David Harsanyi

Some experts claim that the English language contains nearly a million words -- approximately 30 of them classified as curses. In Ephesians 4:29, it clearly states, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths."

Still, every now and then, filthy language can come in handy.

My first foray into journalism was under the tutelage of a legendary sportscaster, whose genteel face and grandfatherly advice brought him much adulation. So you can imagine that I was floored when on my first day at the office, the man unleashed a cluster bomb of expletives that could have sent Samuel L. Jackson recoiling in horror.

Nevertheless, he made a point, and I never forgot it. Since then, I have remained an enthusiastic proponent of (selective) explicit language. Sometimes there are no gracious words to convey your emotions properly. And like most of you, I've heard expletives my entire life. It's really not all that scandalous.

Then again, we also may agree that in certain places -- such as San Quentin and Illinois -- profanity is overutilized as verbs, adjectives and articles, stultifying the impact of otherwise-outstanding cuss words.

When Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is heard on federal wiretaps advocating the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial writers, at one point he says: "Our recommendation is fire all those f------ people. Get 'em the f--- out of there, and get us some editorial support."

In this case, the profanity punctuates the seriousness of Blago's desire to dismiss antagonist members of the Chicago press. Assertive. Effective. I get it. After that, I'm afraid, things get out of hand.

"These f------ are telling me that I have to suck it up for two years and give motherf------ Obama his senator pick. F--- him. For nothing? F--- him. I'll put some d----- b-- in the Senate before I just give (Senate candidate No. 1) a f------ Senate seat and I don't get anything."

You see, here, gratuitous use of the F-word -- in all its incarnations -- has transformed a perfectly respectable attempt at bribery into an unintelligible tirade, which overall exposes a man on the abyss of a Joe Pesci moment.

The extraordinary aspect to this is that I am only subjected to this kind of language watching Quentin Tarantino films and reading FBI transcripts of elected officials. What's surprising, as well, is that this lingo, as crass as it is, elicited very few complaints from the general public.

When the infamous tapes of Richard Nixon were first released to the public, in addition to hearing White House scheming, Americans were faced with the reality that presidents dish out profanity like football players. It was shocking.


David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of "The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy." Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.