What Good Are Expletives?

They don’t necessarily get the job done

Image for post
Image for post

Last week was a doozy, politically speaking, and I drew the above cartoon (which parenthetically, The New Yorker passed on). The freshly chosen White House Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, out of the blue phoned journalist Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker and talked to him — on the record — about all kinds of stuff. Players in the administration, leaking, the Senate, and of course the press. In the process, he used an alarmingly ugly array of nasty words and phrases.

Over the course of said week, I heard some say — including Lizza himself — that many men talk like this, it’s not that abnormal. Maybe women do as well. It’s hurtful and creates unnecessary drama and bad blood all around. Even if it has been done in the past (Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon come to mind), it is not fitting of the stature of anyone in the White House.

By all accounts, it was a bad week for the president: GOP health care efforts failed, North Korea shot another missile, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus resigned (in actuality he was fired), Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to refuse to resign despite numerous negative tweets from the president aimed his way.

I can image the expletives that are flying inside and outside the White House now, off the record. No matter why or how they are used, I don’t believe they help leadership achieve what is needed. I’m not a prude; in such a setting, expletives don’t inspire nor encourage cooperation, they only serve to intimidate and be hurtful.

Written by

Visual journalist/writer for New Yorker, New York Times, CBS News, CNN. TED, SXSW speaker. Looking to change world w humor. lizadonnelly.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store