If you think that cursing is the nation's foulest and most undiagnosed bad habit, and that it creates an unfavorable business image and is disparaging to relationships, then Cuss Control
is right up your alley. Author James V. O'Connor, who runs a public relations firm, decided to write Cuss Control
after appearing on Oprah Winfrey's television show. O'Connor was being quoted in various places at the time for proclaiming, as president of the Cuss Control Academy, that certain swear words were about to become commonplace as a result of Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, and Viagra. When Oprah herself said that she wished she could stop swearing, O'Connor decided to turn his anti-cussing crusade into a book. Part of his complaint is about foul language, but O'Connor also makes a case for the role of cursing in the dumbing-down of language. He argues that in using profanity, the speaker is usually just being lazy, avoiding having to choose more descriptive words to express himself. Cursing, O'Connor writes, "does little to convey our real message or the fact that our education continued beyond fifth grade."
So, how do we reach this promised land where everyone sounds educated and no one swears? O'Connor suggests two paths: choose G-rated words, or--and this is his preference--recognize that the real remedy is to change your attitude. If you must subscribe to one or the other approach, it's tempting to recommend an attitude change over a vocabulary transformation, at least based on some of the suggestions here, which include ditching four-letter words in favor of "Dangnabit!" "Criminey!" "Curses!" "Gadzooks!" and "Nerts!" There's also a suggestion to create your own curse words. ("That's a bunch of Bolshevik." "You fudrucker." "I don't give a wick.") Regardless of your path to a cleaner vocabulary, Cuss Control is a decent read that doesn't take itself too seriously. After all, where else can you find chapter titles like "Cut the Shit, Now and Forever" and "The F Word: Stop Me Before I Say It Again." --John Russell
From the Inside Flap
Finally--the cure for the common curse!
Faced with an epidemic of profanity, our country is in need of practical suggestions for breaking a habit that has ordinary citizens contributing to the decline of civility and good manners. It's not always easy to resist the urge to cuss, but foul language creates an unfavorable image, is damaging to relationships, and goes hand-in-hand with a negative attitude.
Now, James V. O'Connor--founder of the Cuss Control Academy--offers the first book to explain why we swear and how we can learn to hold our tongues. Cuss Control
doesn't call for the total elimination of swearing, just for its confinement to situations where extreme emotion (think hammer, think thumb) or poetic license (think Rhett Butler's "Frankly, my dear. . .") demand it. His program for easing us off the gutter-talk highway involves alternative "potent phrases" for classic curses, including the F-word; ways to communicate clearly rather than use lazy language; and tips on adjusting your attitude and abolishing obscenities.
Packed with practical exercises and tips, as well as thoughtful reflection on how we've worked ourselves up into such a state of affairs, Cuss Control is a refreshing celebration of the joys of a civil tongue.