Random old picture of a long haired swearing hippie
The town of of Middleborough, MA have voted into law a fine of 20.00 if you are caught swearing in a public place. I fall into the freedom of speech argument with this. I will let the ACLU handle that argument much more eloquently than I could myself. I do wonder how many of my friends would be completely broke by just visiting this town.
While this bill is not aimed at normal conversation, it is at the police officer’s discretion when handing out a ticket. If it is 20.00 per swear word, sometimes I could rack up over a hundred dollars in a sentence. I don’t talk that way around my son or other children as a general rule. It is however part of my natural language. Many of my friends over the years are worse than me.
In theory we can hide it. We can flower it up and use word substitutions. If I yell “Frak you!” in public using the Battlestar Galactica slang, in theory, I’m in the clear. Even though, anyone with half a brain knows what I’m really saying. If I yell gosh darn it – everyone knows that is the cute term for god dammit. So why do we have to use word substitutions? If the intent is the same isn’t it still profane?
If it is still profane and I could get a ticket for it, I admit I may just have a field day with that. I would start yelling stuff like “Eat feces and die!” or “Fornicate you and your mother”. There is also the special “Go masturbate!”. I wold make the officer testify in court the shading of profanity involved in each of those phrases. Hopefully the teenagers there are trying to curb the speech by doing this also.
Until then – fuck that.