Some years ago, a poll was conducted to find out how often people swear . I don’t recall the methodology used , nor do I remember the exact results. What I do remember very clearly is that , as a profession , secretaries swore the least, using a swear word once in every 20 words. Construction workers swore the most, with one cuss word in every three.I found these results amazing and somewhat difficult to swallow mostly because I , and the people I assosciate with, hardly ever swear. That secretaries were the most clean spoken was not unexpected ; that they used a cuss word as often as once in every 20 was something I would never have guessed. That construction workers are the most foul mouthed was predictable; theirs is a macho profession that places a premium on being one of the boys and cussing is one way of doing it. But, one in every three? How do they ever make themselves understood ?
What set me thinking about this topic was a news item about mercurial celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay who is currently shooting a TV series ” Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” for Australian TV. Even though the show is the top rated show in it’s time slot, viewers are apalled by the number of cuss words that the foul mouthed Ramsay uses to excoriate his hapless apprentices. In the U.S, the objectionable words would be bleeped out but in Australia , after 8:30 PM, programming is aired uncut but with an advisory that the language used may not be suitable for delicate ears. As a result, viewers got the full flavor of Ramsay’s vocabulary; so much so that the politicians in Canberra even discussed the issue in the Senate amid calls to ban certain swear words on Australian TV.
But get this : Ramsay was found to have used a ceretain cuss word 80 times in one 40 minute episode . That doesn’t sound like construction worker territory to me . Closer I think to what a secretary might sound like.
S-o-o-o-o-…… how often do you #^&%*! ?