The Etiquette of Profanity

Do I have your attention?

I grew up playing ball in inner-city schoolyards, and played varsity high school sports using antiquated locker rooms and facilities in run-down neighborhoods. Obscenities were a mindless aspect of our existence, and most of us didn’t even think about the meaning of the words we were using.

Then, of course, I grew up, received a university education, and entered the world of business. During that time, I learned to successfully modify my behavior. I can still curse like a sailor (no offense to ocean-going professionals intended) when I hit my thumb with a hammer, or fall down a flight of icy steps. It’s a wonderful catharsis. But I can’t remember the last time I did that with a client, or in a restaurant, or even a bar, especially when my voice is readily heard and there are strangers around who don’t appreciate my basically tender and generous soul.

A great deal of the commentary I read on YouTube is beyond our old locker room banter. Some people on Facebook seem not to care what the people in that restaurant think of them, they’re shouting it out. (Facebook has often been compared to a raucous Boston bar at closing time, but I think there is more civility in the bar, and there are people who tell loudmouths to “knock it off.”)

Profanity in a debate—especially in an ad hominem attack on the other person—is a poor substitute for intellect. It denotes a paucity of intelligence, of reasoning power, of wit. (Just as the “comics” who simply string profanities together as their “act” put me to sleep. That’s not wit. It’s nitwit.) Now that the social media platforms have created such vaster public forums, the degree to which many resort to invective rather than invention is appalling.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve had to throw two people out of my Mentor Program for deciding they were simply going to use profanity and ad hominem attack to communicate and to impugn others. (I’ve only had to do that three times before in 15 years, and those three were for ethics violations.)

I realize I’m leaving myself open to the wise guys who will post commentary here in response using profanity, such is life, but surely there must be a majority getting tired of people not even bothering to think long enough to use words to try to influence, rather than curses to try to scare. It seems to me the constant danger in vast public interaction is always that of the looming menace of the lowest common denominator becoming the norm.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

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55 Responses to The Etiquette of Profanity

  1. Peter McLean says:

    The use of profanity is generally a substitute for poor (or zero) thinking and limited vocabulary. Constant usage effectively demonstrates low intelligence. It says nothing, achieves nothing, except to say “Look at me, I’m a hero, I can swear!” (snigger, snigger). (Yes, I understand that sometimes the emotive connotation may not be beaten. Even Shakespeare resorted to it on occasion.)

    It almost beggars belief, though, that you had two mentor program participants at that point! You would think that simple professional courtesy would prohibit it.

    The reality is that most public online forums provide little serious intellectual debate. More’s the pity. Here’s to hoping that yours continues to attract “higher value” contributions. Thanks Alan.

  2. Alan Weiss says:

    Thanks, Peter.

    I’d add that anyone can have a bad day, but when you don’t bother to censor yourself, or delete what you wrote, or at least apologize for it, then it’s not just a bad day, it’s a way of life.

    I recently asked a company in Dubai to stop sending me spam. It was a polite request, and they had no “unsubscribe.” But they are a public and presumably reputable company in their field. One of the managers responded with invective and unbelievable abuse. I forwarded it to two trade associations of international repute they belong to according to their home page. Neither has seen fit to take any kind of action against him or his firm.

  3. A recent trend that boggles my mind is professionals who think substituting symbols makes profanity accceptable. Example: “We need to f$@#ing stop them!” I’ve seen this tactic used in group emails sent for business purposes. I don’t recall seeing this in years past.

  4. Alan Weiss says:

    You’re right. And how about some recent book titles? Or TV shows (adapted from an actual Twitter address)?

  5. Bill Conerly says:

    I mostly agree, but I think there’s a time for emphasis. A law firm was terribly late with work for a company I’m involved with. We complained to senior partner and were assured that all would be done in 2 weeks. In 2 weeks, we heard nothing. Sent email inquiring as to status. Heard nothing for 2 more weeks. We asked again for status. Three days later were told they would get working on it immediately.

    I replied that I was disappointed in the delay, and disappointed that we had to nag them to learn status of the project.

    They replied they would talk to my partner but not to me any more.

    After we fired that firm and hired new lawyer, I told him that as a condition of the engagement, he had to accept that if he provided bad service I would tell him so.

    That was probably first time in 20 years I had used bad words in a business setting. I still think that rare use for emphasis is OK, but I’m willing to be schooled on the topic.

  6. Karen Fuqua says:

    Hello Alan -

    I completely agree. In my opinion, to use profanity, in any sense, is classless. If it is directed at another, it is offensive and demeaning. If it simply used to converse, it demonstrates a lack of social grace. There are thousands of words in the English language available to describe anything one wishes (my vocabulary has grown significantly in knowing you!) to say.

    Even though I am no longer in consulting, I continuously read your blog, this was a great posting!

    Thanks!

  7. Peter McLean says:

    Agreed to all. Penny’s webcomic certainly says so much.

    Bill, dismal stuff from the lawyers. I understand your ‘emphasis’ for the new hand. If you used it with him, did he deserve it? I think there are times when people revert to swearing simply due to frustration when other people don’t listen to polite language. But I think people are swearing more and more quickly after the first attempt – those people snap into swearing mode instead of stepping up their language into more assertive and blunt expressions without resorting to the extreme. Others’ rudeness is not an excuse for ours.

    And then there are others for whom swearing becomes an unconscious habit because everyone around them speaks like that.

    I’m reminded of some of the excellent senior military leaders I’ve met and read about. Contrary to popular portrayal in the movies, they have been absolute gentlemen who used their voices and words with quiet strength. Instead of swearing black and blue at the first frustration, they knew how to “command” people using their tone, volume (to cut above noise and/or distraction when necessary or even being extremely quiet to make a point) and vocabulary. You would be in no doubt as to what they thought.

    I don’t want to be self-righteous here. Some of those “rough as guts” people would give you the shirt off their back. But if you rule your tongue, you rule your mind. And our Western culture increasingly has little self-rule…

  8. Alan Weiss says:

    This is what I didn’t like about the President’s former chief-of-staff, Rahm Emanuel, who is absolutely obscene. The fact that this was tolerated by his boss is not very impressive to me about either’s character.

  9. Peter McLean says:

    Our former Australian Prime Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd, was knifed in the back and de-throned just a few months ago partially because he abused his own staff, cabinet and ministers (and the Chinese and others for that matter) with absolutely obscene language left, right and centre (‘center’ for you Americans), while at the same time had to be ‘the smartest person in the room’ at all times.

    I know people who worked with him personally and are anything but sad that he is gone as national leader.

  10. Simon says:

    Agreed, on all counts. Profanity is out of control on the Web and this so called ‘common talk’ has become all to common.

    Alan, I’m railroading this, sorry. In response to Peter, I cannot believe the political situation in Aus.

    Unfortunately, Mr Rudd’s replacement, I’m told, is not much better. Something must be said about the company we keep, and Ms Gillards choice of a ‘partner’ in Tim Mathieson leaves a lot to be desired. I’m from his home town, and the reputation he upheld here was not a good one.

    • Peter McLean says:

      I won’t clog Alan’s blog with tales of Australian political perfidy but, again, not good. I know people who’ve worked directly with her. What they had to say I shall not publicly repeat (and no, it wasn’t profane – just revealed her character).

      Feel free to contact me off the blog, Simon.

  11. Graham Franklin says:

    Alan,

    Thanks for making my week. I love the “basically tender and generous soul” I would never have known.

  12. Alan Weiss says:

    That Australian abuse made the US press. I don’t condone knifing, but throwing him out of office seems to be the least you can do!

  13. The great thing about people and things that irritate you is it makes great blog fodder.

    I agree, being someone who has been known to drop the f bomb on more then one occasion it’s important to remember that there really is a time and place. Too many of us have forgotten that though. In my former job as a cop it was very difficult to curb yourself especially when dealing with someone who really needed to be sworn at. So you learn to let loose with your co-workers later.

    Not having cool avenues like Facebook as a teen I of course was unable to shock the world with my right to freedom of expression, but now have to constantly remind my oldest daughter that it’s really important choose what you post because that F.O.E. may come back to bite you later.

  14. Tim Brownson says:

    I use profanity quite a lot in my writing, but almost always in an amusing way (in my opinion of course). I have several thousand blog subscribers and those that don’t like it I assume move on and read other blogs.

    When I get a new prospective client call me and I think they may not like my approach, I ask them to go and read a handful of my posts and get back to me. Half the time I never hear back from them, and that’s cool, it just wasn’t meant to be and at least I’m not treading on egg shells.

    The alternative is I am inauthentic, I pretend to be somebody I’m not and in my profession that is waaaaay worse.

    Being offended is a choice based upon our belief system, nothing more, nothing less. I chose not be offended by words because they have no power over me, other than the power I give them.

  15. Wayne Botha says:

    Alan,

    Great post. I identify with your experience and those of others who posted comments. Although I have also used bad language in the past, it is not acceptable to continue communicating with such language. I decided to modify my language when a fellow soldier pointed how bad it had become. (I served in the South African Army for eight years. Rumor has it that we trained the sailors that you refer to, in the correct use of profanity.) Filthy language was accepted and admired in Army barracks, but has no place in a business setting.

    Thanks to your teachings and the example you set, I now make the daily effort to continually monitor and improve my English vocabulary and grammar.

    Thank you for stimulating blog postings and the lessons from Buddy and Koufax.

  16. Alan Weiss says:

    I believe that Koufax occasionally curses when he misses a squirrel, but I have no way of being positive.

  17. Alan Weiss says:

    Tim,

    If you believe it’s wise to lose clients or alienate people because you have to use profanity to be “authentic” (whatever on earth that means), then we’re on different planets. If you can’t make your points using the millions of words in acceptable English, then you’re not being very creative. Resorting to profanity is the lazy way out. It has nothing to do with authenticity, since no one is naturally obscene.

    • Tim Brownson says:

      A large part of my job is linguistics and the power of language, it’s what I talk to clients day in day out about, it’s also what I’m trained in and write about.

      I want to talk to clients how I talk to my friends and not be worrying about them potentially getting upset because I use a word they find offensive. I have no wish to alienate people, I’m testing their intention and seeing if we’d be a good fit or not because I’ll be working very closely with them.

      I don’t look down on people that never swear any more than I look down on people that seem incapable of stringing two words together without doing so. It is what it is, and whereas it ‘can’ be a sign of a lack of education and ignorance, it often very well isn’t and it’s dangerous to jump to that conclusion.

      I’m sure their are types of people you wouldn’t work with and this is no different. I want to work with people and concentrate on what I do best and not be second guessing irrelevant matters.

      99% of people use language incorrectly and in ways that restrict their potential and send the wrong messages not just to others , but to themselves. However, dropping the ‘F’ bomb from time to time does not fit into that category.

      I reserve my outrage for world poverty, racism, war, intolerance and hatred, but hey, we’re all different and that’s cool.

      Good debate!

      PS. There aren’t millions of words in the English language Alan, there are between 250,000 and 500,000 (depending on what you term a word), but I feel sure you really know that and were just making a point as we all do from time to time ;-)

  18. Alan Weiss says:

    The number of words was an exaggeration for effect. If you want to get picky, it’s “in the way I talk to” not “how I talk to”!

    I follow your reasoning. I’m just saying that you can test people exactly as you say without resorting to profanity, which cheapens your language. I don’t think you should ever expect to talk to clients the way you talk to your friends, which is not only unreasonable, but bad business.

    • Tim Brownson says:

      I know it was an exaggeration Alan, that’s why I used the ;-)

      I suppose it depends what you mean by bad for business. I have hundreds of satisfied clients that don’t think I’m unreasonable and my practice is full.

      I don’t swear ‘at them’ per se, I simply refer them to some of my blog posts that may contain swearing, often for humorous purposes. And the humor is important because I use that as a break state and also an anchor for learning.

      I’m sure you are aware almost every comic uses bad language when live on stage and they don’t have a TV camera to worry about. Not all by any stretch of the imagination, but a very high percentage. And they do so because it can be funny if used correctly and that is how many people talk.

      I have several thousand blog readers that like and read my blog because as I get told frequently “I keep it real” Now the paradox is although it’s nice to be told that, there is no definitive real. What they mean is my reality is similar to their reality, and that’s why it strikes a chord.

      We all have different maps of the world and look at things through our own filters and that’s why we can see the same situations in different lights. None of us are any more right about ‘reality’, we’re just work within our own.

      As I often say to people “There is no how it is, only how it for you”

  19. Alan Weiss says:

    We’re arguing in circles. You seem to feel that “real” is using profanity. I find it an inanity. Using comics as an example is irrelevant, they’re paid to shock and cause discomfort. Treating clients as “friends” I find ridiculous. That’s me. I’m not arguing with your success, I don’t know you. I’m simply arguing with your reasoning, which says to me you’re successful despite some odd beliefs. Some reality is personal, some is empirical. If too much is personal, you create a mystical existence.

  20. Tim Brownson says:

    I just thought we were having an interesting, open-minded discussion, not arguing. I love it when people question me on my blog and open up the debate because that often throws up some great and interesting conversations

    I never said, nor meant to imply, that using profanity is ‘real’, just that it’s real for me, I apologize if I gave the wrong impression.

    Many of the great philosophers, several hundred million Buddhists, almost a billion Hindus and some of the very latest brain research would tend to disagree with your take on reality, but that’s probably another discussion for another day!

  21. Alan Weiss says:

    Buddhism is a religion, no? Religions—and I am a practicing Catholic—deal with mysteries, blind faith, and the unknown. That doesn’t work so well in a client’s office. I didn’t think we were arguing, but that the discussion became circular. At this point, I don’t even know any more if you’re talking about using profanity in reality or not, and I’d just as soon move on.

  22. Tim Brownson says:

    Not according to the Dalai Lama or the book I’m reading at the moment by Buddhist teacher, Bodhipaksa, it isn’t. It’s more of a philosophy. The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying he thinks there should be 6 billion religions, one for each person on the planet. I kinda like that take personally.

    Move on we shall Alan. I certainly enjoyed chatting with you and getting your take, thanks a lot!

  23. Alan Weiss says:

    Why does everyone need the last friggin word?

    • Bob Poole says:

      “Friggin!” Is this an obscenity? Profanity? The mark of someone who can’t argue intellectually? The mark of someone who is “unnaturally obscene?” ‘Really pathetic’ to use your own words.

  24. Peter McLean says:

    Tim’s comments unfortunately reek of logical fallacy: argumentum ad populum (bandwagon fallacy).

    Phenomonological approaches often hit a brick wall – literally – when they encounter physical and social reality. It doesn’t matter how much you say, “There is no how it is”, or try to be Neo from The Matrix and bend reality around you, if you run towards that brick wall and don’t stop beforehand, you will smack straight into it – you won’t go through “the energy matrix” at a subatomic level. You will simply look stupid and feel hurt trying to do so. Funny how the laws of physics – and of social dynamics – can limit us like that.

    The Dalai Lama, Bodhipaksa and brain research all agree on this point. (Try telling any neurologist or neuroscientist that you can wish away the damage from brain trauma by “seeing” it differently, or that physical reality is merely a mental construct and see how far you get.) That’s why the Dalai Lama wants a free Tibetan state – it’s not just a matter of “how it is for you” as far as he is concerned.

    Thus, arguments (propositions) that how you talk to people does not matter is disingenuous at the least, especially for someone who writes about “the power of language”. Language does matter and how you express yourself does matter.

    Does the Dalai Lama drop “the ‘F’ bomb” every other word in conversation or writing? I think not! He works to better himself, aspire to a nobler aspect of humanity/spirituality and not to descend into a gutter of self-serving “being real” and “letting it all hang out” demeanour. That’s merely laziness and egotism. If one is truly learning from these esteemed Buddhist philosophers, then one would follow their more enlightened path of humility, gentleness and nobility.

    But back to the point of Alan’s entry – there’s too much of it, for no reason and no benefit. Treat others with more respect. (And I do appreciate it that Tim wrote constructively and didn’t resort to the profanity – just goes to show that it’s unnecessary.)

    By the way, I think you’ll find that Alan’s last comment was intended to be more than a little ironic (and contrarian as always).

    • Peter McLean says:

      Sorry – ‘Phenomenological’. typo

    • Tim Brownson says:

      I wrote a lengthy response, and then thought what’s the point?

      Do you think there’s a reason that somebody that has sold so many books generates so little conversation, inbound links and web traffic?

      Do you think maybe, just maybe it’s because other peoples opinions are treated like heresy and open debate frowned upon?

      Nah, of course not, what was I thinking? ;-)

      Have fun guys, I certainly did! :-)

  25. Alan Weiss says:

    Bob, I did that on purpose, representing a profanity, like “darn.” But since you seem to really be almost convulsively upset on social media with anything I say, I’m surprised to find you here. You seem to be borderline hysterical that I conduct interactions with people and that my opinions—and life style—don’t meet with your personal approval. Somehow, I’ll soldier on.

  26. Alan Weiss says:

    Peter, that’s well said and an interesting example about Tibet.

    I find there’s another factor at work here, and I encounter it too frequently. I call it “alternate reality.” Many people establish a reality for themselves which no one else perceives. They tell you that “they transform people’s lives,” or they are “the best strategist in the country,” or “the best minds of my generation visit my blog.” But when you investigate, they have pathetic web sites, no intellectual originality, no business, and few followers. A woman who cursed at me when I politely asked to be removed from her promotion lists told me she transformed lives and was making a fortune. The evidence is sadly to the contrary.

    Perception may be reality in the bromide, but not if your perception doesn’t roughly match that of the world around you. That’s an illness. So when people talk to me about “authentic” and “true to myself” and so on, it’s usually as aspect of their own private universe and their insulated world, protecting them from competing in the real world.

    I am NOT accusing Tim of this. We may or may not agree (I still can’t understand if he uses profanity in actuality or metaphorically, such was the vagueness of that conversation), but I enjoyed hearing him out, and it was nice of him to take the time to post here.

    Bob, above, on the other hand, reacted violently and profanely to something I said in a Twitter/Facebook post with an ad hominem attack on me. I don’t meet the standards of the little world he’s created for himself. You can see that he just wants to attack.

  27. Bob Poole says:

    I asked, “What’s your point?” in regards to a post you made and you reacted by questioning my ability to discern your meaning and that since I couldn’t you were not going to be bothered to explain. That was what I’ve seen you do time and time again when someone questions you. You bully them and try to make yourself seem superior. I chose not to be bullied and told you so by describing what you wrote as bullshit. That was the only “obscene” word that I used. In return you wrote this:

    “Bob, I don’t deal in crudity, I don’t descend to your level of hate and inferiority. Take your obscenity elsewhere—it’s the mark of someone who can’t argue intellectually, so instead you call me names. Really pathetic, but the drawback of Facebook, where anyone can shout and think their opinion is of value. Learn some manners, let me know when you have a global brand. Oops, I guess those are just simple acolytes, because they don’t agree with you. Really, how can you be proud of this kind of public image you create? You don’t agree with someone so you curse at them. Good example for the family….”

    Talk about overreaction!

    You’re a brilliant guy Alan. But you are also totally self-absorbed, arrogant and bombastic. You love to dish it out, but you cannot take it. I’ll chose to continue to ignore you.

  28. Alan Weiss says:

    Tim, why is it that there always has to be a personal attack? Now it’s my web traffic that’s not up to your volume standards, or whatever. Those are your standards, not mine. But you need to find something to “get at” me, right? You’re here, obviously. And you’re right about the 40 books, I guess people are reading them around the world. Unless, of course, they’re not high enough on Amazon’s lists by your standards!

    If I frowned on open debate I’d simply delete all this stuff. I don’t agree with you, that’s my right, you came here, I responded. I’m not on your blog, am I?

    You made, in my opinion, a vague and strange comment about using profanity to be “authentic.” After that, I can’t tell by your later postings what you mean! Others in this thread seem to agree that there’s too much profanity and it’s often used in place of intellect. There you go.

    Maybe you can attack the font I’m using or the design of the blog. Or maybe I should have written 45 books, but got lazy? For goodness sake, lighten up. I live by my standards, not yours.

    • Tim Brownson says:

      I’ll make one final comment and then retreat to lick my wounds :-)

      The point was fairly simple Alan. You have sold a load of books, way, way more than I have. You are well known in your field and obviously very knowledgeable on your subject.

      I have the Alexa toolbar installed for client purposes and noticed the first time I visited your site you had a ridiculously low ranking and only 80 sites linking in. It struck me as weird for somebody in your position. You’d almost have to be driving traffic away to rank as low as you do when you are so well known.

      Then it dawned on me as I got sucked into the comments, it’s because you are doing that, even if (presumably) unintentionally.

      You don’t make anybody feel welcome that doesn’t share your view point. You pluck isolated quotes out of comments and ignore other bits, and generally gave me the feeling that you were shaking your head and looking at me like I was a bit nuts because I have different opinions to you.

      I love people questioning me because it makes me stop and think. Am I wrong, are they wrong, it is just an opinion and neither of us are right or wrong, or did I just explain something poorly?

      I have on several occasions gone back into a blog and edited with a note that the edit was caused by such and such a person leaving a comment that made me realize I was wrong.

      I love learning and that’s why I come to blogs like yours. I frequently leave comments on other blogs thanking the person for teaching me something I didn’t know.

      The sense I get here is this is about you, how much money you are worth and how important you think you are. I could be wrong, I really could, but as somebody that is trained in reading body language and between the lines, that is the sense I get.

      I don’t earn much money Alan, I really don’t. I do what I do including writing books to giveaway and pro bono coaching because I love helping people. I used to earn 4 times what I earn now when I was in sales. Then I realized life is about more than money as as Martin Sheen said in Wall Street “I don’t measure a mans success by the size of his wallet”

      You seem to me to judge your success by the size of your wallet and your car collection. That may well be right for you as I presume you’re happy. It’s just a different reality to mine.

      Oh and btw it’s also a different reality to science as numerous research has shown that when you lift people out of poverty there is almost zero correlation between wealth and happiness.

      As for lightening up, I really have been laughing at a lot of this. My reputation in the coaching community is one for not taking anything too seriously, least of all myself and I regularly rip myself because I know I’m about a galaxy away from being perfect..

      So big hugs to you and your readers mate and I’ll leave you in peace ;-)

      PS I absolutely LOVE your font, it’s one of the best!

  29. Alan Weiss says:

    Bob, you’re choosing a strange way to ignore me.

    I made an obvious point, you smugly said, “What’s your point?” and I responded that if you can’t discern it, then nothing I said would help you. You considered that “bullying,” I guess, which says more about your thin skin and poor self image than anything I do. You seem easily intimidated, frankly. I remember you as a nice enough guy, sitting in one of my workshops, praising it to the sky. I haven’t changed, obviously something with you has, and you now seem sensitive to the point of dysfunction. You even condemned IN ADVANCE anyone who would write to agree with me—”acolytes,” I guess drinking my Kool-Aid.

    Please do ignore me, but that’s not achieved with continuing invective and profanity. Or am I bullying you again?

    And you repeat the profanity here.

  30. Alan Weiss says:

    Tim, go in peace! I believe wealth is discretionary time. You don’t know me at all, and you’ve decided to interpret me by your standards. I could care less about traffic and web site visits and so forth. I have the strongest brand in the world in solo consulting. Do you think I do that in spite of myself, or by blowing people off?

    I’m a natural to take shots at. I speak my mind. But I shoot back. You keep focusing on my money, far more than I ever do! As I said, you consider yourself an intelligent person, and you’re here. Don’t want to return? Fine.

    The people in my varied communities around the world are enjoying highly successful lifestyles. Wealth—discretionary time—is fueled by economic power. That’s different for all of us. I help people succeed through pragmatic techniques with relatively little investment. I’m accessible directly to everyone in my communities. I’m taking this time with you instead of just deleting your posts or calling you names (as Bob is fond of doing).

    This blog is a hobby. My web site is merely a resource center and credibility statement. I recently hosted a thought leadership workshop in Palm Beach where Marshall Goldsmith was my guest; Walt Mossberg, the Wall Street Journal technology expert, was my guest at a program a year or so ago. I attract excellent people in all capacities because they don’t stop to try to judge me first on superficial beliefs and vague observations.

    So go in peace. I’m in a 42-year marriage with great kids and grandkids, have friends all over the world, and donate more to charity than most people make. (Oops, should I have said that??!) I lead a good, ethical, productive, contributing life, and I don’t let people try to pull me down because they resent my life or choose to read their own inadequacies into mine.

    Go in peace, or return in peace. It’s your decision. But let me assure you that you have NO idea who I am and what I do.

  31. Dan Weedin says:

    Interesting post script on the original post about profanity in my local paper. The incumbent commissioner for the county apparently got into a little tiff with a reporter from a radio station at his victory party. He acknowledges “bumping” the reporter and using profanity when reporter didn’t leave as expeditiously as he would have liked.

    Regardless of the issues, for a public official in his position to lose control enough to use profanity at his own victory party is embarrassing. Thought I would add it to the conversation…

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2010/nov/03/commissioner-josh-brown-has-heated-exchange-with/

  32. Alan Weiss says:

    That’s a relevant occurrence for this subject. I wonder the role that liquor or pressure played.

  33. Rob Novak says:

    I’m starting to think this is the longest bleeping thread ever on your blog, Alan! I too don’t swear on my blog, Twitter, Facebook, or in email. I occasionally swear in private at spam, when my back goes out, or a business situation goes south. In public, only amongst friends and usually that’s at a gathering of Irish, Scottish and English colleagues and good friends such as those I’m visiting next week in Belfast. Honestly, I have to brush up on my swearing before I have a pint with them. Oh yes, and when I was working on a project with some retired Navy and Marine officers…

    On the subject of bleep, the TV show, which they announce as “Bleep my Dad Says” is absolutely hilarious – and uses network-clean language. It’s on my DVR list, and I wore a fishing vest as my Halloween costume this year (cop-out, yes, but easy).

    Fascinating thread!

  34. Alan Weiss says:

    You’re right, Rob, waaaaay too long. A couple of these guys have axes to grind and “issues” that they feel are best dealt with by attacking me. That and the fact they’re clearly off their medication.

  35. Bob Poole,

    I have to tell you, I am quite shocked at your behavior. I also remember you as a nice guy who came to Alan’s Strategist workshop and had the nicest things to say about Alan, the experience and the community Alan has attracted. I also recall that for quite some time, you were an active participant on Alan’s Forums (The global community Alan and I created) asking Alan and members of his global community for advice and even help marketing your book. You seemed to be appreciative and I do not recall you ever resorted to profanity or lowering your language standards.

    So what happened? You found a new life coach, Tim Brownson, (I gathered that from reviewing Tim’s testimonial page) who is influencing your new profanity language skills (I also gathered that from your testimonial you gave Tim and your recent posts here on this thread and on Facebook). And you have persuaded this Tim guy to come to your rescue here and become your new acolyte on this thread?

    Let me add these final observations: You started your facebook comment on Alan’s wall in reference to his “A Man of WHICH people?” thread with “What’s your point?” Not only were you not original enough to come up with your own original question, it was obvious that you showed up asking for a fight. If you truly wanted an intellectual debate, you would have raised the point in Alan’s post that did not resonate with you and then start a genuine and intellectual debate. When Alan came back and told you that if you can’t discern it, then it will do no good to try and explain it to you, you came back with a character attack on Alan, profanity and the fact that you can discern it just fine. Well let me ask you this, if you were able to discern it just fine, why then did you ask your obnoxious first question in the first place?

    You finally said on facebook that you’ve had enough and you will give Alan the last word, yet you don’t! You keep coming back (with your little acolyte here) as you both continue your rambling and demonstrating your inabilities to intellectually carry a debate.

    Bob, the bullying behavior you so claim to resent is obvious to have become the signature trademark of your own behavior. You are manifesting a new behavior that needs to be professionally checked. I sure hope to meet the old Bob one day.

    All the best to you,

    Chad

  36. Tim,

    Pretty slick and smooth stuff. You show up, obviously you have an intentional agenda and a buddy to defend here, you pretend to engage in genuine conversation only then to uncover your true skin and intentions and go on the attack.

    You asked Alan: “Do you think there’s a reason that somebody that has sold so many books generates so little conversation, inbound links and web traffic?”

    So I guess that based on your distorted standards, next you may claim that if your books happened to have more pages than Alan’s you must be a superior and more successful thinker.

    In regards to your web comment, since the essence of your distorted measurement is “hits” rather than focusing on valuable content, valuable visitors, qualified customers, overall impact on credibility and revenues while improving people’s lives and businesses let me offer this: Your Alexa toolbar reflects the visits of people on your site, which in your situation incorporates your blog traffic and your silly social media links. In Alan’s situation, his site is separated from his blog, which is separated from his community web site, which is separate from his society of advancement of consultants web sites, which is separated from several other web sites. When you combine the visits on all of Alan’s sites, the statistics happen to blow yours away. However, The key two statistics you are failing to recognize (a common mistake my clients make) are: First, the revenues generated on Alan’s web sites, would have been your dream to reach when you were making 4 times as much, but I know, you don’t care about money since you are giving all of yours way. The second are the hundreds if not thousands of people whose life and business Alan touched and dramatically impacted.

    Let me ask you: Do you think there’s a reason that somebody, such as you, who consistently uses profanity who also claims to have so many (worthless I say) inbound links and web traffic, happens to not earn much money (as you stated) and praises himself as the new Mother Teresa? We all know that the few books you are claiming to be giving away are teasers for the rest of your services. And if you do what you do (as you claim) including giving away your coaching and books, all as pro bono, why then do you promote your coaching packages on your site with prices attached? Give me a break!

    Let me suggest this to you: Ignore your silly measurements and your vicious intent here. Focus on providing genuine valuable quality content rather than a vast amount of silly quantity of posts, tweets and such to impact your “hits.” Stop hiding behind your veil of righteousness and either contribute to stimulate honest and intellectual conversations or bail out.

    Chad

    • Tim Brownson says:

      What are you talking about?

      I actually posted before Bob Poole, how the hell can I be defending him?

      There is no ‘obvious’ about it other than the obvious you want to see. But then again I did say we all have our own reality and that is yours I guess. So fair play.

      I wasn’t aware I was supposed to be declaring if I knew anybody else that read this blog. If I did that every time I commented I’d spend more time announcing about the people I know than I would commenting.

      Do you know anything at all about blogging and more importantly, the blogging community? Seriously, anything?

      Worthless links in? Well yeh I guess I am a genius at SEO and have conned Alexa and Google on that one.

      It’s weird that you talk to me about defending buddies and all you are doing is defending your buddy. I.R.O.N.I.C.

      I’m not going to get into the money b/s. I don’t earn more than I do because I coach (to a large extent) people who have difficulty affording coaches, but really need them. I understand you can’t get your head round that anymore than I can get my head round the desire of some people to flaunt their personal wealth.

    • Tim Brownson says:

      It’s just dawned on me Chad. You rushed to defend Alan because I was in many respects criticizing you with the inbound links and low traffic observations, as it’s you that is running the blog.

      That actually wasn’t my intention, I was merely pointing out that very rarely do I visit a blog and feel less welcomed by the host. That is bound to have an impact on traffic because I doubt I’m in a minority of one.

      Or even two for that matter.

      • I must have hit some nerve with you, I am glad. I wouldn’t be so quick and attempt to refer to yourself as a genius. Although I am sure you would like that coveted word associated with your name, we all can see through you – no such association in our mind.

        Alan does not need defending, he does a great job himself while you continue to ramble on.

        So what’s next, you now are going to tell us of your pathetic standards and arbitrary measurements to effective blogging and who is the blogging community? And oh yes, it will be a new eBook you will offer for free, right? And then you will boast that you are giving your stuff away.

        As far as your cheap shot as to whether I know anything about blogging and communities, please rest assured that I do not need your approval, my clients’ successes speak for that. However, you do realize that you are participating, this exact moment, on just one of the hundreds of successful sites, communities and blogs I have helped create and implement over the years yet we are not participating on yours! I know, that must be a part of your strategy, to be obnoxious and drive more traffic to your site.

        The reason you must be working with people who can not afford coaches is because other successful individuals can see right through you and find no value in your offerings.

        You remind me of the loud mouth who is invited or actually decides to show up to a party, who is clueless about the proper etiquette of how to be courteous and respectful in one’s home and tells everyone why they are wrong. Had it been my house, you would have lasted for 10 seconds before I got rid of you!

        • Tim Brownson says:

          That’s exactly why I coach people worse off because wealthy people can see right through me

          The implicit message there being that people with less money are stupid and gullible, right?

          Classy, I’ll let all the nurses, ex-military, volunteer workers and teachers I have worked with know that.

          Have you even noticed btw, I haven’t sworn at all?

  37. Alan Weiss says:

    Until you posted this, I never realized that old Tim and Bob had a common business connection! You clearly indicate our connection, but they acted as if they were independent entities who happened to be supporting each other! Unbelievable. It just doesn’t get any lower than that, does it?!

    Profane and unethical. The daily double!

    • Tim Brownson says:

      You are absolute right as usual Alan.

      Don’t let the fact that I wasn’t in the least bit profane on your blog or that knowing somebody that commented after me makes me in the least bit unethical. Or that you and I, and you and Bob were having different conversations, and that I didn’t in fact support him, stop you in making ridiculous juvenile statements like that.

  38. Alan Weiss says:

    I’m done, Tim, I just looked at your web site for the first time! My goodness. Take the final word if you like, Rob is correct above, this is ridiculous and I’m not adding more to it. Over and out.

  39. Tim Brownson says:

    Maybe Rob hit the nail on the head as I’m English. Maybe it’s a cultural thing even though, as I said, I’ve never sworn here as it’s not my blog.

    I probably should have said that up front. I don’t go swear on other peoples blogs (unless they do of course), just my own when I see fit.

    Thanks for letting me have the last word that is very magnanimous of you Alan!

  40. Joseph says:

    I waited to comment until the hijacking was over. Also I wanted to observe myself in the past week on using profane words.

    Surprisingly, I realized that I could quickly find a suitable word for the situation instead of falling back into using one of ‘those’ words. Yes, my vocabulary is not as good as a native Englishmen, but I still could find a suitable word. Just that I was mentally lazy and probably felt superior in some weird way in using profanity.

    I got a son recently and so your second point was very important to me. This week, I asked myself, ‘do I want to set this example to my son?’ and I changed my behavior.

    I started in independent consultancy recently and I have bought as many books by you as possible and downloaded the pdfs and podcasts. Importantly I applied the principles that I learnt in these. They work! So Alan, thank you for teaching in many different ways.

  41. Alan Weiss says:

    Good luck, Joseph! I’ve never found that profanity in public impresses anyone. It’s usually “shock value” or a loss of anything intelligent to say as an option. It’s odd how this issue got so heated.

    A lot of television shows today use “suck” and “douche” as pejoratives in the script. I think it’s because the writers are out of gas and just want to raise nervous laughs, not unlike really bad stand-up comics. Wit requires great intelligence. Profanity requires none.

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