Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting Our First Amendment Liberties
|Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting Our First Amendment Liberties|
Cover of 2009 edition
|Author||Christopher M. Fairman|
|Cover artist||Cyanotype Book Architects|
|Subject||Freedom of speech|
|LC Classification||KF9444 .F35 2009|
|Preceded by||"Fuck", Cardozo Law Review (2007)|
Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting Our First Amendment Liberties is a book written by law professor Christopher M. Fairman about freedom of speech, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, censorship, and use of the word "fuck" in society. Fairman cites studies from academics in the fields of social science, psychoanalysis, and linguistics. He establishes that most current usage of fuck have connotations completely separate from its meaning of sexual intercourse. The author discusses the efforts of conservatives in the United States to censor the word from common parlance in the country.
The book was first published in 2009 by Sphinx Publishing and elaborates on the article "Fuck" written by the author in 2006. After initial difficulty with publication including a rejection by the Kansas Law Review 25 minutes after submission, his article was published in 2007 in the Cardozo Law Review. Fairman's 2006 paper received favorable reception from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Horn Book Magazine. The book was positively reviewed by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, which concluded, "Highly recommended. All readership levels." After the book's release, Fairman was consulted by media sources including CNN and The New York Times, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union, on issues surrounding word taboo in society.
Employed as a professor at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, Christopher M. Fairman specializes in research into freedom of speech and word taboo. He is regarded as an expert on the subject of legal ethics. Fairman delayed writing the article until he received tenure because he was concerned its publication would adversely impact his professional reputation. His supervisors at Ohio State University did not try to convince him to cease research into the topic. Fairman told Scripps Howard News Service that government spending helped finance his scholarship. His research into "fuck" was motivated after learning of a Columbus, Ohio man who utilized the word in an email to a judge in 2004 and was subsequently arrested.
Fairman's original 2006 article "Fuck" is an analysis of forbidden speech from linguistic and legal perspectives. It covers use of the word in case studies related to sexual harassment and education. The article is 74 pages long. The word fuck is used over 560 times in the article. According to author Jesse Sheidlower in his book The F-Word, Fairman's work is the first academic article with the title of simply "Fuck".
Initially the author unsuccessfully tried to have the article published by providing copies to multiple U.S. law reviews. The Kansas Law Review rejected his article 25 minutes after receipt. It was finally published by the Cardozo Law Review in 2007.
Fairman cites studies from academics in the fields of social science, psychoanalysis, lexicography, linguistics, and etymology. Of the sixteen chapters in the book, eight use the word fuck in their titles. He discusses uses of fuck from the 15th century onwards. Fairman establishes that most current usage of fuck have connotations separate from its meaning of sexual intercourse. He writes that rather than having sexual meaning, its use is most commonly associated with power.
He discusses the efforts of conservatives in the United States to censor the word from common parlance in the country, and says these acts are diametrically opposed to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Fairman warns against a tendency towards self-censorship. He explains that those who choose to silence themselves tacitly encourage a process by which speech is forbidden through the legal process. He argues that this passivity has an impact of increasing the taboo nature of the word.
Fairman writes that legal precedent regarding use of the word is unclear because historically, court decisions related to its use have contradicted each other. He presents case studies of these contradictory applications of the law, and uses them to analyze public perceptions surrounding freedom of speech. He provides examples of exceptions to the First Amendment, such as speech intended to cause violent acts, and discusses the manner in which federal and state governments sanction these exceptions. Fairman argues: "At issue isn't just protection for some entertainer's potty mouth. Words are ideas. If the government can control the words we say, it can control what we think. Ultimately, my concern is for the preservation of our most basic liberty — a freedom of mind."
Fairman first published his article "Fuck" on the Social Science Research Network website in March 2006, and in the Cardozo Law Review in 2007. He updated this with a follow-up piece in April 2007 titled "Fuck and Law Faculty Rankings". Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting Our First Amendment Liberties was first published in 2009 in paperback format by Sphinx Publishing. It was published in 2009 in an electronic format for the Amazon Kindle.
Journalist Nick Eaton writing for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer called Fairman's 2006 paper both compelling and amusing. The Horn Book Magazine described the paper as a contemplative scholarly work which was simultaneously an engaging read. Writing in the San Diego Law Review, Orly Lobel called Fairman's article a thought provoking analysis into how the law and the First Amendment address issues of sexual language. In a 2011 article for the Federal Communications Law Journal, W. Wat Hopkins was critical of Fairman's article and subsequent book, writing that both appeared to be simply formats for the author to repeatedly utilize the word in his works, rather than actually analyze the subject from a rigorous perspective.
A review of the book in Publishers Weekly described it as a vibrant extension of his prior article of the same title. The review characterized the book as educational and assertive in its promotion of freedom of speech, particularly in the face of the controversial language discussed. Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries reviewed Fuck and called it a stimulating book. The review concluded, "[h]ighly recommended. All readership levels."
Writing for Library Journal, Marianne Orme described the book as a sincere analysis of "fuck" and attempted censorship of the word. Orme wrote that the book was of a higher quality than The Complete Motherfucker: A History of the Mother of all Dirty Words by Jim Dawson. Ian Crouch of The New Yorker commented on the cover design for the book. "In 'Fuck,' by the law professor Christopher Fairman, the word is in the process of being whited out, but still remains in all its glory, a judicious choice for a book that carries the subtitle, 'Word Taboo and Protecting Our First Amendment Liberties.'"
After the book's publication, Fairman was consulted by media sources including CNN on issues involving word taboo, including stigmatization of use of the word "retard". He told CNN that emphasis should be placed on helping those with mental deficits integrate into society, which would reduce the taboo nature of the word. Fairman was criticized by advocates for disabled people for an article he wrote in The Washington Post, in which he expressed concern about censorship of the word and advocated continued use of the term by medical doctors in a clinical capacity. Fairman said that a backlash against use of the word would lead to undue censorship of speech and cautioned against self-censorship related to the term and warned that curbing free speech in one area may have unintended consequences against freedom of expression. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio invited Fairman to host its forum on "Word Taboos" in 2010; his presentation was titled "Putting the 'F' in Free Speech". In a 2012 article on "fuck", The New York Times characterized Fairman as the foremost legal scholar in the United States on the word.
- Censorship in the United States
- Cohen v. California
- Finger (gesture)
- Freedom of speech in the United States
- Freedom of the press
- Fuck (the film)
- List of films that most frequently use the word "fuck"
- Madonna on Late Show with David Letterman
- Seven dirty words
- Sexual slang
- American Library Association (March 2010). "Book Review – Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting Our First Amendment Liberties, by Christopher M. Fairman". Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries (Chicago, Illinois: Association of College and Research Libraries).
- Fairman, Christopher M. (February 14, 2010). "The case against banning the word 'retard'". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). p. B01. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- Hansen, Ronald J. (November 15, 2005). "Cox hires justices' wives for staff". The Detroit News (Gannett). p. 1B. "Christopher Fairman, an expert on legal ethics at Ohio State University, said Cox's hires probably break no rules but may not sit well with the public."
- Harden, Mike (September 27, 2006). "In scholarly pursuit of the 'Queen Mother of dirty words'". Washington, D.C. Scripps Howard News Service.
- McConnell, Kitty (July 15, 2010). "Professor takes on word taboo". The Other Paper. p. 46.
- "Law Review Digest: Universities and Other Institutions of Higher Learning". Journal of Law & Education (Jefferson Law Book Company) 36: 567. October 2007.
- The Columbus Dispatch staff (September 24, 2006). "Curses: Treatise on taboo word a tough sell". The Columbus Dispatch.
- Hopkins, W. Wat (December 2011). "When Does F*** Not Mean F***?: FCC v. Fox Television Stations and a Call for Protecting Emotive Speech". Federal Communications Law Journal (Federal Communications Bar Association) 64 (1).
- Sheidlower, Jesse (2009). The F-Word. Oxford University Press, USA. p. xxviii. ISBN 0-19-539311-2.
- Campbell, Patty (May 1, 2007). "The Sand in the Oyster: The Pottymouth Paradox". The Horn Book Magazine (Boston, Massachusetts: Horn Book Inc.). pp. 311–315. ISSN 0018-5078.
- Jay, Timothy (2009). "Do offensive words harm people?". Psychology, Public Policy, and Law (American Psychological Association) 15 (2): 91–93. doi:10.1037/a0015646.
- Publishers Weekly staff (August 31, 2009). "Nonfiction Review: Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting Our First Amendment Liberties". Publishers Weekly (PWxyz, LLC, new.publishersweekly.com). Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- Fairman, Christopher M. (March 2006). "Fuck". Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 59; Center for Interdisciplinary Law and Policy Studies Working Paper Series No. 39 (Social Science Research Network). doi:10.2139/ssrn.896790. Retrieved April 2, 2013. alternate link
- Fairman, Christopher M. (2007). "Fuck". Cardozo Law Review (Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law) 28 (4): 1711–1772. OCLC 123736997. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- OCLC (2007). "Fuck". WorldCat (www.worldcat.org). OCLC 123736997. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- Fairman, Christopher M. (April 2007). "Fuck and Law Faculty Rankings". Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 91 (Social Science Research Network). doi:10.2139/ssrn.971103. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- Fairman, Christopher M. (2009). Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting Our First Amendment Liberties. Sphinx Publishing. ISBN 978-1-57248-711-6.
- United States Congress (2009). "Fuck : word taboo and protecting our First Amendment liberties". Library of Congress Catalog Record (Library of Congress). LCCN 2009016762. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- OCLC (2009). "Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting Our First Amendment Liberties". WorldCat (www.worldcat.org). OCLC 262433445. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- Fairman, Christopher M. (2009). Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting Our First Amendment Liberties. Sphinx Publishing. ASIN B00348UN8E. ISBN 1-57248-711-9.
- Eaton, Nick (July 29, 2011). "The F-word: Why can't we just effing say it whenever we effing want?". Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Hearst Seattle Media, LLC). Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- Lobel, Orly (Fall 2006). "Editor's Symposium: Reflections on Equality, Adjudication, and the Regulation of Sexuality at Work: A Response to Kim Yuracko". San Diego Law Review (San Diego Law Review Association) 43: 899.
- Orme, Marianne (August 21, 2009). "Xpress Reviews: First Look at New Books". Library Journal (Media Source). ISSN 0363-0277. OCLC 36096783.
- Crouch, Ian (September 2, 2010). "How Should We Put This?". The New Yorker (Conde Nast). Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- Park, Madison (September 27, 2010). "Congress eliminates the R- word". CNN Wire (CNN). p. Section: Med. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- Grinberg, Emanuella (March 7, 2012). "Ending the R- word : Ban it or understand it?". CNN Wire (CNN). p. Section: Living. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- McDowell, Adam (March 6, 2010). "The r word". National Post (Canada: Postmedia Network Inc.). p. A1. ISSN 1486-8008.
- Price, Rita (March 4, 2010). "The R- word". The Columbus Dispatch (The Dispatch Printing Co.). p. 1B.
- "Rich or poor, women juggle family balance". St. Petersburg Times. February 21, 2010. p. 6P.
- Liptak, Adam (May 1, 2012). "A Word Heard Often, Except at the Supreme Court". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). p. A16. Retrieved November 8, 2013. "Christopher M. Fairman, a law professor at Ohio State University who is the nation’s leading authority on the legal status of the word, wrote about the case in a 2007 article in The Cardozo Law Review bearing a four-letter title."
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- Sheidlower, Jesse (2009). The F-Word. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 0-19-539311-2.
|Wikidata has open data related to: Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting Our First Amendment Liberties|
- LCCN 2009-16762
- Christopher M. Fairman, Alumni Society Designated Professor of Law, profile at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
- Christopher M Fairman, profile at SelectedWorks, The Berkeley Electronic Press