City in MA bans profanity

beancounter

The Fire That Burns Within
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
2,673
Location
In the Church of the Poisoned Mind
http://www.npr.org/2012/06/12/154826262/massachusetts-town-oks-fines-for-profanity

Apparently due to people yelling profanity in public areas, this city has outlawed it. Fines have been set at $20.

What do you think. As distasteful as it may be, swearing is not the equivelant of yelling fire in a crowed theater. It's clearly a violation of the first ammendment.

Would you be OK with this ban in your town? What if they banned discussing contraception in public places? How far should they be allowed to go with this?
 

AeryFairy

Anachronism
Joined
Jun 8, 2012
Reaction score
3,607
Location
Manchester, UK
I don't like the sound of this. I wasn't able to listen to the link, but I read a news article on it. It sounds fairly ridiculous. Where do they draw the line? Is it an amount of swearing, or certain words? The article I read quoted a shop owner that said she was glad because foul language from "youths" was driving customers away. In these sort of instances, business owners are surely within their rights to have people removed from the premises. And if it really is the case that people are sitting around and just screaming obscenities, then perhaps it is possible to get them on loitering or disturbing the peace or something else. But a fine on public swearing is, in my opinion, dumb.
 

yakherder

老外
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Reaction score
1,018
Age
43
Location
Ottawa / Vermont
Who decides which words are considered profanity? And if I get a fine, can I contest it and just claim I have an accent and they misunderstood or something? Free speech issues aside, this law basically boils down to don't swear at police or park rangers because unless they've got people undercover to catch people who swear, the law is virtually unenforceable. What a waste of resources even taking the time to vote on it.
 
OP
OP
beancounter

beancounter

The Fire That Burns Within
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
2,673
Location
In the Church of the Poisoned Mind
Who decides which words are considered profanity? And if I get a fine, can I contest it and just claim I have an accent and they misunderstood or something? Free speech issues aside, this law basically boils down to don't swear at police or park rangers because unless they've got people undercover to catch people who swear, the law is virtually unenforceable. What a waste of resources even taking the time to vote on it.

My guess is they'll use the "reasonable person" test to determine what's profane. Gives plently of wiggle room...:eek:<---offended citizen.

This only goes to show that (on the local level), the people who make laws have way too much time on their hands..:rolleyes:
 
M

mlp

Guest
Silliness.

This is part of why I don't understand people who think all government should be at the local level; IME, the highest concentration of officious busybodies is to be found at the local level.
 

Pickle Juice

Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
753
This rarely has anything to do with trying to control behavior and everything to do with swelling the city coffers. Someone of an entrepreneurial bent probably recognized they've got a gold mine of potty-mouths and decided to find a way to cash in. :p
 
  • Like
Reactions: kazyeeqen
OP
OP
beancounter

beancounter

The Fire That Burns Within
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
2,673
Location
In the Church of the Poisoned Mind
This holding hands and singing kum ba ya in unison is getting tiresome.

Isn't anyone goint to be contrary? I feel like I'm in the Borg Collective.

There is no debate if everyone is in agreement.

C'mom, just one person say "what about the children".. :D
 
C

Capstan

Guest
I lived one summer in Middleborough. All that while, I never heard one curse word spoken. Is this law really necessary?
 

Lord Snot

Parsley Provider
Joined
May 7, 2012
Reaction score
1,917
Age
32
Location
South Hertfordshire
I don't really have a problem with this. It makes me uncomfortable when people are happy to use a lot of profanity in public because it indicates, to me, that they don't regulate their behaviour out of consideration for others. I think this is really a non-story and nothing to get worked up about unless they start trying to dictate what people can say in their own homes.
 

yakherder

老外
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Reaction score
1,018
Age
43
Location
Ottawa / Vermont
I don't really have a problem with this. It makes me uncomfortable when people are happy to use a lot of profanity in public because it indicates, to me, that they don't regulate their behaviour out of consideration for others. I think this is really a non-story and nothing to get worked up about unless they start trying to dictate what people can say in their own homes.

I agree that use of profanity, especially in public settings, is something people should avoid out of respect, but it's a problem that needs to be solved at the cultural level. I also agree that it will probably end up being mostly a non issue, but primarily because the law is virtually unenforceable unless you're directly cursing out whoever is writing the ticket.
 

IamJen

Forum Legend
Supporter
Joined
May 5, 2012
Reaction score
152
Location
England
I think some places already have this enshrined in law under "public decency" and the like. I remember a case in MI a few years back for instance, where a man was fined for a full-on f-word extravaganza and someone with a kid nearby complained.

Lol@ the busybodies comment. Too true.