A NY Times story by Marc Lacey looks into the prevalence of cursing south of the Rio Grande/Río Bravo:
Mexicans, despite their reputation in Latin America for ultrapoliteness and formality, curse like sailors, a recent survey found. They use profanity when speaking with their friends, with their co-workers, with their spouses and even with their bosses and parents. On Independence Day, the thing to shout above all else is “Viva Mexico, Cabrones!” a patriotic exhortation directed at either bastards or buddies, depending on the tone employed.
Consulta Mitofsky, a Mexican polling firm, asked 1,000 Mexicans 18 and older about their use of “groserías,” as curse words are known in Spanish, and found that respondents estimated they used an average of 20 bad words a day. Those swearing the most, not surprisingly, were young people. “The generation younger than 30 sees the use of bad words as more natural and they use them not only in front of friends but, many of them say, in front of their parents or bosses,” the survey found.
Geographically, the worst offenders were in the north, near the border with the United States, and in the center of the country. Men were generally more foulmouthed than women, though not by much…
There’s an over-the-top quote from Octavio Paz (“The forbidden words boil up in us, just as our emotions boil up… When they finally burst out, they do so harshly, brutally, in the form of a shout, a challenge, an offense. They are projectiles or knives. They cause wounds”) and some boilerplate on the condition the country’s condition is in (“there is plenty to curse about in Mexico these days”); what particularly caught my attention, though, was the fact that the Times, so prudish in English, has no problem printing bad words in Spanish. (Thanks for the link, Eric!)