I Swear! And More and More, in Public

Profanity has moved beyond private discourse, experts say
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2007 2:55 PM CST
Duane "Dog" Chapman, star of the reality series "Dog, the Bounty Hunter" is shown in this 2006 file photo. Chapman on Wednesday apologized for using the N-word repeatedly in a profanity-laced tirade during...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Profanity seems to be more and more widespread, but linguists suggest people aren't actually swearing more—they're just swearing more publicly. The tide of athletes and musicians who pepper their language with choice four-letter words is meeting a surge of media avenues that aren't regulated by the government, resulting in a flood of profanity, reports the Baltimore Sun.

Swearing has a key role, said a psychology professor, as an alternative to physical aggression—a strategy Dick Cheney put to the test in 2004 on the Senate floor. TV networks, responsible for salty utterances they broadcast, are appealing to the Supreme Court to remove FCC sanctions in cases when verboten words slip past the censors.