My sister and I curse - All. The. Time. - well, at least at home that is. We call each other every name under the sun, but usually it's just teasing (What's up, ho? Nothin' bitch). Of course, to people who only curse when their angry or upset, this may be a little confusing , but this is where intent (as has already been somewhat discussed) comes in. There are a lot of other clues, in speech and body language, that makes it very clear when we cross the line between playing around and anger.
My mother hates it, and has tried repeatedly to ban us from using "that language", but we just kind of laugh, and do it anyway. Her arguments are really weak. The first one is "What are you going to do when you have kids?". Ummm, ok that's not even an issue, and probably won't be for quite some time, but let's explore, shall we? I don't curse when I'm at work except maybe an occasional "hell" or "damn", but that's pretty rare. Does she think that I'm completely unable to control myself? I can tell when and around whom it's acceptable to curse, and behave accordingly. I'm not some 5 yr old who has learned a new word, and just blurts it out whenever I feel like it.
The second is "You must not be as intelligent as you think, if you can't come up with other words to say." I can be quite eloquent when I want to be, but it comes down to one thing - I like to curse. Sure I could come up with other words, but most of the time they don't get the point across like using the word "fuck" can.
Substituting words like freakin'? Please - just say the word because (as Jane said), the intent is there. Why sugar-coat it? When I worked at a camp, one of the leaders of a group had taken to saying "Oh my stars" instead of "Oh my gosh" because she thought it was too close to "Oh my God", and was still offensive. I thought that was pretty good compromise, but if you're still thinking "Oh my God", and you're Christian, well you're damning yourself anyway by thinking it, so why not say it?
As far as Imus, I guess he gets what he deserves, but (to bring back an old topic) what's the difference between what he did and Ann Coulter's remark? She got a slap on the wrist (if that), and he gets fired. Granted his was on air, and hers was at a conference or meeting, but was it also because of the target? Of course maybe it's because hers made no sense (Edwards isn't even gay), that people didn't put up more of a fuss.
Also, everyone is going on about how rap music has the same offensive words, but there is a difference. Their lyrics, though offensive, are probably not aimed at anyone specifically, whereas Imus's were. It's one thing to make a stupid generalization, but it's quite different when you make it personal. As far as the difference between Tennessee (or whatever the other team was) being "cute", and Rutgers, he was talking about how Rutgers had tattoos (I guess that cancels out any cuteness), and was trying to make them out to be tough girls, and said the wrong thing.
Of course there are tons of exceptions to the rap lyrics. Eminem has written songs about killing his wife. I meant that there were no songs that were calling specific women "hoes". (Except Eminem - damn!) Anyways - what's the difference between calling women offensive names and saying you want to kill a cop? My point being you're going to have to censor a lot of things, and where do you stop?