My wife (whom recently redesigned her site, check it out) is very active on one particular message board. On there, they not only go on about the actual topic of the message board, but they go into discussions about just about anything.
One topic that Tara was telling me about that I actually took an interest in was the use of profanity and how it affects some people. Again, the views on this went all over the place, from those who felt that the use of a “curse word” didn’t hurt anyone to those who felt that the use of vulgarity ruined the message board for them, and is a sign of “stupidity”.
I have a tendency to curse a decent amount when I speak. I know when it’s not appropriate (around children, old people, etc), and in my case, it happens a lot more in certain situations (like driving) than others. I also don’t curse a lot when I write. When you write, you have a lot of time, generally, to think out what you’re saying, and therefore can think of the best way to say what you want to without offending anyone and making your content acceptable to anyone who might come across it.
However, “curse” words are just words, and have as much value as any other word. What makes “asshole” any worse than “sphincter” has been completely lost on me, except that your parents made sure that you never said the former, and just looked at you strangely when you said the latter. To say that choosing one word over another shows how intellegent someone is depends on the word, and even then, it still comes off snobbish. You can be a gifted scientist without a good vocabulary. At the same time, you can speak well and be a toal idiot.
It’s kind of funny that people will hold their language skills as their true sign of intellegence. Of course, it’s funnier when people who think that actually have a horrible vocabulary and try to compensate by using large words they don’t know the meaning of in their daily communication. That’s funny.