The word "fuck": a legal essay.

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bepress Legal Series
Year  Paper 

Fuck
Christopher M. Fairman
Ohio State Moritz College of Law

This working paper is hosted by The Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress) and may not be commercially reproduced without the permission of the copyright holder. http://law.bepress.com/expresso/eps/1087 Copyright c 2006 by the author.

Fuck
Abstract
This Article is as simple andprovocative as its title suggests: it explores the legal implications of the word fuck. The intersection of the word fuck and the law is examined in four major areas: First Amendment, broadcast regulation, sexual harassment, and education. The legal implications from the use of fuck vary greatly with the context. To fully understand the legal power of fuck, the nonlegal sources of its power are tapped.Drawing upon the research of etymologists, linguists, lexicographers, psychoanalysts, and other social scientists, the visceral reaction to fuck can be explained by cultural taboo. Fuck is a taboo word. The taboo is so strong that it compels many to engage in self-censorship. This process of silence then enables small segments of the population to manipulate our rights under the guise ofreflecting a greater community. Taboo is then institutionalized through law, yet at the same time is in tension with other identifiable legal rights. Understanding this relationship between law and taboo ultimately yields fuck jurisprudence.

FUCK
CHRISTOPHER M. FAIRMAN

Word Count: 26,672 (text and footnotes)

Associate Professor of Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Hosted byThe Berkeley Electronic Press

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract ............................................................................................................................... ii I. II. Introduction..............................................................................................................1 FuckHistory.............................................................................................................6 A. B. III. Etymology....................................................................................................6 Modern Usage............................................................................................10

Fuck as Taboo ........................................................................................................13A. B. C. Understanding Taboo Language ................................................................14 Psycholinguistics and Fuck........................................................................16 Effects of Taboo.........................................................................................20

IV.

Fuck Jurisprudence................................................................................................24 A. B. The First Amendment: From Fighting Words to “Fuck the Draft” ...........24 Fuck and the FCC ......................................................................................33 1. 2. C. D. Pacifica and a pig in the parlor .....................................................33 Powell, profanity, and the new speech vigilantes.........................37

Genderspeak and Fuck in the Workplace .................................................51 Tinker’s Armband but not Cohen’s Coat? .................................................61 1. 2. Fuck in public schools ..................................................................62 Fuck in higher education ...............................................................70

V.

Conclusion.............................................................................................................73

i
http://law.bepress.com/expresso/eps/1087

FUCK ABSTRACT This Article is as simple and provocative as its title suggests: it explores the legal implications of the word fuck. The intersection of the word fuck and the law is examined in four major areas: First Amendment,...
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