We Decoded Anthony Scaramucci’s Profane Speaking Style. Here’s What We Learned.
Although it’s unclear what led to his exit, Fortune spoke with several language and communications experts to decode Scaramucci’s speech patterns and body language during his short-lived White House tenure. Here’s what we learned.
Profanity and vulgar language
‘Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’
In a profanity-laced call to a reporter, Scaramucci uses the word “cock” a total of three times and “fuck” six. In another rant on CNN, he made an appeal to viewers, saying, “Let me tell you something about myself. I am a straight shooter.”
Although swearing has been linked to authenticity and straightforwardness, some language experts disagree. Karla Mastracchio, a strategic communications and public affairs consultant, says Scaramucci’s language is gendered, hyper-masculine, and vulgar.
“Something is happening in culture right now where cursing and abrasiveness has becomes synonymous with authenticity—and that’s not necessarily true,” Mastracchio says. “Just because you drop an F-bomb doesn’t mean you’re a straight shooter.”
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“O.K., the Mooch showed up a week ago. This is going to get cleaned up very shortly, O.K.?
Illeism is defined as “the act of referring to oneself in the third person.” It might seem odd to talk about yourself in the third person, but a number of athletes, politicians, and business figures have done it plenty of times over the years. One famous example of illeism in action was when basketball star LeBron James talked about his decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat. He says, “I wanted to do what was best for LeBron James, and what LeBron James was going to do to make him happy.”
This practice is a form of creating distance from the self by creating “a larger-than-life character in his mind,” says Mastracchio.
Mary Civiello, an executive communications coach, says illeism is not generally well received as it makes the subject sound arrogant. “It’s also something that Trump does,” she says.
This brings us to the final—and perhaps most interesting—Scaramucci behavior. A few days ago, The Daily Show created a video montage showing how Scaramucci’s speaking style and hand gestures were almost identical to President Donald Trump’s.
The video was captioned, “The Mooch did his homework.”
In psychology, this is called “mirroring,” or the behavior in which one person (usually subconsciously) imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. In less than a week after starting the job, Scaramucci’s hand gestures were eerily similar to those of his new boss.
In the end, it looks like not even the best student could have passed the test with Chief of Staff John Kelly. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in a statement about Scaramucci’s departure that he felt it was best to give Kelly “a clean slate and the ability to build his own team.”
Scaramucci stepped down from his post just days after his tirade to a New Yorker reporter was made public.
“[Scaramucci]’s language [and] style may have passed in a Wall Street world after hours, but not in the rest of the world,” says Civiello.