Why do curse words trouble us so? And should government regulate them?

Why do curse words trouble us so? And should government regulate them?

Today’s brief item is custom-made for Change of Venue Friday. That’s when I locate some lighter piece of legal fare, a tasty morsel that has just a hint of the profession.

I point you to a law review article (No! Keep reading!) worth a few minutes of your time.

Before I tell you the article title, I do have to remind that this tends to be an adult-focused blog. OK? Have precocious youngsters been sent packing?

Here’s the title: “FUCK.”

No, I’m not shouting or being unnecessarily brief. The title is one word, and it is all caps.

It was written by Christopher M. Fairman, a professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. His bio includes some background on this most perfectly named essay:

“The importance of protecting words—even the four-letter ones—is at the heart of Professor Fairman’s most recent scholarly work. Professor Fairman celebrates free speech with the publication of his first book: Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting our First Amendment Liberties (Sourcebooks 2009). The book builds on his scholarship in taboo language found in his highly popular article, ‘Fuck,’ 28 Cardozo Law Review 1171 (2007). Professor Fairman is adamant that our government should keep out of the censorship business: ‘Words are ideas. If the government can control the words we say, it can also control what we think.’”

Christopher M Fairman

Christopher M Fairman

Oh, you’d like to read the article itself? It’s right here.

And yes, before you protest, it did indeed come out of a highly regarded law review, the one at Cardozo Law.

How would I come across such a thing? I swear (get it) that I’ve seen it before, but I was happily reminded of the inflammatory piece by (who else) a law student. Thank you to Tim Bourcet for brightening our day!

A line in a Wikipedia entry about the author tells me you may have already read the article: “Fairman’s article quickly became one of the most downloaded scholarly legal articles on the internet.”

Have a great—and colorful—weekend.

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