When a speaker or author drops the “f bomb,” utters excretory expletives, or launches a lusty cuss word, it doesn’t add emphasis. It doesn’t make them look cool, hip, and smart. It makes them seem crass, juvenile, arrogant, and less than they are.
I say this not because I’m a linguistic purist. Far from it. I use my share of colorful language in private conversation — probably too much and too widely, in fact.
But there’s a considerable difference between cursing in private and doing so in front of an audience, in the pages of a book, or on screen in a blog.
I recently read a pair of business books that seemed to revel in the use of foul language. No doubt the authors felt that such word choice helped to underscore the points they were making. In several cases, it was done as a way of expressing outrage. It fell flat.
Over the weekend, I also watched a presentation from a tech conference where a very popular speaker seemed infatuated by excrement, and he littered his talk with constant references of that nature. The audience often laughed when he would use the word, no doubt encouraging increased usage.
I’d offer up examples from social media, but blogs and podcasts are so frequently the venue for foul language that it hardly seems fair to do so. If you’re not quoting someone or writing fiction, there’s really no reason to reach into the toilet for such verbiage.
This sort of thing seems much more prevalent in geek culture where everything is a bit more casual and relaxed, even when it comes to business and professional life. But my advice to those who write and speak is to cut out the potty mouth. You can be even more effective — and reach a wider audience — without it.