Obscenity: Obscenity is once more under attack. Protectors of "family values" continue their offensive against offensive slang words and actions in TV, films, music, book, and the internet, raising issues of first amendment rights and the responsibility of those engaged in creative work. This author suggests a more enlightened approach to the issue, beginning with a redefinition of what is "obscene." He speaks out both against those who would muffle our use of language and those who would abuse it to death. See his revolutionary call to action on the Website in his Bawdy Manifesto.
Bawdy Language and Political Suppression: The New York Times ( 05/09/03) reports how neo-puritans in the Bush administration are conducting a witch hunt, scouring grant applications and research abstracts, and even emails for "sensitive language," i.e. use of words such as "gays," "homosexuals," "anal sex," and "sex workers." As a result, National Institute of Health personnel have been forced to resort to a secret code when making reference to sex, especially when it occurs between men. This has had a chilling effect on an agency which has a major mandate to address the AIDS plague. Apparently, the administration and the religious right is of the belief that "If you can't say it or write about it, you can't do it," hoping thereby that it and the problem will simply fade away.
Sex talk and other bodily functions: Americans are a talkative people and seem to have a word for everything. Almost everything, that is. Talking about sex, the toilet, and the parts of the body thus engaged, however, often tends to leave them somewhat speechless or relying on somewhat trite expressions. How exactly do Americans express the inexpressible? See the fascinating results of an info-poll on Bawdy awareness conducted by the author on how Americans express themselves on such topics. If you're online, you can see the poll here.
Sexism in the language: How man's control of the language of sex reflects both his inflated sense of self and his treatment of woman as object. How sexism in the language goes far beyond the current chairman: chairperson; actor: actress debate and is, in fact, much more deeply rooted, especially in sexual language describing the Bawdy.
The History of Censorship: How censorship in America has evolved historically. How just a very few years ago, words such as "backside" could not be used in a magazine and how one could not be "pregnant" on the air. What the mindset is today. What the future may hold.
The Telling Nature of Bawdy Language: Why we need to take a fresh look at curse words, slang words, profanity and our use of them. How our discomfort with them and the synonyms we've employed convey interesting and important views of our bodies and ourselves.
How Scholarship need not be stuffy and boring: Profanity is a legitimate area of study, one that reflects seriously upon several key aspects of the human condition. It is an area of legitimate scholarship. The fact that it is also humorous should not be held against it. Good scholarship should be readable and entertaining as well as accurate and comprehensive. It should have the broadest possible appeal to both experts in the field and to lay people. The study of word origins and language especially should be not laborious but fun. After all, what we speak is what we are.