Former Alaskan reporter used “Science of Swearing” on live television to achieve a positive outcome

There are some people who seem to be very offended by former Alaskan reporter Charlo Green’s use of a swear word live on air as she quit her job after doing a “news” piece on a medicinal cannabis business that as it turns out, she owns.

Ms. Green explained she was quitting her job as a news reporter for KTVA to focus her energy on legalizing cannabis in Alaska and said as far as this job goes, “f*ck it, I quit”.

Ms. Green later explained when asked about why she quit the job the way that she did, she said she did it to bring attention to unjust cannabis laws. What everyone should understand is that drug prohibition laws are all political in nature and racist in practice.

However, since some people would rather focus on her use of the f-word instead of focusing on the issue of the use of racist drug laws to enslave people, I decided to see if there is any research on the use of curse words in public. I found an interesting article written on the subject that says that studies have shown that the use of curse words in public usually have positive results.

Here is an excerpt from the article The Science of Swearing that reads in part,

Swearing can occur with any emotion and yield positive or negative outcomes. Our work so far suggests that most uses of swear words are not problematic. We know this because we have recorded over 10,000 episodes of public swearing by children and adults, and rarely have we witnessed negative consequences. We have never seen public swearing lead to physical violence. Most public uses of taboo words are not in anger; they are innocuous or produce positive consequences (e.g., humor elicitation). No descriptive data are available about swearing in private settings, however, so more work needs to be done in that area.

Therefore, instead of thinking of swearing as uniformly harmful or morally wrong, more meaningful information about swearing can be obtained by asking what communication goals swearing achieves. Swear words can achieve a number of outcomes, as when used positively for joking or storytelling, stress management, fitting in with the crowd, or as a substitute for physical aggression. Recent work by Stephens et al. even shows that swearing is associated with enhanced pain tolerance. This finding suggests swearing has a cathartic effect, which many of us may have personally experienced in frustration or in response to pain. Despite this empirical evidence, the positive consequences of swearing are commonly disregarded in the media. Here is an opportunity for psychological scientists to help inform the media and policymakers by clearly describing the range of outcomes of swearing, including the benefits.

Considering that Charlo Green has raised over $10,000, twice the amount she was asking for in her fundraising campaign to mount a public media campaign “to end a failed drug policy that has ruined the lives of far too many Americans”, it is correct to say her use of a “swear” word has resulted in a positive outcome.

The attempt by her former employer to embarrass Ms. Green claiming she was terminated has backfired and actually given her medicinal cannabis business more free advertisement, which has possibly led to an increase in clients for Alaska Cannabis Club which says it is “doing what no other marijuana business has done before. The Club’s business model finds a perfect balancing act with Alaska’s Medical Marijuana laws, Alaska’s constitutional protections and current local and state marijuana laws factored in.”

Ms. Green has also stated that her experience in the corporate media has given her insight into how media is used to control the minds of the masses on political and social issues and wanted to expose those who are deliberating misleading voters in Alaska. A recent post on the Alaska Cannabis Club’s Facebook page revealed that “Big Alcohol” funds one of the opponents to legalizing cannabis in Alaska.

Regardless if one disapproves with Ms. Green’s deliberate use of a swear word, breaking some unwritten code of etiquette of a racist and hypocritical society, to garner attention and momentum for her efforts to educate the public on an important societal legal issue, one can not dispute her positive results in fighting against unjust laws.


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