Blog Podcasts The Dialogue Magazine About Us

Sign up for Worthwhile's free weekly e-zine.

Home > Blog > F%$# That!
Out of Our Minds
Tuesday, March 21, 2006 10:38 AM
F%$# That!
Kevin Salwen on Culture

Nice piece in this morning's Wall Street Journal about the use of profanity in the workplace, including a section in the piece about cultures in which cursing is almost required to get ahead.

'Jay Sapovits, a sales executive who won't swear in certain environments, distrusts other salespeople who never find occasion to swear. 'There's an inherent element of dishonesty with people who are in a situation where a swear is warranted and they don't swear,' he says. 'If a salesperson doesn't swear, they're either 1) not dialing the phone enough or 2) are not to be trusted.' '

What do you think: Is profanity ever called for?


martin - 3/25/2006 8:36:23 AM
there is such a beauty in swearing done well that profanity is almost lyrical. is it ever 'called for'? that's depends on the situation and deliverer of the expletives.

what's also wonderful about swearing are the cultural variances of the abuse. the brits use phrases that are both colorful, intellectually engaging and blue beyond belief. while i've found the swearing of folks from latin america to be just funnier. we americans seem to be really good at the plain old cutting and crude.

i think swearing and how we choose our words speaks volumes of who we are.
Chris Bailey - 3/24/2006 1:48:08 PM
Sorry Jenny, but I just think it's rather prudish to categorize any person who swears as you have. So, if I've just been treated like a verbal pinata by an angry customer and need to go vent to a colleague about it...if I say, 'Gee, he was a very bad man,' I'm a noble individual, but if I say, 'God, he was such an asshole,' I'm somehow a course human being? Let's agree that like anything else, swearing in moderation is okay, but excessive use can be less than useful.
Gary - 3/23/2006 5:49:06 AM
I work in a bank head office (IT)and lots of swearing is the order of the day. I think we British are just more coarse :-)
Jenny - 3/22/2006 1:51:54 PM
Ludicrous, yes, but certainly not out of character for a sales guy. I mean, if he's in any way successful in sales, he's got to be self-centered to a certain extent.

But I agree with Curt -- swearing might be merited in a given situation, but it's never required. That's why the English language has synonyms. If you can get the intensity and meaning from a 'regular' word that you'd get from the swear word (and you can, with a little thought), then using the swear word just means either 1) you don't have a very large vocabulary and thus aren't very smart, or 2) you're a coarse person by nature and can't be taken anywhere. Either way, no one's going to trust you. So, if it's a toss up between not being trusted by that sales guy or not being trusted by everyone else, I'd take the former anyday.
Curt Rosengren - 3/21/2006 3:22:26 PM
Is profanity ever called for? Nope. That would imply that it's a necessity. Merited? Sure. But not called for. As I see it, that's just a personal preference, nothing more. If someone isn't comfortable swearing, more power to them.

What I really hear that salesguy saying is, 'When people are in situation where *I* would swear and they don't swear, something must be wrong with them.'

That's pretty ludicrous.


Enter this
code below:
 What is this?
Home   |   Blog   |   Blog Archive   |   Podcasts   |   The Dialogue   |   Subscribe   |   Advertise   |   Customer Service
About Us   |   Contact Us   |   Resources / Promotions   |   FAQ
Copyright © 2006 dash30, Inc. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. 39