What the F-dash-dash-dash word! Does Profanity & Leadership Mix?
“I sure do! Every Goddamned day.” — General Patton’s response to a question about reading the bible
From George C. Scott’s portrayal of the fiery and foul-mouthed World War II American General George S. Patton, Jr., to the Watergate era tape recordings of President Richard Nixon, to the more recent firing (and subsequent rehiring) of a Florida high school baseball coach who’s exuberant post-championship team speech last spring was laden with F-bombs, the debate over what language is and isn’t permissable by persons in leadership positions continues.
Despite such examples as Patton and Nixon, there still remains a common belief only those with a limited vocuabulary will readily spout out a word generally recognized as profanity. A Psychology Today article written by psychotherapist Dan Mager debunks this antiquated mindset. The author of Roots and Wings: A Guide to Mindful Parenting in Recovery points to a 2015 study where researchers couldn’t positively identify the penchant for cursing in relation to one’s depth in vocabulary. The research actually determined those subjects with the larger vocabulary were generating the most obscenities.
“Coffee’s for closers” & Corporate Cursing!
- Glengarry Glen Ross, a 1992 film which takes on the tough world of being in the sales profession, and had brilliant performances from the likes of Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin and others, literally displayed a by-the-’you-know-whats’ look at ugly aspects of the corporate business scene.
- In 2013, the sailor-like language of Scott’s Miracle-Gro chairman Jim Hagedorn caused three board members to tender their resignations. Hadedorn was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as acknowledging he did “have a tendency to use colorful language” and in his apology he promised to concentrate on avoiding blue comments in the future.
- Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz, in 2011, opened many corporate eyes by dropping the F-bomb after being unceremoniously fired and subsequently questioning the location of the current chairman’s testicles for not delivering the message himself.
Doesn’t art imitate society? Apparently it’s readily acceptable for actors to spout profanitly-laden dialogue of real estate salesmen is readily yet similar language in the real world isn’t to be permitted.
Profanity & Sports!
After Kenne Brown coached his high school baseball team to a Class 9A state championship win in June, 2019 he boarded the team bus with the winner’s trophy in hand. At the start of the season few thought much about the Sanford Seminoles. It was Brown’s first-year as the team’s head coach and the last time the Seminoles won a state championship it’s likely most of the players had a Starter jacket of their favorite sports teams as it was nearly three decades ago. Brown’s coaching led to a determined bunch of ball players reaching the pinnacle of the sport.
Unlike the early 90’s, today’s players have phones on hand to record everything. The exuberant coach threw out multiple F-bombs throughout his celebratory speech to his state championship players. Seven F-dash-dash-dash words during his under 30-second talk resulted in the video going viral as the player recording the scene posted it on social media. Less than a year later, Brown was fired due to the outcry from parents and others to the Sanford Board of Education. Calmer heads prevailed a few weeks later and the baseball coach saw his reinstatement completed.
One has to wonder if these purveyors of anti-profanity — especially those parents of high school age children — ever walked through the halls of their children’s high school. Have they heard how conversations casually include swearing? Have they listened to the music being played by their children? Do they let their children watch Netflix or HBO where the over/under in swear-words-per-episode is so inflated even the most confident Vegas book wouldn’t accept a bet?
Political and parental pressure has resulted in many school districts enacting a policies regarding racial, ethnic and gender-oriented slurs and many have also included a no-swearing bullet point in the ahletic handbook. The severity of the enforcement of these rules are all over the map. In some districts, an athletic director is more concerned with preventing a politically correct issue than whether or not a coach/player vents frustration by mentioning male off-spring of a female canine.