Camille Paglia, Professor and Cultural Critic

All fear of “offensive” speech is bourgeois and reactionary. Historically, profane or bawdy language was common in both the upper and the lower classes, who lived together in rural areas amid the untidy facts of nature. Notions of propriety and decorum come to the fore in urbanized periods ruled by an expanding middle class, which is obsessed with cleanliness, respectability, and conformism.

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