Readers React: Swearing isn’t a big deal anymore. Sometimes one simply needs to say ‘FUCT’

In this May 23, 2019 photo, the U.S. Supreme Court building at dusk on Capitol Hill in Washington. (
The U.S. Supreme Court.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

To the editor: Professor Benjamin Bergen is right: Censoring foul language has become the ultimate fool’s errand. (“Profanity gets a stamp of approval,” Opinion, June 27)

Just ask anyone who attended UC Berkeley in the mid-1960s, when Clark Kerr was the campus chancellor and UC president. Kerr strove to quell campus unrest back when the university’s prohibition on public profanity authorized the arrest of anyone holding a sign that prominently displayed the infamous F-word.

In an unfortunate linguistic coincidence, Kerr’s initials played into rebellious students’ hands: They devised outsize signage — bed sheets unfurled from lofty dorm windows was a favorite — with four vertically displayed words: “Freedom Under Clark Kerr.”

Each word’s initial letter was highlighted, so that viewers immediately discerned the four-letter word that UC so determinedly strove to suppress. Kerr and his campus rebels could hardly have imagined the U.S. Supreme Court ever approving a trademark like “FUCT.”


Kendra Strozyk, Cameron Park

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