Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting our First Amendment Liberties
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@$#*%! Our most taboo word and how the law keeps it forbidden.
This entertaining read is about the word "fuck", the law, and the taboo. Whether you shout it out in the street or whisper it in the bedroom, deliberately plan a protest, or spontaneously blurt it out, if you say "fuck," someone wants to silence you, either with a dirty look across the room or by making a rule that you cannot say the word. When it's the government trying to cleanse your language, though, you should worry. Words are ideas. If the government controls the words we use, it can control what we think. To protect this liberty, we must first understand why the law's treatment of "fuck" puts that freedom at risk.
This book examines the law surrounding the word and reveals both inconsistencies in its treatment and tension with other identifiable legal rights that the law simply doesn't answer. The power of taboo provides the framework to understand these uncertainties. It also explains why attempts to curtail the use of "fuck" through law are doomed to fail. Fundamentally, it persists because it is taboo; not in spite of it.
those most susceptible to influence, like children, a new standard for obscenity emerged concentrating on a reasonable person and a community standard that views a work as a whole for merit. But what about protecting our children? In 1949 a Pennsylvania county court judge, Curtis Bok, offered useful guidance in Commonwealth v. Gordon: It will be asked whether one would care to have one’s young daughter read these books. I suppose that by the time she is old enough to wish to read them she will
complaint of one parent comes the FCC’s mandate to regulate. As usual, the complaint was forwarded to the radio station for a response. In its response, Pacifica defended the monologue as a program about contemporary society’s attitude toward language. Additionally, the station had advised listeners of the “sensitive language” to be broadcast. The FCC issued an order granting the complaint and holding that the station could have been the subject of administrative sanctions.256 Seizing upon its
reasons that would justify its newly expanded definition of “profane” speech, nor did it attempt any explanation for why this separate ban on profanity was even necessary. This was especially true given that prior to 2004, the Commission took the view that a separate ban on profane speech was unconstitutional. Even greater victory for the networks comes from the court’s dictum on the First Amendment issues raised by the broadcasters. The court of appeals strongly intimated that if the FCC were to
merely offensive speech without having to apply Tinker’s substantial and material interference test.382 What is most troubling is the court’s methodology. This is how Judge Harry Welford began his opinion for the majority: 164 Fuck This dispute arises out of a high school student’s desire to wear “Marilyn Manson” T-shirts to school, and the school’s opposing desire to prohibit those T-shirts. Marilyn Manson is the stage name of “goth” rock performer Brian Warner, and also the name of the band
of inconsistent, if not downright bizarre, application of Fraser illustrated in the next two cases controls. Just as the FCC declares nonsexual uses of fuck as per se sexual, courts often sexualize other nonsexual language to enforce a prohibition against the speech. For example, a federal district court upheld the suspension of a middle school student for wearing a T-shirt that said “Drugs Suck!” because the message was vulgar and offensive.389 The court found suck had sexual connotations. After