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Goldman's New No Swearing Rule

Goldman Sachs is banning profanity from office emails, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Ballyscanlon | Photodisc | Getty Images

Score one for Lloyd Blankfein.

I'm sick of this, uh, well you know "stuff."

The fact that so many Americans find it normal to put offensive language in workplace communications shows the level to which professional discourse has fallen.

Let me confess my own sins first.

I have been known to toss around the occasional word or phrase at work which I would never utter in front of my children. Or my pastor. Or my mother. The fact that I can self-censor proves I am capable of keeping it clean. One of my New Year's resolutions was to stop cussing. I give myself a B+ for the first half.

Just this month I was on the phone with an extremely successful chief executive who casually dropped an f-bomb into our conversation.

"Americans are increasingly having trouble controlling what goes into their mouths and what comes out." -Funny Business, CNBC, Jane Wells

I burst out laughing.

It was funny.

It was sad.

If you watch "Mad Men",you're reminded that we didn't use to talk this way, especially in a professional setting.

How did our language coarsen?

Should we blame rap music? HBO? "The Sopranos" was the first time I'd ever heard people say the 'f' word as often as they exhaled. Should we blame The Real Housewives of New Jersey?(The Real Housewives of New Yorkdon't seem to cuss). Blame The Jersey Shore?

Geez, maybe we should just blame New Jersey.

Or we could blame Hollywood. If that bleeping noise they use to barely mask expletives was a stock, I'd go long.

Actually, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Americans are increasingly having trouble controlling what goes into their mouths and what comes out. If email filters and lectures from HR can force us to be more cordial and professional, well, for once, I agree with management.

Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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