To some people, swearing is more or less an involuntary reaction in a moment of excitement, pain or anger.
To others, it’s a bad habit, and to still others, it has evolved into somewhat of a way of life. According to statistics compiled in a study conducted by BonusFinder.com, that’s apparently especially true in a handful of states, including Missouri.
Researchers have determined that the average American swears (or cusses) multiple times an hour. Whether or not that’s true, swearing is inarguably becoming more acceptable in all forms of communication in the United States – including conversation, printed material and online posts – and what would for years have been considered “foul language” is becoming commonplace in popular music, TV and film.
To illustrate, BonusFinder analyzed discussion forum pages, tabulated numbers from posts made by people in each state and came up with a ranking of states based on the frequency with which residents employ swear words.
Missouri came in fifth, with 5,381 swear words found in 880 viewed posts, for an average of 6.1 per post.
Texas earned the distinction of state with the highest potty-mouth ratio, with an average of 6.9 swear words per post, while Ohio was second, Florida third and Tennessee fourth.
Meanwhile, the state with the least vulgar language in the study was California, averaging only .2 cusses per post.
It’s safe to say that some swear words are viewed as being harsher or more offensive than others, and some are more commonly spoken than others. Texans’ favorite cuss word (that starts with “s”) was the same as in 48 other states, and accounted for 20% of the swear-share in the Lone Star State and 19% nationwide.
Link to source of research:
I don’t use much profane language and never have, although I can’t claim to have never dropped a bomb here by using a “four-letter word” to add emphasis to some form of statement or blurting one out when I hit my head on the underside of a cabinet or other object (and yes, my skull has made contact with more than a few objects in my time). But in general, I’m not attracted to swear words and more often than not find them somewhat gratuitous, superfluous and unnecessary.
And I always feel sort of awkward and distracted when I hear someone cussing extremely freely; you know, like when every fifth word is a variation of the granddaddy of them all (the one that begins with “f”). It’s as if the words become the focus rather than whatever is being described, praised or complained about. In fact, the distraction can be so great that I sometimes am not even sure what was being discussed due to the constant head-bashing caused by the chosen wording.
My wife and I feel similarly about present-day movies and TV shows with scripts loaded with f-bombs and other cuss words. We agree that in almost every case, good movies and shows would still be good with cast members using more toned-down language (as was the case for many decades). Not that a swear word might fit here and there, just not all over the place.
Anyway, while I understand peoples’ fascination with foul language, I don’t think getting a point across usually requires it, and I don’t think it dresses up any form of communication.
I swear it doesn’t.
Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.