can easily say,...
     "Dad Gummit" or "Goll dernit"
...rather than the one most commonly used swear word:

    G*ddammit!  (see how circumspect I am?)

Even in the Lounge Rulez, that (along with one other female-anatomy-related vulgarity) was to remain forever forbidden (please see: http:/Lounge/Q_21628025.html)

     "We only ask you not use the C**t and GD words."

...which brings me to a very curious issue.  I believe that among the first of the "bad words" that ever made it on broadcast TV was that latter phrase (the "GD word").  I always though it wierd that the one utterance that could make you burn in
       Aitch Ee double-toothpicks
was the one that was permitted on TV so soon.  Comments?
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by:JakobA
ID: 19607486
>> The swearers here tell me that they have no social responsibility.
>>
>> "Heck with society", They say, "I'll curse if I want to."

WHAT !!!

When did I, Bob, patrickab, rid, nicola-H, ... say anything like that ?


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by:BobSiemens
ID: 19610460
<<<Bob, is this a religious, cultural or just a personal belief?>>>

It's my values but it is the unstated basis of all modern societies.  It's is directly reflected in the "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" ethic of Christianity.  In this case swearing can cause people emotional distress and so the ethic is "Don't cause people emotional distress unnecessarily since you wouldn't want them to do that to you".



<<<The swearers here tell me that they have no social responsibility.>>>

That might be an oversimplification.  They just might not be at all sympathetic to any emotional distress caused by merely saying a word.  We all have things that we are more or less sympathetic to.  If I think someone's sensitivity is stupid, I'll tend to ignore it.  I've been [rightly] accused of being too caustic in posts at EE.  These are judgment calls.  It's very reasonable that these issues are handled via social customs.


<<<When did I, Bob, patrickab, rid, nicola-H, ... say anything like that ?>>>

Huh?  I rarely swear.
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by:BobSiemens
ID: 19610588
Here's a big issue that maybe no one has touched on.

Swearing violates social customs and so doing so constitutes being disrespectful.

We are all exposed to modern media and so we all hear swearing.  It isn't shocking anymore.  Even Mickey Mouse now uses the F-word from time to time.  A big part of the issue now is that swearing still violates social customs.  So it isn't the swearing itself that is the transgression, it is the violation of social customs that is.

So a big problem with swearing is that it demonstrates a lack of respect.
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by:dagesi
ID: 19610717
>BobSiemens...
That doesn't seem to be saying anything that isn't obvious.
Substitute theft for swear and law for social custom...
**
Theft violates the law and so doing so constitutes being disrespectful.
...
A big part of the issue now is that theft still violates the law.  So it isn't the theft itself that is the transgression, it is the violation of the law that is.
So a big problem with stealing is that it demonstrates a lack of respect.
**
Seen that way, are you saying swearing (theft) is only an issue BECAUSE of the violation of the social custom (law)?  That if it wasn't actually against social custom that it would be ok...?

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by:rid
ID: 19611184
The law is society's way of protecting its citizens. Example: A 90-year-old cannot be expected to protect him/herself against thugs or abusers, so we have created an institution that will (attempt to) apprehend, prosecute and incapacitate the perpetrators of such activities. We have (in theory) been active in making the law and constructing the machinery around it - at least in a democratic society.

Law that doesn't emanate from the people, but from ancient litterature, may need some scrutiny and adjustment in a modern society. I mean, who needs a law about how NOT to conduct agreed-upon sexual intercourse?

Social custom is perhaps a bit like unwritten law, but the same aging problem can be seen there. Very ancient customs (like throwing old people off a cliff or so) doesn't belong in a modern world.
/RID
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by:BobSiemens
ID: 19611625
<<<Theft violates the law and so doing so constitutes being disrespectful.>>>

The problem with theft is that your stuff is gone.  The disrespect is incidental.

This is very different from swearing.  If I say the F-word, people won't be annoyed at me because they hear that word.  They will be annoyed because didn't have enough respect for them to maintain social decorum.

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by:dagesi
ID: 19612091
I'm not sure that in some cases (not sure enough to even use a percentage) that the two wouldn't be synchronous... um... unseparable...?
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19613525
<<<Theft violates the law and so doing so constitutes being disrespectful.>>>

>>The problem with theft is that your stuff is gone.  The disrespect is incidental.<<

No, even people who steal, don't steal from folks that they respect.
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by:SunBow
ID: 19613981
DanRollins > Right near the top of the Ten Commandments is the rule against taking the Lord's Name in vain.

Thanks, I meant to head that direction next. And I think the thread is returning to original question in the swearing is not same as using words that are taboo. It is more the how.

I wanted to instead use such religiosity to support my notion above on word substitutions.. I'll snip one of your exmplaes (witch...)

> ...when he stubbed his toe.  And you can easily say,...
>     "Dad Gummit" or "Goll dernit"

A switch, my claim is that if original form was 'bad', then use of your example of word substitution is equally bad, if not worse due to implication the swearer has some thought of getting away with crime.

Who was it, a Gomer Pyle who kept that end up, the use of lame expletives that did not sound so bad to so many, and isnt't that thought of as nice to be nicer when swearing? Is it really the letter of the law in god's eyes or own psyche? Or does intent play a role.

Swearing is swearing by any other brand name.
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by:SunBow
ID: 19613993
How about sounds? Using what form of sounds affects a phrase how?
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by:JakobA
ID: 19614427
Bronx cheer ?
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by:DanRollins
ID: 19614479
Well, gooooL LEE!!  Gomer Pyle had to work on TV in the 60's - he had no choice but to use lame substitutions for expletives :-)

But there is a significant point there -- people DO use "acceptable" forms not just to avoid offending others, but (perhaps) also to feel better about themselves.  It's a little thing, related to self-control and self-image.
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by:dagesi
ID: 19616771
Actually, I can't imagine Gomer using real bad words even now... he just was much more laid back than that...
Consider the phrase "expletive deleted" - what Gomer did would have been "exclamation deleted".  
His words were exclamations but lacked vehemence... as it seemed he himself did...
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by:behenderson
ID: 19622372
Swearing is language designed to create conflict and it is recognized as a problem in the HR department of every major corporation.  

Disciplinary action taken by HR departments is greatly affected by foul language.

Swear in a bar and you are likely to get punched in the nose.

Swear at a police officer and you can get arrested.

It is a universally recognized act of hostility to swear in specific ways.

The brain processes swearing in the lower regions, along with emotion and instinct.  Swearing and fighting go hand in hand and hearing swear words in public is a sign of danger in many instances.  The brain processes swear words differently than other words.

It is not intellectually valuable to have swear words used in a hostile way in a public forum.  The words lack intelligence and respect.
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by:JakobA
ID: 19622487
>> Swearing is language designed to create conflict and it is recognized as a problem
>> in the HR department of every major corporation.

    "Swearing is language designed to create conflict"
Stipulating the correctness of that definition I entirely agree.

But then that also means that swearing is a matter of intent, rather than specific words.

How about "I cannot start this f**king car". Will you agree that with no conflict created that sentense contain no swearing ?


>> It is a universally recognized act of hostility to swear in specific ways.

No. The word "universally" is much too inclusive for that to be true. It may be recognized in particular groups at particular times. but universally is too much. Please review the N-word discussion above.


>> The brain processes swearing in the lower regions, along with emotion and instinct.
>> Swearing and fighting go hand in hand and hearing swear words in public is a sign of
>> danger in many instances.  The brain processes swear words differently than other words.

I am sorry but that is not correct. It sounds like one of those "Lies for Children" grownups invent to justify a prohibition they do not really have a rational reason for. (eg: girls are often told that if they frown too much their faces will freeze that way)


>> It is not intellectually valuable to have swear words used in a hostile way in a public forum.
>> The words lack intelligence and respect.

Line 1: I Agree, but would add that any other words used in a hostile way are equally without value.
Line 2: I disagree. See fx the use of 'bitch' in http:#a19602563


regards JakobA
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by:behenderson
ID: 19622678
http://people.howstuffworks.com/swearing4.htm

Swearing can be uniquely hostile and is a sign of aggression.  It is used to indicate aggression.  Swearing is used to telegraph aggression.  It is emotional and elicitis an emotional response.  Even when used in a non hostile way swearing is used in a more emotional way than traditional speech.
"F*&k YEAH!".  "How the f&*k are ya!"

That is not to say that swearing can be used in contexts that are not confrontational.  "This party is F*ing great, I'm so f*ing drunk"  But if one person is angry and ready to get into a physical altercation they will use statements Like "F*&k You!" which carry an emotional charge to telegraph their aggression and others will either escalate their speech using other vulgar language or make attempts to de-escalate the situation.  That is the reason that Swearing is treated differently in a Legal Context and why swearing can constitute a disturbance of the peace.
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by:rid
ID: 19623059
You are far too sweeping in your comments, too much generalization. Swearing works differently in different situations, with different people. There can be many reasons for swearing, not all related to anger or bad intent. You're describing a monochromatic world and that description just doesn't relate to reality. What is "true", or accepted form in areas of the US, is by no means relevant in Sweden, Niger or Latvia; languages differ, customs differ and there is just not just one setup that is "right".
/RID
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by:dagesi
ID: 19624462
>Swearing can be uniquely hostile and is a sign of aggression. <
"CAN be"...? and "IS a sign"...
Seems these two statements don't fit well unless they're saying that even when it's NOT hostile that it is still aggressive...

>Swear in a bar and you are likely to get punched in the nose.<
I'm assuming that you don't mean just SAYing a swear word but rather meaning saying it AT someone ABOUT someone.  But be in a bar and intelligently insult someone WITHOUT swearing and you are likely to get punched too... If someone is inclined to punch you, it won't matter HOW you push their buttons...

>Swear at a police officer and you can get arrested.<
Again, you can be "intelligent" about the things you say to the officer and that doesn't mean you won't get arrested.  It's not illegal (most places, at least) to actually swear at a police officer so there had to be something else that went WITH that scenario...

>It is a universally recognized act of hostility to swear in specific ways.<
By "in specific ways" do you mean saying specific words or saying those words as part of some larger scheme of actions?
I remember when younger my friends and I used to swear AT each other in play... a sort of "Hey, dickweed" (and obviously more "severe" words) kind of thing...
So I don't think that swearing, per se, is the issue, but rather also the intent of the person saying it and the "viewpoint" of the person hearing it...
The problem(?) now days is that we're all expected to ALWAYS consider everyone else's viewpoint in our actions (ie, PC)...

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by:behenderson
ID: 19625094
I'm not saying that swearing is ALWAYS used to signify escalating aggression but that swearing often times Does signify escalating aggression.  So violent confrontation and vulgar speech immediatly proceeding it are very highly correlated.

Profane language has a unique legal standing.  It does because it is known that profane language can cause the peace to deteriorate.

From The Supreme Court Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, Ruling:

It is well understood that the right of free speech is not absolute at all times and under all circumstances. There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which has never been thought to raise any Constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or fighting words  those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality. Resort to epithets or personal abuse is not in any proper sense communication of information or opinion safeguarded by the Constitution, and its punishment as a criminal act would raise no question under that instrument.

It has been used by police officers for years to arrest people for swearing but not for criticizing without swearing.  
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by:dagesi
ID: 19625494
In my state:
Disorderly conduct (simple misdemeanor):
"Directs abusive epithets or makes any threatening gesture which the person knows or reasonably should know is likely to provoke a violent reaction by another. "

Dictionary defines "epithets" as: a characterizing word or phrase accompanying or occurring in place of the name of a person or thing. a disparaging or abusive word or phrase.

Seems like they're saying I can't CALL people things that are swear words but it doesn't say I can't just SAY swear words.
Might seem like a fine line but it IS a line... meaning it's not automatically saying "swear and commit a crime" - there are ways to swear that aren't illegal.
And if someone wanted to push the law, I'm sure they could assume that a reasonable person would believe that some people are more "inclined" to not respond violently and so should, theoretically, be in a position to be swore at more...
I'm not suggesting they should (since it's like beating up on children - just cause you could doesn't make it right) just pointing out a (to me) legal flaw(?).

Of course, if you argue that the last bit "... by another" has to be taken as to mean by ANY other, than you've just made it illegal to say anything that anyone might consider as swearing.  That's a HUGE category since some people think that saying "gee" is just shorthand for "taking the Lord's name in vain", and hence is swearing.
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by:behenderson
ID: 19625861
>>there are ways to swear that aren't illegal.  Depends on where you are.  There are ways to swear that most likely Won't cause you to be arrested but there are legal distinctions between vulgar and non-vulgar speech.

As an example In Virginia
If any person profanely curses or swears or is intoxicated in public, whether such intoxication results from alcohol, narcotic drug or other intoxicant or drug of whatever nature, he shall be deemed guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

You wouldn't swear in a term paper if you wanted to do well.  You wouldn't swear in a Job Interview if there was competition and you really wanted to get hired.  What I am stating is what everyone knows.  Swearing IS different than regular speech.  The legal protections of Free Speech and Vulgar Speech are different.  The use of insulting speech and Vulgar insulting speech has different societal and legal ramifications.  

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by:SunBow
ID: 19627990
behenderson > what Gomer did would have been "exclamation deleted".  

:-))      Love it!            Good one!

First time I heard it done I thought it great, cute, whatever, Golly!
Maybe I bore too easily, it got old real quick on me, like I needed some exclamation. Good call.
dagesi> but lacked vehemence...
Maybe just a constant silly grin. Cute. Once. Now where's the action?

DanRollins > but (perhaps) also to feel better about themselves

Agree, more when in public, but also in private given a little self control, desire to not burn in hell, and not quite sure what the exact rules are or where to get a decent attorney

Along those lines it as as mentioned earlier, when bringing up kids, and trying to grow up one ones own and do right by them.

behenderson > Swearing is language designed to create conflict and

I think I differ in preferring that aspect of foulness to be labelled as cussing if not cursing. Still, a boss recently called me into his office and after an opening remark yelled I had to get out of his office because he did not want to see my ugly ass face around any more. Fine, his meeting. But I was too slow to spread legs to enable his multiple retorts like "Get the _____ out of my office!" (imagine four-letter words of choice) Not too embarrassed since I would prefer everyone in the office hear that form of management style. But still had to wonder about dealing with solicitors. Is cussing people out swearing, what will it get anybody?

Story from a nearly neighbour, homeless alcholic most of life, primarily by choice, but also wanting to work for a living, in job of choice. One day (year) comes along he gets a job in trade of preference in construction. I begin to wonder if he's recovering, for aside from the knive(s) tucked in belt he also carried a book to read, and cared to discuss making the world a better place, god & country and all.

So after not seeing him awhile, I see him swaggering towards me one day? "How's the job? Better now?"

Well no, shouldn't talk about it, he needs a handout because he was never paid. And darn (I think he moved to word substitution to be more acceptable for a minute)says: "he" wanted me to go and get a wrench, and thought I was too slow getting him right one. He shouldn't have said that about my mother, no one talks about my mother like that, I need a handout until I can get them to pay me my wages, and haven't been making much in panhandling since I didn't get out of the slammer until this morning. I should have know it was going to be too hot a day to quit drinking like that. I told him he can't talk about my mother like that and when he did I just pushed him off the building. I can understand them getting the police involved, but I still want them to pay me for the time I was working.

hmmm.
Whether legal issue or not, it may be unwise to not consider that choice of word may just not be received as well by some people as well as others. That doing so can be adverse to one's other desires and health plans. That when making a proposition to one person who says it is not being received well, one can consider that response of "no" just may be valid no matter how important your own pressing need may be. How different are "_______ give me the right ______ wrench this time you ______" and "you ______ are in need of good performance review for work, you're going to need to meet me outside of work to discuss your _____ situation, you remind me so much of that ______ on that _____ channel, I just have to _______ ________ _______". How different are the two if the one being addressed that way simply says "No" or even "No, thank you".

BobSiemens, So it isn't the swearing itself that is the transgression, it is the violation of social customs that is.

Yes. I was was trying to swing, with such as FCC quote & genesis. If the swearing was so heinous that some godly commandment is broken, then no 'trick' or magic can be substitute to swear alternately and get away with it. It is also not the word choice itself, but the way it is used, and whether social custom deems that as unfavorable. A separate question could be on just who in society gets to deem which custom is what, but for the day to day operations I suggest permitting three strike rule, although two is better. Say it once, ok, but get a bad reaction to what is said and one should recognize the social issue, and not do so again. Since some of us (self-included) are witless, maybe give us one more swing in case we missed the reaction the first time.

Opposite effect alo ois witnessed. One personal syas something off-colour, sees the bad reaction, cleans up act and begs pardon. Sorry they slipped up. Many people will not forgive the first offense. They are so righteous.

>  it demonstrates a lack of respect.


exactly. And now I've turned it both ways. And meaning, the first time may not be lack of respect. Maybe we do not hear it correclty, give a break. If member of the audience does not yield one break, then they are demonstrating lack of respect as well. Let the sinless be the first to point out the sins of others. "Hi, Dick" (Nixon?); High, Dick?" "Hey, Dick, there's something I really need to do urgently let's head to the head. Are you coming, Dick?"

JakobA >> "Swearing is language designed to create conflict"...
>  swearing is a matter of intent, rather than specific words.

Resisting temptation to dispute the conlfict aspect, in order to accept/agree on the 'intent' aspect

"Gosh, I banged my ____ and it hurts" That four letter word may be major form of flame, but not intended so much against others, but more so at own stupidiy/ignorance of letting it  happen and that @%$# cursed inanimate object that caused the indiviudal grief. At times some will flame others for own err, that it is someone else's fault, some need to find both blame and self - excused. I do not think those types would be as respectful of others in other ways.

> grownups invent to justify a prohibition they do not really have a rational reason

:-)) Could make that a separate entertaining thread. What was it really that's stunting my growth and putting hair on my palms, or is is hair on my chest. What colour and gender is that saber toothed tiger off the path on the right and that snakey reptilian off the path on the left, and how come I can't hear and understan what those demons have been telling me.

behenderson >  sign of aggression
disagreeing
> swearing is used in a more emotional way than traditional speech.
yes, agreeing - I swear - that is the nail hit on its head whether you place the washer between the screw and your nuts or not

"Pardon my typo"

****  Caution  ****

The following is a clip from the web about use of four-letter word very emotional to many, and while edited a little, the truth of our matters remain, and any who are over-sensitive or easily offended are welcome to move on and skip all words until I post link. Others may prefer to not scroll so quick.
___________________

We got in late on the night of ____. We were not well equipped, having just gotten out of combat . We were particularly short of winter clothing and footwear. .. we became completely surrounded .. and our field hospital was overrun by .. attack. We had put the hospital in what would normally have been a safe place, but no place is safe when you are completely surrounded. At this time, we were not able to receive air resupply because the weather was absolutely frightful. It was very, very cold and snowy. Visibility was often measured in yards. Our lack of winter gear ..

While we were still surrounded, ..a surrender party.. carrying a white flag, approached our perimeter in the area ... they presented their surrender ultimatum.
_________________

To the       Commander of the encircled town

The fortune of war is changing. This time (your) forces .. have been encircled by strong  armored units. More armored units have crossed the river

There is only one possibility to save the encircled      troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.

If this proposal should be rejected one     Artillery Corps and six heavy    Battalions are ready to annihilate (all) troops   . The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours' term.

All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with (your) well known humanity.

_________________

..took the typed message back to the company command post where the t.. officers were detained.    then told the(m)  that he had the       commanders reply. The      captain then asked, "Is it written or verbal?"       responded that it was written and added, "I will place it in your hand."

The       major then asked, "Is the reply negative or affirmative?

      [warning on use of expletives extended]

"The reply is decidedly not affirmative."
"If you continue your foolish attack your losses will be tremendous."
"If you don't know what 'Nuts' means, in plain English it is the same as 'Go to Hell'. And I'll tell you something else, if you continue to attack we will kill every goddam German that tries to break into this city."

The German major and captain saluted very stiffly. The captain said, "We will kill many Americans. This is war." Harper then responded, "On your way Bud," he then said, "and good luck to you." Harper later told me he always regretted wishing them good luck.

[credit/apology to...]
http://www.thedropzone.org/europe/Bulge/kinnard.html
An Interview with Lt. General Harry W. O. Kinnard
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by:SunBow
ID: 19628047
Are invectives like "decidedly", "foolish", "regret" words that are taboo since they carry potentially emotional context? Do squirrels sin for what they eat? Perhaps, they  seem to get themselves frequently arrested by the Iranian Defence Corps for sake of Allah by God.
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by:robyncoffey
ID: 19638754
Profanity is a language that every programmer understands.  - Anonymous

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by:arthurjb
ID: 19642349
Its about time to close this question and move on...
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by:Nicola-H
ID: 19708052
It seems to me that there is an interesting divide here between extreme theist and extreme atheist, and a sliding scale in between. The dislike of swearing seems to increase with intensity of religious belief. The more unquestioningly religious people seem to be unwilling to consider the idea that the taboo is just a social one and should be challenged; and are more willing to accept the idea that something is wrong, even when they can not say why it is wrong. I suppose that goes some way towards explaining why the UK is far more tolerant than the US when it comes to freedom of expression.

I sometimes swear during interviews deliberately. I put bizarre (but always honest) things on my CV when I apply for jobs. I do not want to work for an intolerant employer, and this works as a filter. It's helped me into some fantastic jobs with fantastic companies which respect individuality and talent over blind obedience. I'd rather handle a few months of poverty than do some soul-sucking job where I couldn't communicate openly and honestly, or where I had to take account of other people's hypocrisy (we all swear, don't pretend otherwise). I would, of course, change my behaviour if I were desperate for work, but when it's not necessary to grovel and live my life by other people's rules, I choose not to. Why hand over your freedom before you really need to?

behenderson:"Swearing is language designed to create conflict and it is recognized as a problem in the HR department of every major corporation.  "

If I'm coding and shout a word that you have decided that you don't like, how is that 'designed to create conflict'? How is swearing on my own a problem? Why is something that almost everyone does, and which has been a part of literature, music and most other art forms for centuries, damaging to society? Shakespeare swore. Should he have been locked up, had his plays censored, or been refused theatre time?

"Swear in a bar and you are likely to get punched in the nose."

Where do you live? In Manchester, swearing is normal, particularly in bars. Same goes for every other city I have ever visited. If you swear in a bar, you are just fitting in. The idea that swearing is rare and abnormal is very naive indeed. It is mainstream. It's about time the censorious among us got to grips with that fact and moved on.



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by:JakobA
ID: 19708411
As a parallel situation here is a report on a current danish topic.

A new law have been passed banning all indoor smoking in public places. A side effect of this is that danish theaters can no longer perform plays where one of the actors smoke on stage. So what do we have here ? a public health measure or censorship of artistic expression ?

Sofar The Royal Danish Theater have publicly declared that it will ignore the law and stage Ibsen plays (and others) as previously scheduled.

regards JakobA
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by:Nicola-H
ID: 19708629
Same here in the UK - it has just become illegal to smoke in any public place, including bars. The original plan was to allow private clubs to allow smoking, but that was canned in favour of a complete ban. Why not give people the choice and have smoking bars and non-smoking bars? I don't smoke any more, but if people want a space to smoke which is sufficiently remote, why not let them have it? If a majority of people who drink in bars are opposed to passive smoking, then that will be reflected in the number of smoking bars that manage to get enough custom to stay open.

Again, there .seems to be a complete loss of perspective here. How much damage is someone on a stage smoking a fag going to do compared to hundreds/thousands in the audience driving home and filling the air with carbon monoxide and lead? Or the damage caused by alcohol? The 'public health' argument is an extremely weak one.

It's nice to see bars refusing to comply. I like a bit of civil disobedience.

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by:SunBow
ID: 19710493
Nicola-H > The dislike of swearing seems to increase with intensity of religious belief.

Agree - with use of word intensity, not so much for religion on its own or religious. The mental condition is typically anal.

> The more unquestioningly religious people seem to be unwilling to consider the idea that the taboo is just a social one and should be challenged

Exactly. This goes along with suggestion that a big-ass god reached down from heavens with gigantic fingertip and personally carved English words into rocks to elucidate exactly everything that is 'right' ....... AND ...... that they themselves have personal copy of the text that was carved ........AND....... they know the meanings of that which was carved .....AND..... they know that all others must conform to their idealogy (or they just write off everyone else as lost, while not unwliing to register complaints and 'criticism'. A bit lame here:
http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/anal
< of, relating to, characterized by, or being personality traits (as parsimony, meticulousness, and ill humor) considered typical of fixation at the anal stage of development <an anal disposition> <anal neatness>
- anal·ly  /-n&l-E/ adverb

> I suppose that goes some way towards explaining why the UK is far more tolerant than the US when it comes to freedom of expression.

I guess so. Unlike childhood learnings, finding later on that original 'Pilgrim' settlers were anal-fixated, in no way shape or form were they for freedom or any form of permissiveness, they knew 'right', and everyone else had to conform to their POV (or else). The only freedom they wanted was to enforce their godly views upon the rest of the world. The freedom they sought in the new world was to get some elbow room, and increase distance from non-believers. off-topic-aside .... I think they later must have migrated from New England to the SouthEast.

> I do not want to work for an intolerant employer

Hear Here. Fire the boss! In the beginning.... boss would fire me time and again. Well, turnabout is fair play, now it is their turn.

I agree that conforming to appear better to others is a cheap out to get out. Do that facade and you'll never know how many others really do like the you that is you.

> I'd rather handle a few months of poverty than do some soul-sucking job where I couldn't communicate openly and honestly

I find me at more of loss. I did poverty -> no likey. Not ready to change jobs -> lazy. Still, unable to suck-up and more often unable to communicate. Boss: "I want your opinion, I value your expertise very highly" ... translation = say : "Yassah" or find self booted from job. I would head to poverty again to avoid trying to be what I am not, but that has been converted to the fire-the-boss mentality, where, if they do not like it then they can leave this time. so I am a sluggish dimwitted scumbag leper loser. I can live with that. Didn't think I could, but it happened, had to admit to that - still alive and kicking after all those bosses moved on without me.

BTW
ever notice that          
                  Boss
is a
                  four-letter-word
?
I swear.

> I would, of course, change my behaviour if I were desperate for work, but when it's not necessary to grovel

Been there done that but no more. My difference is in distinguishing reasoning. With dependents, the sacrifice may yet be made once again. For them, although I still don't believe I should, I recognize being sinner, not ever abiding by all beliefs all the time. Without dependents though, I'd rather die, starve to death, get insanely ill and whatever - no compromise. I do not want to live in a world that does not care to have me as a member.

> Why hand over your freedom before you really need to?

:-))
Love it!
On job situation - why quit one position until you have found another position that is better?

> If I'm coding and shout a word that you have decided that you don't like

<Break-time>
I do not mind words so much
But if it it SHOUTING, as a distraction, then I'll probably just shake my head as I arise to take a break. I am not so confrontational, need to concetrate at times, and like taking a break, no matter what the latest hatchet-man thinks about it. But I may dosge a hall monitor

JakobA > A new law have been passed banning all indoor smoking in public places

Bummer. I read that about Disney as well. They are to ban smoking in films. Too bad. I had thought that Disney had always banned smoking in films.

I do not care for second hand smoke. But I believe in freedom - to choose. Let it go with materialism the rule. With capitalism employed, Let one storefront be for smokers, one for non-smokers, one permitting both. Some stores will succeed. Some stores will fail. It is incorrect to permit a segment of society to lord over other segments with their contrictions and righteous ways. If there is too much swearing in a bar, try leaving it and going to a place you like. To hear smokers say this bar is 'cool' and think you need to go to 'cool' place is one think, but to expect the place to change into something else when you arrive is eviltry.

Case in point is that smoking is legal, tobacco is legal, and legal should be legal. If non-smokers do not like it then they can change the law, make it illegal, not just profitable exploitation of other environments.

Same goes for booze. If it is legal, then permit it. To say that drunken drivers kill is separate issue, does not mean one needs flame another for getting caught sipping their wine.

I've a bigger gripe with films and four letter words

> Sofar The Royal Danish Theater have publicly declared that

What is so wrorg with love-making, bare breasts, and having to go relieve oneself at a facility?

My gripe is that those kinds of censors go first for denying us to learn that people can like one another, and have actual skin under our clothes, yet by same token force the films to pack in as much violent and hate as possible.

Something wrong with that picture

My POV

Speaking with inside out forkened tongue

Nicola-H > > The original plan was to allow private clubs to allow smoking, but that was canned in favour of a complete ban.

?!
Violating privacy?
AFAIK 'private' club means ok to discriminate by gender, age, prefence, income, lifestyle, religion, etc. Yet they ban doing something still legal? Sin!

> Why not give people the choice and

Exactly.
Either believe in freedom, believe in allowing choice, or don't go find self some totalitarian lord

While I think that happened in both California and New york (disobedience of some) I heard that has since ceased.

>  How much damage is someone on a stage smoking a fag going to do

I think the damage would be to those who think they  have the right to piss on others

> The 'public health' argument is an extremely weak one.

Are not smokers members of public? Then why not prohibit others from allowing them access to smoking materials?

> Or the damage caused by alcohol?

Exactly. Not to mention that drinkers are more prone to drive vehicles over little old ladies and children.

Can it be , that smokers are so different as to be insufficiently anal?
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19713517
Nicola-H > The dislike of swearing seems to increase with intensity of religious belief.

Disagree, I find that it goes with education and IQ.

Smarter and better educated people tend to swear less.

I think I said it somewhere above, that swearing is a sign of ignorance, since it shows that the swearing person does not have the capacity to choose real words that express their thoughts.


This question has been open for almost  a month, and I think it is time to close it and assign points, and open another if you still have questions.
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by:JakobA
ID: 19714823
arthurjb >> "I find that it goes with education and IQ."

Have you considered different subcultures, some have lots and lots (remember all those "expetive deleted"s on the watergate tapes ? yet those were not uneducated people).
Conversely others do not swear much (eg kindergarden teachers).

For general 'rules' about where swearing is rife I would suggest:

a) Same sex groups swear more (strongest in all-male groups, but also noticable in all-female groups), mixed groups tend to have less swearing.
b) Respected people (conservative and well situated) swear less. disrespected people (poor, day laborers) swear more. (Can we conclude here that if you want to limit swearing you should show greater respect for others ?)
c) actors, writers and other creative people swear a lot.

regards JakobA
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by:Nicola-H
ID: 19716016
arthurjb:
"Disagree, I find that it goes with education and IQ."

This thread is evidence that religiosity and self-censorship are related when it comes to the use of taboo language. Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

"Smarter and better educated people tend to swear less."

At what point will my level of education suddenly affect my use of language? And how do you explain the fact that so many well educated and intelligent people swear? You are clutching at straws here. Can you demonstrate how my own swearing is related to my level of education?

"I think I said it somewhere above, that swearing is a sign of ignorance, since it shows that the swearing person does not have the capacity to choose real words that express their thoughts."

How can you possibly conclude that someone is poorly educated, ignorant and illiterate simply because they use a word that you don't like?

JakobA: "Have you considered different subcultures, some have lots and lots (remember all those "expetive deleted"s on the watergate tapes ? yet those were not uneducated people).
Conversely others do not swear much (eg kindergarden teachers)."

I think this scenario is far more likely.

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by:behenderson
ID: 19716142
More educated people understand that there are correct contexts for different types of speech and behavior.  The ability to use good speech in the correct contexts is a sign of self control.  The inability to control ones speech is an indicator that perhaps other areas of self control are lacking as well and so companies with great responsibilities like Banks or corporate boardrooms are more likely to weed people out when that lack of self control becomes evident.

Less educated people lack the sophistication to adjust their behavior to match the context.  Ditch digging companies and bars all are very flexible where swearing is concerned but work areas that require higher education are more likely to frown on it.  If your career path is to be a day laborer you have no worries your use of vulgar language will not likely be an issue.

It is unlikely that you are correct that atheists universally lack the self control to not be vulgar in contexts where it is not appropriate.  The small number of people participating in this thread would hardly constitute and adequate sample to make a determination.  You are making an assumption based on anecdotal evidence and that is always bad methodology.
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by:Nicola-H
ID: 19716233
behenderson:
"More educated people understand that there are correct contexts for different types of speech and behavior.  The ability to use good speech in the correct contexts is a sign of self control.  The inability to control ones speech is an indicator that perhaps other areas of self control are lacking as well and so companies with great responsibilities like Banks or corporate boardrooms are more likely to weed people out when that lack of self control becomes evident."

This is irrelevant. The point made was that people only swear if they are poorly educated. I swear a lot, but I am able to control what I say, and I am well educated. Most people who swear do so because they choose to. Most people who swear do not suffer from Tourette's.

"Less educated people lack the sophistication to adjust their behavior to match the context.  Ditch digging companies and bars all are very flexible where swearing is concerned but work areas that require higher education are more likely to frown on it.  If your career path is to be a day laborer you have no worries your use of vulgar language will not likely be an issue."

I work in a University.

"It is unlikely that you are correct that atheists universally lack the self control to not be vulgar in contexts where it is not appropriate.  "

I did not say that. Not even close.

I do not believe that swearing indicates a lack of self control. As I keep trying to explain, I am well educated and have perfectly adequate level of self control. I swear because I choose to. You're behaving as though any behaviour that you find inappropriate must be a result of some animal instinct rather than simply a difference of opinion about what is acceptable.

"The small number of people participating in this thread would hardly constitute and adequate sample to make a determination.  You are making an assumption based on anecdotal evidence and that is always bad methodology."

Again, you are misrepresenting what I said. I said that this thread is evidence. I did not claim that it was proof. Can you provide some evidence to back up your assertion that well educated people do not swear; or that swearing is involuntary? If not, then I seem to have more evidence for my theory than you do for yours!
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by:dagesi
ID: 19716430
>Smarter and better educated people tend to swear less.

Could the inverse of this be proven true...?  If you swear more, are you going to tend to become dumber and less educated...?

If I know the words 'sarcasm' and 'facetiousness', as well as knowing what they mean and when to use them, and a friend only knows the word 'sarcasm', that friend could use 'sarcasm' to describe something when it is 'facetious' - it's not really right but eh...
If that kind of thing was expanded, I could very well know thousands more words that better describe a situation or action than my friend...
Some of those words that "describe" could be swear words...
It's possible my friend would then use the swear words more often than I because they're a larger percentage of their vocabulary.
That doesn't mean that I swear less because I find anything wrong with swearing (in the proper situation) but rather that I just have BETTER words to fit in more situations...

So... does that mean that someone who swears even less than me, knows even MORE words and their usage than me...? etc, etc...

Of course, sometimes a single swear word just encompasses everything I'm trying to say and everything I feel at a particular moment... and IS actually the best word for that situation...
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by:behenderson
ID: 19717138
>>I did not say that. Not even close.

The Contrapositive conclusion derived from the statement that the dislike of swearing in whatever context you like increases with religious belief is that the affinity for swearing in whatever context you would like decreases with increased spiritual belief so Atheists, being non spiritual, would have an affinity for swearing in any context they like following your logic.

If I follow your logic and also believe that swearing in any context at any time indicates a lack of self control then your logic propels me to the conclusion that Atheists (Who are not religious) would display that lack of self control.

Ergo since swearing in any context you like indicates a lack of self control then
Non Spiritual Atheists would universally lack the self control to not be vulgar in contexts where it is not appropriate.  

I am not making the assertion that all Atheists swear in contexts where it is not appropriate.  I am making the assertion that swearing in all contexts is not appropriate.  I was just underwhelmed by your.. I hate religion because.. speech.
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by:Nicola-H
ID: 19717241
behenderson: "If I follow your logic and also believe that swearing in any context at any time indicates a lack of self control then your logic propels me to the conclusion that Atheists (Who are not religious) would display that lack of self control."

Precisely - you have decided that swearing indicates a lack of self control, and then attributed that opinion to me. I do not believe that, so the conclusion that I believe that atheists lack self control is inaccurate. Swearing, IMO, has nothing to do with a lack of self control. I swear because I want to.

"Ergo since swearing in any context you like indicates a lack of self control then
Non Spiritual Atheists would universally lack the self control to not be vulgar in contexts where it is not appropriate. "

Again, that follows from an opinion which I do not hold. Swearing does not indicate a lack of self control unless you believe that swearing is wrong. I do not, so where does self control come into it?

"I am not making the assertion that all Atheists swear in contexts where it is not appropriate.  I am making the assertion that swearing in all contexts is not appropriate.  I was just underwhelmed by your.. I hate religion because.. speech."

What 'I hate religion' speech was that? Why are you going to such lengths to misrepresent what I've said? Seriously, what exactly did I say that could possibly be interpreted as a statement that I hate religion? I have been factual and diplomatic; and you are really going out of your way to twist everything that I say.

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by:behenderson
ID: 19718458
You know that is true.. You are as diplomatic as you can be about what you believe to be true.  You do believe that Religious people are not fans of freedom of expression.  And you have stated that as diplomaticly as it can be stated.  You are judgemental, but being judgemental you do attempt to be tactful.

I disagree with the presumption that Religious people are somehow against freedom of speech.  I would argue that it is more of a stance that freedom of expression does NOT mean freedom from having your speech judged and evaluated and then living with whatever those outcomes are.  You are judged by what you say by everyone always.
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by:dagesi
ID: 19718555
>beh...
So your stance is "do/say what you want as long as you're willing to take responsibility for what you do/say"...?
Clearly, I don't mean it's ok to kill someone as long as you're willing to be responsible for it... responsible or not, you obviously shouldn't...

Of course, that allows for the Q of what things is it ok to do AND be responsible for vs not do even if you ARE responsible for...
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by:behenderson
ID: 19718722
Yes that is the question what is OK.  There is taboo language.  From a cultural perspective it is a special class of speach

From a cultural standpoint some language is taboo in certain contexts.  The only reason that nothing really is as descriptive as @sshole is because of the taboo nature of the word.  If it were used all the time then it would just be another synonym for rectum.  Not having Taboo classifications of words would, in fact, make it a more vanilla and less interesting world.  Words that previously were taboo like Bloody and Damned are constantly becoming mainstream and then being replaced by words like F*ck and @sshole.  They are in fact a special classification of word and there is evidence that the brain processes them differently.

From a communications standpoint taboo words are used differently than regular speech and this difference actually serves a purpose.  If there were no difference between golly and F*ck then F*ck would cease to be as useful and it would be replaced by another taboo word.

Taking the purpose of taboo words into account I think that it is silly and naive to pretend that they are just like all other words and use them like they are.

Taboo words serve Multiple purposes and can signify camaraderie and *can also signify forthcoming aggression*.  Before animals of the same species fight they go through multiple levels of posturing.  I think that even though we think that we are more sophisticated and purely logical that Humans actually share some of those traits.

I believe that one of the functions that taboo words serve is in posturing between potential aggressors or to signify that aggression may be forthcoming.  Let's say your in a bar and you bump into someone and he looks at you and says F*ck you @sshole watch where you are going.  That is significantly different than saying Golly buster watch where you are going no matter how stern the tone may be.  It is significantly more likely that the F*ck you comment is a precursor to aggression.  Responding to the f*ck you comment with another F*ck you will very likely escalate into a physical confrontation.  When there is a verbal exchange that precedes physical confrontation between males a vast majority of the time there is going to be taboo language in the exchange.  Looking at it strictly from a behavioral perspective physical confrontation is usually preceeded by the use of taboo language.

That does NOT mean that if someone see a woman they are attracted to and whispers in her ear hey Gorgeous I would really like to go some where private and F*ck your brains out that they are indicating that they want to fight them.  That is a completely different use of taboo words and if saying I would like to have intercourse with you carried the same emotional tone as saying I would like to F*ck you then that would be much more vanilla as well.

Taboo words serve a purpose and they communicate in a way that non-taboo words do not.  Once the non-taboo words are no longer taboo they don't serve the same purpose and don't have the same emotional aspect to them.  Taboo words also separate the lower classes from the upper classes.  That is the reality of it, there are probably very complex reasons for that fact but it is a fact.
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by:SunBow
ID: 19719119
arthurjb > Smarter and better educated people tend to swear less.

Disagree. May be better cultured, for what they expose to general public, but aside from that they can well do worse.

> This question has been open for almost  a month,

disagree with closing based upon someone else's clock

>  open another if you still have questions

Agree that general topic is well worn, needs some freshened juices

JakobA > remember all those "expetive deleted"s on the watergate tapes ? yet those were

<ergh> ...and remember, that is only what was left over after complete erasures of oratorials which then did not even need any review prior to deletion.

> mixed groups tend to have less swearing.

I cannot confirm or distinguish. But young and old do seem to do it more than those in middle. Young want to seem old enough to do so, and asserting independence from prior restarints. Older ones not really carin any more, say what they want no matter what you tell them. The midrangers are in between the two, needing to be more pragmatic, needs for job retention, for caring more on opinions of others, etc. My guess would have it that the mixed would do the swearing more, with others more caring, to seek acceptance or less visibility.

> c) actors, writers and other creative people swear a lot.

yes

> b) Respected people (conservative and well situated) swear less. disrespected people (poor, day laborers) swear more.

Agree. Now I remember why I wanted to return here. Actually only part answer, more question based on presumption.

For those from Big Apple, or anywhere, how about a

Phil Rizzuto?

OK, why wait, here's some samplings for the unamericanos

http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=&q=Phil+Rizzuto&btnG=Search+News [extracts]

Rizzuto died Monday night of pneumonia at age 89

When he was trying to convince people he could play professional baseball, people snickered and poked fun at him because of his 5-foot-5, 150-pound frame.

a tryout with his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers. Rizzuto said he was excited to step onto the famed field. He was to get five pitches from another tryout on the mound. The first pitch hit him squarely in the back. "I guess I tightened up after that," he said. "I couldn't hit any of the next four pitches out of the infield."

Casey Stengel, Dodgers' manager then, walked up to Rizzuto and said, "Look, kid, this game's not for you. You're too small. The only way you can make a living is by getting a shoe-shine box."

Five years later Rizzuto was a Yankee  he impressed them at another tryout  and in 1949 Stengel was their manager. "I never let Casey forget the tryout," said Rizzuto, who added he never got along with Casey. "I never got mad, never held a grudge, but that stayed with me, made me work harder." Rizzuto added: "By 1949 I didn't need a shoebox. The kid in the clubhouse shined my shoes."

Rizzuto, who broke in with the Yankees in 1941, missed three years  1943-45  when he served with the Navy during World War II.


Phil yelled, Holy cow, that horse is running like Mickey Mantle! 

Rizzuto was called a mensch, a Yiddish word for a good person, and that quality emerges during reminiscences

Rizzuto, he wrote, answered in Italian that I was a nice polite boy and his voice trailed off as he looked at the balls signatures and broke into loud English, Holy cow, kid, whered you get this?

Dave praised Rizzuto for his absurdist diversions  keep the ziti warm, Cora, were going into the top of the 12th  and consistent ability to sound like an amazed kid at his first ballgame. 

Phil Rizzuto was a warm-hearted personality who charmed

You always remember the way people treat you, Jeter said.

Jeter is 6 feet 3 inches, 9 inches taller than Rizzuto, and he said he was amazed at how small Rizzuto was. Jeter would joke about it, and Rizzuto took the ribbing with good humor. Deep down, though, players knew that Rizzuto could not have been a pushover to succeed at 5-6.

Rizzuto was cast aside by the Brooklyn Dodgers, who considered him to be too short

The thing about Phil Rizzuto was he made people smile. No, that's wrong. He made people laugh  at his jokes, but mostly at him.

The plaque reads, in part: "A man's size is measured by his heart."

Scooter, we shall miss you, 
Ave Maria
May God bless you, and may you rest in peace. 
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by:DanRollins
ID: 19719403
behenderson,
Wow!  That was a nice summation (http:#a19718722)

Nicola-H's repeated arguments appear to boil down to "I'm smart and educated, yet I swear" is proof of nothing.  

In every case, all of us are using qualifying terms like "usually" and "have a tendency" --- nobody is saying that these things are 100% universal.  Finding one or a few counter-examples neither disproves nor even weakens the point.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
The Watergate tape transcripts of "private" conversations showed that even very intelligent people sometimes use vulgar, demeaning, and racial invective.   But they are also seen as a source of insight into a corrupt, somewhat paranoid mind.  His use of filthy language disgusted most people, and was one of the many things that lead to his downfall.  

The fact is that people are affected when they foul language.  
Whether that is a reasonable stance or not, it is something that is part of human nature.  Ignoring that obvious fact, or being oblivious to it, is a clear indication of a lack of empathy -- or even of the lack of understanding that one should at least *pretend* to be empathic to avoid social conflict.
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by:rid
ID: 19719742
Wow...
I never thought there were all those possible diagnoses connected to swearing: uneducated, paranoid, violent, lower-class... very interesting... and totally false. It's a purely conservative christian american point of view, IMHO and has nothing at all to do with the world(s) outside. Perhaps it's valid in some areas, but not here. So the thread may never reach a resolve, or any kind of consensus as there are participants from several cultures here.
/RID
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by:SunBow
ID: 19721102
It is also a POV of mine, independent of all those categories. Basically it is being just lazy and boring easily. OK I say, ok you say, ok they say, no matter. Issue for me is when after first dribble the dam busts and the foul language just keeps being repeated like some broken recording. I am sorry, would you care to shut up long enough to learn some more swear words? I wouldn't mind taking time to teach if they'd promise to quit using the same invective every other word. Boring that.

And I do would like a little peace during meals. Call that parental conditioning.
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19721779
>>Have you considered different subcultures, some have lots and lots (remember all those "expetive deleted"s on the watergate tapes ? yet those were not uneducated people).
>>Conversely others do not swear much (eg kindergarden teachers).

The folks on those tapes did not swear in public.  And I know teachers who swear in private.

The point is that those with education and IQ know that swearing is a personal experience, and you do not do it in public, and even in private its only done among people you know.

Its never proper etiquette among strangers, in public, and on-line...
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by:divdove
ID: 19722053
Sorry if I repeat something that has already been said, but I have just got here and to tell the truth I can't be bothered reading all the above posts.

To me swearing is just another way to express oneself. its only words. To me one word is the same as another wether it be a swear or a normal word. If I stupidly hurt myself, I can asure you I would not say, oh I just banged that hammer accross my thumb when I was hammering that nail in.

I can say it would be something differant. I am a religous person but I am also human, and I really don't think that god is going to bother about our language, I am sure he has other things to be bothered about.

In the end its only a soundwave. :-)
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by:DanRollins
ID: 19724053
rid,
>>It's a purely conservative christian american point of view,

Assuming you are comparing how people talk in Sweden, then I challenge you to point to public speeches where your Prime Minister publically refers to dark-skinned people as "niggers" or said "eat shit" to some reporter.

I'll wager that every language has taboo words that the most intelligent and gentile people who speak that language tend to avoid.
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19724631
Bingo Dan!

The words in each culture may be different, but all cultures have swear type words that show the lower education and intelligence of the people who use them.

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by:rid
ID: 19725142
The fact that educated and "intelligent" people refrain from using profanities in public speeches is not a proof of the opposite, that is, you can't conclude from the use of "taboo"words that the speaker is a violent, uneducated moron. Which you seem to want to do. And I have a difficutly with that sort of reasoning. If you want to know anything abou anyone, you must try to listen to the content of his/her speech rather than the surface of it. Over-simplification is a very blunt tool.
/RID
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19726309
>>you can't conclude from the use of "taboo"words that the speaker is a violent, uneducated moron.

Actually that is what much of the outside world concludes.  

If the person does not care enough about their life to control their own mouth, then something is wrong with them.  Yes, it could be a rare medical condition, but in most cases it is the lack of proper upbringing, or education.

It may not be logical or even ethical, but cursing at the wrong time and the wrong place can damage your credibility, and your life.  That is why intelligent and educated people do not curse in public.
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by:rid
ID: 19726352
I think we have reached at point where, at least I, would prefer to agree on our disagreement and move on. Perhaps it's a language problem, me not being native to english or we just have very different experiences from being raised in different parts of the world.
/RID
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19726609
rid,  it is ok to throw your hands up and quit, but I never heard you acknowledge of disavow if there were words in your own culture that were considered poor taste, or were mostly used by the lower educated portions of your society.

I personally think that it is because you don't want to admit that it is true that you can tell a person's education or intelligence from their choice of words.

But the answer is simple, since I am sure that there are swear words in your culture, just as I am sure that the more educated folks in your culture don't use them in public...
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by:rid
ID: 19726683
OK.

Of course there are bad-taste words, words that a seriously-minded person wouldn't care to use if he/she wants to communicate in a professional manner, unless it could be expected that such words could add something to the exchange. That may be one of the differences: here some words are really bad taste, but using them wouldn't amount to a sin (or even a misdemeanor, if they're not used to address a police officer or something). I agree, some words are "taboo" for serious communication, but if such a word were to be overheard, the speaker wouldn't be condemned at once...

I would NOT be so presumptious as to think I could correctly evaluate a person only on the basis of him/her using a swear word. If it amounted to a tendency to use swearing instead of other means  to describe something, or as substitute for proper technical terms, I would, of course, tend to question the person's seriousness. To me it's a blatant difference between detecting a trait or a tendency and labelling somebody as inept, daft or an ignoramus.

There are, naturally, swear words here, but, as I said previously, the domestic ones are mostly about the devil and his crew, his actions and whereabouts; sometimes human or other feces are called upon as a descriptor, sometimes body parts (animal or human) are used etc. We have imported a few of your popular american ones, but these mean little to our senior citizens as they're often not necessarily understood as swearing... Naturally, as I noted above, anyone who tries to communicate seriously tries to keep profanity out of it; that goes for plumbers as well, actually...
/RID
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by:arthurjb
ID: 19726752
Wow, I'm truly impressed, your post just summed up everything I have been trying to say.

It doesn't matter if the words are a "Sin" whatever you define that as, or just poor taste, there are words in every culture that are as you summed up"Taboo" for serious communications.

That is what I have been saying in this entire thread.

On a related note, there is an entire section of American culture, mostly teens, who for some reason believe that cursing makes the "Cool" (or whatever the current term is) or otherwise is productive.  But in the end it only makes them look ignorant or thoughtless...
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by:rid
ID: 19726776
Well, thank you, I think...

It's easier to discuss technical matters than these "philosphical" ones, perhaps it's been a language issue all along. I don't have a problem agreeing OR disagreeing with you.

Let's hope the author has enjoyed the discussion... :)

Cheers
/RID
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by:WaterStreet
ID: 19726921
"What exactly is wrong with swearing?"

Nothing and quite a lot, depending on the audience.

I've been avoiding this thread after my first posting realizing that I felt strongly about this, but I just couldn't get my thoughts together about it.  Getting a "Comment Added" notice almost every day kept me wondering about it.  I've come to a personal conclusion based on my own usage and experience.

1.  I'm with my seventh full time employer in 39 years.  I have never heard anyone swear in any staff meeting or any business discussion in any of those companies.  And, I have never heard a supervisor speak that way to someone reporting to him.  The person I've been reporting to for the last two years is an officer of the company who has to be politically correct (which he is).  It took me the first year and a half to feel safe swearing in my conversations with him about things and people that we need to deal with (for example, "Can you believe that _______ is pulling another of his ________ stunts?").  I probably do this at least once a month with him and only him.  This mode of conversation shows the intensity I feel about a situation, being a person who almost never speaks this way.  Knowing him as I do, I feel it is well received by him. I believe he agrees, but he does not speak that way himself.  I do this privately with him and no others.  For me this manner of swearing serves the purpose of highlighting how strong I feel about something.

2.  Within the last week I couldn't help but overhear two guys walking down the sidewalk behind me talking about a fishing trip. It went something like this: "It took me an hour to find the f***in place then I couldn't find the f***in boat.  Then when I got out on the f***in lake it started to f***in rain." etc. etc.

In both cases, the speaker and the listener were in harmony with the words of the conversation.  In the second case, I thought the speaker had a poor education.  Who knows, he would probably have some choice words to describe me if he heard my ordinary conversations.  I suspect his f***in friend would agree.

So, in conclusion: "What exactly is wrong with swearing?" Nothing and quite a lot, depending on the audience.
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by:-Mystique-
ID: 19728680
----you can unknowingly swear.
You can also use a word that in some situations, is considered proper terminology, but is a swear word  outside of people who are involved in the field where that terminology is commonly used without any relationship to swearing.

I speak of the word "bitch" which is viewed by many as a swear world, but in the world of people involved in breeding, showing, training, and competing in performance events with dogs, is the proper term for a female dog.  

I can't count the number of times when some of my friends and I have gathered at a restaurant after a dog show and were talking and of course we used the word "bitch" without even thinking of the swear word connotation of it until we would notice that we were getting some very weird looks from other diners who weren't "dog people!"

Among other breeders, participants in shows and competition, etc, it would be considered strange if you didn't use the term "bitch" to apply to a female dog.  People who are novices to dog showing, training,  breeding etc, usually have to get used to using the proper term "bitch", because of the word being used outside of the dog world, as a common insult and swear word!

And a word that is a swear word in one language, may be a benign word in another.  'Hell" is one example, the word means "bright" in German!
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by:rid
ID: 19728771
... and it's a village in Norway!
/RID