September 20, 1996 at 04:00 AM EDT

Blue Streak: Swearing, Free Speech, and Sexual Harassment

Current Status
In Season
Richard Dooling
Politics and Current Events, Essays
We gave it a C

Richard Dooling’s thesis on bad language and gender wars starts off with a slew of naughty sexist remarks. In fact, his main point is that racist and sexist statements have replaced regular swearwords as today’s taboo language; and he opposes any regulation against them (as has been enacted in the workplace or on campus). A lawyer specializing in employment-discrimination cases, Dooling eventually makes more nuanced arguments than his huffy first chapter would indicate and charts the ever-evolving histories of favorite four-letter words. But with bouts of Angry White Guy paranoia like ”Swearing is becoming illegal in the workplace precisely because men do it more than women,” Blue Streak: Swearing, Free Speech, and Sexual Harassment seems mostly full of nasty hot air. C

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