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You shouldn't swear is a logical truth. "Not being supposed to say it" is what "swearing" is. Leaders shouldn't do it. That's why it's so fucking effective when they do.

Daniel Christadoss

I bet Jawaharlal Nehru & Indira Gandhi swore and Mahatma Gandhi did not swear. Funny thing is in India some bosses would swear in English but would not swear in their own mother tongue. In English swearing seems okay, but sounds really crude done in our own mother tongue. Probably a colonial hangup.

Liam-og Griffin

The 'f' word is unrivaled in power in the English language. It's got aggression built in and demands to be heard. Choosing to avoid the use of powerful words like this is like choosing to use a screwdriver to drive a screw, when you've got a 24v drill driver in the back of the van. Distinguished craftsmen would advocate the eloquence of using your hands to create beautiful works of art in the same way a writer would only use 'acceptable' language to colourfully express the full spectrum of emotions.

I've got no problem if you want to be old school and proud of the craftsmanship of your handy work, but you're out of your fucking mind if you don't use the best tool for the job!

Susan Singer

"I long ago quit praying and took to swearing. If I pray, I will have to wait until I am dead to get anything; but when I swear, I get things HERE."

Mary Harris "Mother" Jones

online backup

Swearing is bad for the children too.


This sort of bugs me, Bob, now that you ask. Let me preface this comment by saying that I advise the non-native English speakers I work with to cut down on their swearing in English. They just don't make it sing. (Swearing in Danish is a completely different game ... long story.)

But your post reminds me of the bowdlerization of your title that you sometimes "complain" (not sure that's the right word) about. The No Jerk Rule just doesn't quite capture the spirit of your project, perhaps. But suppose someone suggested a still more "accurate" title: The No Cunt Rule. (To my horror, my browser's spellchecker has actually underlined the offending word!) In many places/cultures these three options denote roughly the same thing, but one is not a swear word, one is a mild swear word, and one is what we might properly call "taboo".

Perhaps I should dare you even to publish this comment? (Go ahead an correct it to C*** if you must.) Those who would argue that this comment is a stunt, of course need to ask whether the same isn't true of The No Asshole Rule.

Anyway, the problem ... what bugs me about the question of whether leaders "should swear" ... is that it's always going to end with a "well, yes, when it's appropriate" (Diane on Cheers famously declared she could be spontaenous when, erh, she thought it was appropriate).

Should leaders (or scholars for that matter) ever say something truly offensive? No, of course, not. Unless, unless, unless ... that's the effect that is needed. I can't see this issue leading anywhere but to a policy of moderation "with exceptions". "Strategic" use of swearing is unlikely to really be swearing at all.

You shouldn't swear is a logical truth. "Not being supposed to say it" is what "swearing" is. Leaders shouldn't do it. That's why it's so fucking effective when they do.

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