Fuck _____?

Two of the most interesting articles I have read in the past decade share a striking turn of phrase in their titles.

  1. Fuck Chineseness, by Allen Chun
  2. Fuck Nuance, by Kieran Healy

The titles were obviously chosen because they grab your attention. But they also introduce a stark critical argument about a concept (“Chineseness”, “nuance”) that is often taken to be beyond criticism. Each piece is worth a serious ponder.

What I want to know, however, is whether these two titles share a deeper connection. Is the title construction “Fuck ____” a reference to some other author or piece, from an earlier classic of social theory or something like it? Does a reader who is “in the know” catch this reference, and know to interpret the piece that follows with a particular understanding of what it’s meant to connote? I simply don’t know.

In digging around a little bit to figure out where these titles came from, I happened across a syllabus explorer that allows you to search for articles with “fuck” in their title. Click here to see all the results, in all their glory. Those pieces seem interesting all around, but none of them share this particular turn of phrase. I also searched JSTOR for articles with “fuck” in their title, and nothing predates Chun’s 1996 piece.

So the question remains: is this an interesting parallel, or a reference to something else?

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