We seem to be choosing our words less carefully these days. Words that were formerly never used in movie and TV scripts are now uttered freely. Even President Donald Trump used off-color speech while campaigning in 2016 -- and his supporters said that made him seem more genuine. Now, a January 2017 study conducted by the University of Cambridge tells us that people who swear are often more honest. The researchers concluded that people who don’t filter their language are also less likely to filter their views. The researchers asked 276 people why they swear, and most of the respondents said that it was to express their true selves and be honest, or to express negative emotions, rather than to insult or intimidate others.
Can we handle the truth?
- The study found that people from northeastern U.S. states such as Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York are more likely to swear than folks in southern states like South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
- Commenting on the study results, co-author David Stillwell admitted that swearing is often inappropriate. “If people said what they think all the time,” he added, “would that really be a good thing?”
- In the 1939 film Gone With the Wind, Rhett Butler says, “Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.” The filmmakers were fined $5,000 USD for violating the Motion Picture Production Code by including profanity.