Lately I find that I really love swearing.
-It's a way to express anger that doesn't actually hurt people. One might argue this point--see below.
-It's a way to express anger that doesn't train people towards physical release, the way (for instance) violence against objects does.
-It's convenient, eloquent shorthand about the fact one is involved with the dark-and-gritty side of life in some way.
-God said not to.
-The communication aspects are usually imprecise. How seriously the audience will take it varies a lot by background and personal context. I think many people who insist on taking swearing seriously (and punishing it socially) are practicing a kind of class discrimination as well, as the words have a different meaning in working class communities where they are used constantly than they do in middle/upper class communities where they're seldom or never used.
-Some say cussing liberally in everyday life gets rid of a useful escalation phase in conflict which can offer a chance to stave off violence. This has not been my experience.
-The other argument: it does actually hurt people. If "this is the most hurtful and extreme thing I could say" is what it means, I can see that. I'd prefer that in order to say the most hurtful and extreme thing they possibly could, people should have to exercise a little intelligence and creativity. I can see that leaving this shorthand intact would be helpful to inarticulate people, in situations where they see verbal and physical violence as their only options. But--there's a victim-blamey undertone in the idea that I ought to modify my language so that someone else can feel better about not hitting me, and that pisses me off.
Thoughts, anybody? I'd really like to hear arguments on this. Not that I will, but I take a perverse masochistic pleasure in asking anyway.