Cussing seems to be everywhere these days

Ballpark brawls and George Brett interviews aren’t the only things laced with profanity these days.

Expletive excess in public venues and workplaces is an ever rising tide.

From White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich to actor Christian Bale – who infamously spewed a 3½-minute F-bomb rant on the set of the latest Terminator film – the air brims with the cussing of the famous and the rest of us.

Emanuel's propensity for profanity even caused President Barack Obama to joke at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on Mother's Day weekend that Rahm is "not used to saying the word 'day' after 'mother.' "

Indeed, four-letter words pepper music and scripts – can Jon Stewart go a night without being bleeped? – and some people find it hard to express a thought without Anglo-Saxon earthiness that once would have made a tavern wench blush.

A study published two years ago in the Leadership and Organization Development Journal suggested that swearing can be a healthy stress release, something needed in high-pressure workplaces.

Even though 40 percent of business owners in a survey this spring admitted swearing on the job, 80 percent said bad words are out of place at work and give the wrong impression about professionalism.

Only 1 in 10 of the survey respondents thought cursing was a justified pressure valve or morale booster.

Now, so common is it, there's even a science of swearing.

One expert, Harvard University professor and author Steven Pinker, has written about five distinct types: abusive (used to be hurtful); idiomatic (to be macho or cool); emphatic (to stress a point); cathartic (to release pain or emotion, as when you spill hot coffee in your lap); and dysphemistic (to substitute a distasteful term for a milder one).

While about three-fourths of Americans admit to swearing some time, just about everyone has heard it in public.

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