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Melissa Leo’s Oscars F-Bomb Proof Swearing Common In Society

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV
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Michelle Leo swore at the Oscars Sunday night. Is this a big deal?

Michelle Leo swore at the Oscars Sunday night. Is this a big deal?

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BOSTON (CBS) – It was a big night for Lowell at the Academy Awards. “The Fighter” took home some big prizes, but the day after the show much of the buzz surrounding the film’s Best Supporting Actress win was around Melissa Leo’s acceptance speech.

In the midst of her thank yous, Leo said, “When I watched Kate do this three years ago, it looked so f***ing easy.” She immediately caught herself and looked embarrassed. She apologized backstage.

But did she need to say sorry? And what does it say about us that these once forbidden words now seem to be everywhere?

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.

We ran those questions by Jodi Smith, who runs a Marblehead-based company called Mannersmith, specializing in helping people smooth out their rough edges.

“I think people need to understand that there’s language that’s appropriate on the loading dock and language that’s appropriate at an awards ceremony,” Smith said. “And generally they’re not the same.”

But the lines get blurred when celebrities feel more and more comfortable swearing on TV.

Network programming features language that would have been unheard of decades ago. And anyone who can even remotely read lips knows that professional athletes cuss like crazy during their games. No one, it seems, holds back on their potty mouths — not even politicians. Former President George W. Bush was caught swearing on open microphones, as was then-Vice President Dick Cheney.

Vice President Joe Biden uses famously salty language, and President Obama is no better. He called Kanye West a “jackass,” and during the Gulf Oil spill, he said during an interview he wanted to know “whose ass to kick.”

But talking to people on the street, it seems like few people are bothered by the language.

“People like to say, but this is who I am, love me or leave me,” said Smith, who also offered her etiquette advice as a frequent contributor to the CBS Early Show.

“And what I say is that in the world of civility, we want you to be your best self. We really don’t need to see all of you; show me the best side of you.”

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