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