If you've ever blurted out an ill-timed curse word among co-workers or a group of people you barely knew, take solace in the fact that some scholars are actually encouraging people to do more it, claiming that it "brings people together." According to New York Magazine's Drake Baer, uttering a swear word can be a form of bonding for humans; it can act like a glue that connects seemingly disparate groups—e.g., parent and child or teacher and student.
"Swears have a particular social function," writes Baer. "Swearing is a lot like humor: Both carry social risk and skewer taboos. A good, hearty swear between teacher and student, or among family is not dissimilar from how friends talk sh*t as a way of bonding." He then goes on to quote University of Indiana Bloomington professor Michael Adams, who writes that curse words are "unexpectedly useful in fostering human relations because they carry risk. … We like to get away with things, and sometimes we do so with like-minded people" in his new book, In Praise of Profanity. Adams even contends that parents can swear in front of their children without encouraging them to do so on their own, claiming that a good-natured F-bomb, if done right, can serve as a sort of peace offering between parent and child.
While we can understand the use of swear words as a bonding mechanism between peers, we're unsure of how we feel about the parent-child swearing dynamic. Where do you stand on this matter? Tell us your opinion, and pick up Adams's book learn more about his theory.
This story was originally posted on August 9, 2016, and has since been updated by Sacha Strebe.