Look, I don’t care if you stub your toe and loose a four-letter exclamation. Unexpected pain, knee-jerk reaction, it’s on the tip of your tongue—I get it.
But professional profanity is a whole other ordeal.
Preconceived projections are what I’m talking about here. Blog posts, tweets, speeches, books; they’re all produced with forethought.
You plan out what you post, you prepare what you speak, you have all the time in the world before your press publish, and yet you choose to curse intentionally.
You are making a conscious decision to trade class for crass.
You’ve just created a permanent record of professional profanity. Everything you publish is archived in one way or another. Not to mention, you leave a permanent impression on those who experience what you said.
Many use abrasive language for shock value. If they want to drive a point home, they concatenate a curse and call it done.
How extremely cheap and unprovocative.
Curse words have absolutely zero flavor. Their limited palette and overuse has made them devoid of all meaning. They literally communicate nothing other than your profoundly lazy character and obvious lack of articulateness.
Words are a beautiful thing. Used in an articulatory manner, they can be quite colorful without being “colorful.” What you are trying to say with an expletive can always be said with more emphasis using other descriptors.
To say that no other combination of words can drive your point home better than a curse merely underscores your laziness.
Do you send emails to your boss or colleague with “b4″ and “ur”? Of course not. Why? Because it lowers your class. What might be fine in a text message to a friend is otherwise inappropriate and informal in professional context.
Some speakers will leverage this informality and speak crudely in an attempt to appear “cool” or “hip” to the audience.
“Yo, I’m just a chill dude like you. I cuss n’ stuff too.”
Here’s the problem: You don’t sound relatable and you don’t sound cool. You sound unintelligent and you look cheap. Of all the descriptive words you could have chosen, you selected this stale, worn-out cliché of a profanity because you’re apathetic.
Now, while I personally think you sound downright tacky, I seriously could not care less if you curse. However, there are many people that are turned off by it for a myriad of reasons.
Is it really worth estranging such a huge subset of people that could potentially be in your audience? In extremely practical terms, we’re talking about potential sales here. These people could be buying your products, hiring you for your services, or compensating you for whatever it is that you offer.
What you’re saying is your lazy insistence on limiting yourself to the continued use of 5 or 10 common curse words is worth more than what your potential audience could collectively compensate you.
That’s just total idiocy.
“But it’s a part of my character,” you cry. “Cursing is integral to my brand. I don’t care if I offend or alienate people!”
That’s completely fine. You’re fully entitled to that mindset and I support your right to free speech and the use of such unimaginative and coarse language. You have a right to your crutch.
You’re also cheap, lazy, and foolish.
This post generated some response, with a common counterargument being that one should “be authentic” and true to themselves. Here are my follow up thoughts: On “Authenticity” & Cursing.