I've been swearing more in class this semester, mutha*****s.
I'm not sure if it's a desperate attempt to maintain the attention spans of the ADD generation, my uptight, Protestant, middle-class, white-boy rage at the world, or what Henry Drummond says in Inherit the Wind:
"I don't swear just for the hell of it. Language is a poor enough means of communication. I think we should all the words we've got. Besides, there are damn few words that anybody understands."Just to be clear: I'm not dropping F-bombs in the middle of English Romanticism, though I won't rule it out for later, mostly just describing ads, movies, books, entertainment, and whatever, as "shitty," "bullshit," "shite," and all of the delightful variations thereof.
So few other words seem to fit!
I called myself out on it the other day in the same way Roger Lodge used to apologize on Blind Date for bad dates ("Let's move on..."), but I secretly knew I'd found my new voice in the classroom when I saw an under-desk texter look up for a second in the mistaken belief I was speaking to her.
As my talking G.I. Joe used to say when you pulled his dog tags: "Mission accomplished. Good work, men."
Kawasaki's four simple rules for swearing
In his recent book, Enchantment, Apple Fellow (and fellow) Guy Kawasaki says that swearing should be part of every communicator's vocabulary, because it arouses attention, demonstrates strength, conveys informality, releases tension, and increases acceptance - unless you've got a job teaching toddlers, grandmas, or Mormons.
If you're going to swear, though, he says you need to follow these f***ing rules:
1. Swear infrequently - If you swear every other word, it loses its power.
2. Swear only when exposing hypocrisy, arrogance, intentional inaccuracy, and dishonesty - Does being offended by a "bad ad" count?
3. Swear only when the audience supports you - If they don't, they'll hate you more.
4. Soften your profanity - "Crap and suck" are seemingly outrageous, but not really outrageous, and get the job done.
Lastly, he counsels us to never swear to intimidate or humiliate, and points out the double standard: a man who swears is cool, a woman who swears is a modern-day Jezebel.
His advice: "The best way to destroy a double standard is to defy it."
Now there's some good crap that doesn't suck.