The Bomb of Profanity

Oh, what do I get myself into? As you know, I sometimes find the most interesting stories to share with all of you and this one is no exception. I couldn’t make this one up even if I wanted to.
 


 

Middleborough, Massachusetts, a town 38 miles within the metropolis of Boston, is known more for the “Cranberry capital of the World” than a whistle blower of public profanity. Yet, swearing in public now carries a $20 fine after residents voted in favor of discouraging rowdy teenagers from ruining the downtown neighborhood with their potty mouths.
 

It appears that Middleborough and other cities do have laws that essentially make cursing a crime, but it’s rarely enforced. Most officials feel it simply wouldn’t merit the time and expense to pursue a case through the court system.
 

Ah, one might argue, this is not allowed by First Amendment rights. But apparently, state law does allow towns to enforce local laws that give police the power to arrest anyone who “addresses another person with profane or obscene language’’ in a public place.
 

Yet, this has become a perplexing situation. “We’re not talking about just conversation. But screaming it across the street,” Ms. DuPhily, a former administrative board member said. “Dropping F-bombs and so on. It’s the same group of kids. It was very irresponsible behavior, and it was getting out of hand.”
 

DuPhily said her support for the law, which passed by a vote of 183-50 at the meeting, has made her an object of ridicule in the media. “Talk radio is making hysterical fun of me. They’re calling me the granny-nanny,” she said.
 

“People didn’t know what to do. They felt uncomfortable walking down the street with their kids. In fact it got so bad that if you didn’t hear 10 kids drop the F-bomb between my store and a block and half you would be shocked,” one resident said. “They’ll sit on the bench and yell back and forth to each other with the foulest language. It’s just so inappropriate.”
 

“This comes under the context of trying to legislate morality or good parenting,” another resident said to those who gathered at the annual town meeting. But the fine isn’t meant to censor casual or private conversation. Instead, its purpose is to crack down on loud profanity in downtown areas and public parks.
 

The argument was made that perhaps the use of profanity has become so common place today that kids don’t know what it is. You know, words that fall under the category of swearing, cursing, foul speech, strong language, dirty words, cussing, adult language or as mentioned above, potty mouth.
 

Okay…So what then does Wikipedia have to say about the “F” word? It says “it is an English word that is almost universally considered vulgar by its speakers. In its most literal meaning, it refers to the act of sexual intercourse. By extension it may be used to negatively characterize anything that can be intensely dismissed, disdained, defiled, or destroyed and is considered highly offensive to utter the word in the presence of children.”
 

And that’s the point. What about the children?
 

A friend shared an experience not too long ago that involved a family outing. They had taken their children to a public event in which someone seated in the same row used profane language, F-bombs almost every other word. Their daughter was scared to death. There were words uttered their children had never heard before. It got so bad they had to ask the guy two seats over that “unless he wanted to miss the remainder of the game he needed to drop the language.” He looked at them like they were crazy, but he did eventually stop.
 

It seems the “F” word itself wasn’t even allowed into the Oxford English dictionary until the year 1972. Since then, Wikipedia says it has been argued that “the prolific usage of the word has de-vulgarized it.” Could that be possible? If so, has this diluted it’s meaning with its usage intended to offensively shock with vulgar intensity?
 

That would mean there are an awful lot of naughty people out there! But I’m not pointing any fingers!
 

It would appear in this case that no one is trying to infringe upon the personal rights of others. Although one Kansas radio talk show host suggests cleaning this whole mess up the old fashioned way—by using soap.
 

So let this serve as fair warning. If you live in or around the Middleborough, Massachusetts area, please don’t drop the bomb of Profanity. Because if you do, they might just be writing you a ticket for $20 bucks!
 
 

What say you? What are your thoughts about a fine for public profanity? As a parent, have any of you had concerns about this with your own children? And as an individual, do you see this as an infringement upon your rights? Or should a line be drawn between personal and public use of profane language?
 

It’s an interesting topic I hope you’ll weigh in on and I look forward to your many comments! Just remember we try to keep it PG around here if you know what I mean. 🙂
 

Thanks everyone!
Karen

 
 

43 thoughts on “The Bomb of Profanity

  1. Melinda

    My first thought when I heard of this new law was Demolition Man: “You are fined one credit for violation of the verbal morality statute” lol. My next thought was… it’s just a word. Today the f-word seems vulgar, tomorrow it will be a different word. Language is very fluid and changes over time and it just seems silly to get worked up over one word. Not to mention the meaning for one is different for another. Yes, even that word. For instance, the word “gay” used to just mean happy. See how far we’ve come from that?

    My next thought was the real issue here is clearly some teens don’t have enough to occupy them. It happens during summer. In Philly, while we lived there, that’s when the flash mobs happened. Bored kids will do obnoxious things no matter where they are and no matter what laws are in place. So, you know, don’t let them be bored! Give them something to do. Work programs come to mind… scrubbing fences, painting houses, I dunno. Anything to instill a tiny amount of pride and keep the little hands occupied with something other than sex, drugs, and shouting naughty words. I bet anything making them do 40 hours of painting houses would do more for curbing their enthusiasm for cussing on street corners than a $20 fine (paid by their parents).
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    1. Karen Post author

      Oh Melinda, thank you so much for coming by and putting your two, maybe ten (inflation) cents in on this subject. Especially when you are recovering from Thrillerfest. How was it, by the way? Come on Melinda, cough up the goods. We want to know all the cool stuff that happened. Could you give us a little something to tide us over until you post? Please? Anyway, this post has drawn out some fantastic viewpoints on this subject and you brought out something completely different. I love your idea of putting these naughty teens to work. Hello! Great idea! And you know, that would work. They might try it once, but after the first time they have to scrub graffiti off a wall, or paint a house, ect., they are not going to want to do that again. I love it Melinda! 🙂

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      1. Melinda

        the paint idea is something they do in Philly. They’ve taken young people who have been graffiti artists and have them paint giant murals. Funny how after they take part in a program like that, they will make sure that wall never gets any graffiti again. Pride, being a part of something bigger than themselves, makes them want to protect the very thing they used to deface. The murals are all over the city, and I love them. It’s just something I think they should do more of, for other things. It works. Maybe not overnight, but it works. And I like to think that young artist becomes something more than they would have otherwise, because of that intervention. I hope they do, anyway.

        You know the best part of the conference for me was simply getting hugs from all my virtual friends! I met so many people that I’d only known via social media. It was so cool, and it really made the event something to remember. Plus I got to shake hands with Lee Child not once, but three times! 😀
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  2. Julia Indigo

    Government by nanny? I think that’s pitiful. If they shop owners et al had a problem, they could have banded together to find ways to make the area less hospitable for the teens, like broadcasting high frequency sounds that are above the hearing range of adults.

    I simply feel that there are better uses of government time, you know?

    Oh, and I have an awe-inspiring case of potty mouth. I’m not proud of it, but there it is. You don’t want to be around me when I’m pissed off, though the healthier I get, the more tolerant I am, the less likely that I’ll be p-oed very often.

    It’s always interesting, Karen! Thanks for the blog!
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    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Julia! A nanny government? Don’t we already have that to a certain degree? And yes, I have been in shopping malls where they play classical music so that teenagers do not loiter. It must have been a hard call to make in that small town. There was a lot to take into consideration before taking such drastic measures. And you with “an awe-inspiring potty mouth.” I don’t think I can say I’ve heard it put in that context before Julia. But hey, to be forewarned is to be forearmed as they say. I will do my best NOT to piss you off! LOL! Glad to know that it doesn’t happen very often. Here’s to your health Julia! And thank you for sharing our thoughts! 🙂

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  3. Susie Lindau (@Susie

    Anything that infringes on freedom of speech makes me nervous. They now allow the S word and B word on cable. I think it reflects society and they way most people talk. Language has changed a lot over the last 20 years. I use a lot of language I would never have used when I was in college. Would I use it if I had children at home? No way.
    Great topic!

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    1. Karen Post author

      Thank you Susie for weighing in on this subject. Many feel as you do. They do not like anyone or anything to infringe upon their right to freedom of speech. You are right, society has change a lot over the last 20, if not 30 years. Is that a good thing? I think the verdict is still out on that one. The fact remains, that most would curb their speech in the presence of children. But as someone already pointed out, respect is the key ingredient to this particular situation. I’m glad you joined in on the conversation Susie. This was enlightening! 🙂

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  4. Roy Street

    TRUE STORY: The other day I used the F word on the lady who ran the bakery department at Whole Foods. She snapped at Alicia for getting to close to a cupcake. So she had it comin’. Anyway, I’m no gentleman all the time. But when angered and in the presence of children I would resort to the F word’s Saxon origin and express myself when mad by yelling, “FOUND UNDER CARNAL KNOWLEDGE YOU!”
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    1. Karen Post author

      How rude of that lady in the bakery department at Whole Foods of all places to pick on your lovely wife Alicia! She had her nerve! I, of course, can not picture you as anything but a gentleman and so I prefer to think of your actions as one of a knight in shining armor coming to Alicia’s aid and honor! And I am also assuming that there were no children present or I know you would have referred back to the old Saxon original espression I’m quite sure! Thanks Roy for coming by and do say hello to Alicia for me. 🙂

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  5. Debra Eve

    I read this a little differently, Karen. I don’t think it’s a First Amendment violation (as Jennette pointed out, vulgarity isn’t protected) or even a parenting issue. I think it’s a small town trying to deal with a small group of teenagers disturbing the peace. If they’d defined it that way, there’d have probably been less backlash.
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    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Debra! See, this is what I love about you. You don’t foul around. You get right down to the crust of the matter. It doesn’t seem to be a First Amendment violation on many fronts. You are right. It is a small town trying to keep order. It is very disturbing to be assaulted, whether adult or child by flying profane bombs back and forth on a daily basis. Something had to be done about it. But you know the media. They love to pick up on this kind of stuff and blow it out of proportion. Thank you Debra for leaving a comment and weighing in on this issue. This was an interesting day! 🙂

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  6. SheilaSeabrook

    We used to live near an elementary school and at recess and noon, the kicks would come out of class and the profanity would start. So knowing that I couldn’t control my boys when they were out of sight and out of earshot, I told them that when they were in their bedroom with their friends, they could curse and swear all they wanted. But when they were in public and especially around adults and children, it wasn’t allowed. To the best of my knowledge, they stuck fast to this rule. To this day, they still watch their language and are conscious of those around them. Thank goodness, because they’re too big for me to wash their mouths out with soap!
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    1. Karen Post author

      Oh wow Sheila, that was fun. I can just imagine what was heard through the airwaves next to your house. I, like you have two boys. And as parents, we aren’t always in the position to monitor their behavior. We can only hope that they will behave in a gentleman-like manner. And if they don’t, I don’t want to know! LOL! Yes, mine are too old for me to wash their mouths out with soap too. Thanks Sheila for sharing your personal experience and best wishes on the new release of “Wedding Fever!” 🙂

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  7. Pat O'Dea Rosen

    Hi, Karen,
    As I read, I kept thinking there must be more to this story, and you said as much in a comment. I’m guessing the town’s police force is understaffed, and the parents of the potty-mouthed kids are unwilling to step in, so shopowners pushed for a law to discourage these particular kids from hanging out downtown–and driving away business. After all, parents won’t want to parade young children past cursers, girls and young women won’t want to walk that gauntlet, and neither will older people. If the number of shoppers drop, it will be that much harder for Middleborough’s mom & pop stores to compete with the big boxes out on the highway. Don’t you wish the foul-mouthed kids saw the big picture? Maybe they do and don’t care because they don’t see themselves amounting to anything. Thus they get their kicks by making life tougher for everyone around them.
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    1. Karen Post author

      Well said Pat! I don’t think I could’ve said it any better. I think you have your finger on the exact cause of this issue. The matter seems on the outside to be extreme. Yet, there’s a lot of murky water underneath the current. Yet, I love the different comments that have been made today. Some have brought out very good points with strong personal opinions. This is a touchy hot topic for sure Pat, but an important one. I just love the way you put things girl. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

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  8. Shannon Esposito

    I think this falls more under parental duty than law. After all, it’s not adults they are upset about, it’s kids and parents are responsible for their children’s behavior. My hubby has told teens to knock off the language around our kids and they’ve listened or left. I think sometimes they just need to be reminded of their boundaries by adults.

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    1. Karen Post author

      Oh Shannon, that’s a very keen observation. You’re right. Parents ARE responsible for their children. And that’s been the popular opinion for many years. One that is hopefully still around today. Good to know that teens still listen to your husband. But apparently, that wasn’t the case in Massachusettes. Sadly, some kids have not been taught to repect the feelings of others. The town claims they didn’t know what to do? I should mention that they exhausted all avenues before they took this action. Like you and your husband, the parents of Middleburough wanted to remind these kids there are boundaries. Whether they obey, is another matter. They are leaving it up to the police to decide if the language is offensive enough to warrant a ticket. It’s just a crazy situation. Thank you Shannon for expressing your feelings on this matter. This turned out to be a fun topic today! 🙂

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  9. KM Huber

    I do not believe in legislating morality nor have I ever understood freedom of speech within any context other than implied respect, meaning there are limitations. Perhaps another way to say this is an apple will not become an orange because the law says it is so, and making a law will not improve human behavior but may improve a town’s revenues.

    Karen
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    1. Karen Post author

      Hey there Karen! How are you? Ah, now you’ve brought out another great point, and that is, “improve a town’s revenues.” Believe it or not, that thought did occur to me too. How many towns or cities will also be implementing this law in hopes of more revenue? Yep, you have a point. Freedom of speech is a difficult line to walk on. As someone made mention earlier, you have people who feel they have the right to say what they want and then you have people who feel they have the right not to hear it. Yet, I think it’s safe to say that it all boils down to respect. Respect for the other person. If we respect others, that would mean that we want to put the interests of others before our own, really. But that would require an act of unselfishness. And that’s a rampant quaility that we find among us today. Uh, no. And yes, you are right Karen. Just because it is a law doesn’t make an apple into an orange. The apple needs to want to turn into an orange. And that is a personal decision. A decision that hopefully one will make with consideration for others. This has become such an awesome discussion today. Thank you so much for participating! Take care! 🙂

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  10. Coleen Patrick

    I wouldn’t get in trouble in public, but if they were monitoring my house. um, uh oh. I try to change my words to made up ones that still give me the satisfaction of a “good curse”–is there such a thing? Hmm. Anyway, that said, I definitely edit myself depending on who is around and so I can still tell my teenagers–to watch their mouth! 🙂
    Great story Karen.
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    1. Karen Post author

      Um, I’m tellin’! LOL! I’m just kidding! “I try to change my words to made up ones that stil give me the satisfaction of a good curse.” Now I think that’s very inventive of you Coleen. I’ve known others that have tried this and it’s been very useful. It can also keep you out of a lot of trouble too. And what is that about, when you have your own children, it seems to keep us accountable, you know what I mean? Somehow we know in the back of our minds that public cursing, as much as people want to believe it isn’t wrong, something in our minds,(could it be our conscience?), tells us that it doesn’t sound right. And oh, that’s all we need is our kids catching us at something we’ve told them is wrong. Oh boy. That’s a whole other subject altogether. Not going there. I’m glad you enjoyed this story and I appreciate your candor and feelings on this subject. Thanks Coleen. And welcome back! 🙂

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  11. Kristy K. James

    Whew! I thought I was going to be in the minority. All I have to say for this town is…YAY! Good for them. I swear a lot more than I’d like to, but manage to watch my language in public. I don’t like hearing it, and really dislike hearing it around small children.

    Frankly I think more laws like this need to be passed…and enforced. The whole ‘if it feels good, do it’ attitude is producing a generation of people who seem to have little respect for anyone or anything. Yes, I’m sounding like my mom and grandma, but change isn’t always a good thing.
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    1. Karen Post author

      Never fear Kristy! I don’t think that you could ever be in the minority. You are in good company. It seems that a lot of us swear more these days. Could it be because we’re led to believe that it is an acceptable thing? And as much as we don’t like to hear profanity around small children, how much more so when we hear it out of young children’s mouths? Most of us do take note, as in, what did he or she just say? There’s just something about that that doesn’t sound right, you know? Yet it is a little scary when we start sounding like our moms and grandparents. But in this case, change may not be a good thing. Yes you are right Kristy. Respect seems to have gone out the window. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject Kristy! This has led to a very interesting discussion today! 🙂

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      1. Kristy K. James

        Nope, no email notice, Karen. I don’t know why I don’t get all of the notices I should…especially since I check the boxes here, and on other blogs.

        I just hate hearing pre-teens spouting profanity. I just want to shout…it’s a whole lot easier to pick this habit up than it is to break it.

        I’m going to guess that the reason it’s so easy to swear more these days is because it’s everywhere. One of my favorite songs (Boulevard of Broken Dreams) has the ‘F-bomb’ in it. Television shows have moved so far beyond ‘damn’ and ‘hell’ it’s not funny.

        Do you remember the first time that happened? At least as far as I know. When Hawkeye Pierce said SOB on MASH? My stomach actually felt weird when I heard it. LOL..it sure was a different time, wasn’t it?
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        1. Karen Post author

          No email notice? Hmm. Thank you Kristy for letting me know. I will check with my techie person aka Laird Sapir. You should’ve gotten one. Everyone should have. That’s a shame. As you’ve read, there’s been some great discussion on this subject. But yes, it does seem that it is everywhere these days. As someone pointed out, the old days when people watched their language in front of women and children wasn’t a bad thing. Preteens or teenagers period use that word because they want to be cool or accepted, but do they really know how bad it is? You know, I used to watch MASH with my parents and I don’t remember them letting that word rip. It was such a long time ago. But that show was the forerunner for a lot of things at the time. Yes Kristy, it was a different time. Sometimes, I miss it, don’t you? 🙂

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          1. Kristy K. James

            Hmm. I wonder if this response will be two words wide?

            I did get the notice for this one. It’s possible I got the other one and just don’t remember. I went through and deleted about a thousand emails a couple of days ago (still got about two thousand to go, but it’s boring so I stopped).

            I think that stood out (in MASH) because it was SO shocking. I was not really old at the time and you just didn’t hear that on television.

            And no, it wasn’t a bad thing when people were more polite in public. I’d like to see a return to that…at least to a degree. The world wasn’t such a scary place then. I’d like my kids to experience that.
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  12. Natalie Hartford

    Ohhh tough one!! LOL!!
    Personally, I have a terrible potty mouth but I do try to respect my environment and the people around me. I don’t swear at work and it try to be mindful of folks around me – restaurants/family gatherings etc. To me it’s like smoking…no need to inflict my potty mouth on others with tenders ears. That being said, in the privacy of my home or at my dinner table etc…I let er’ fly! LOL!
    Not sure how I’d handle the youth in that town…LOL! That’s a tough one…free speech vs infringement on ears. Eeeekeee!! Glad it ain’t me!
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    1. Karen Post author

      LOL Natalie! I just love your honesty girl! And may I just say that it is an act of kindness and as you said respect when someone takes into consideration the feelings of others. “Free speech and infringement on ears.” Yes, that is a tough one. It’s a fine line that most of us walk. And yet, I think that it wasn’t an easy decision for the town to impose this law. Who really wants to be in that position? But there were businesses that were affected and young children to consider, which gave them more reason to keep the peace. What did the children remember when they left the game? The game or the language? It certainly is something to think about. And I appreciate everyone’s engaging thoughts on this subject. Thank you Natalie for weighing in on this! 🙂

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    2. Kristy K. James

      I’m with you, Natalie. What we say and do at home is our business. But some things are better kept under control in public places.

      LOL…should have said something to the couple in front of me at the theater when I went to the second showing of The Avengers. The husband or boyfriend was all over this woman. Which would have been fine if they were in the back row…without their son, and during a nighttime showing as opposed to the matinee with a theater filled with kids. 🙂
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  13. Samantha Warren

    What I find very interesting about the whole “freedom of speech” issue is that most people solely focus on the speaker’s right to say whatever they want when they want. But what about the people who are around them?

    Sometimes you can’t just walk away from someone who is offending you. Those children who are screaming across the street at each other are forcing others to listen to them, whether those people want to or not. Some people may even be in their homes. What are they supposed to do? Move? That man at the baseball game was blatantly ignoring the rights of all those around him (the right to watch the game in peace, that is).

    It’s a two-way street. Yes, you are entitled to your opinion and to share it, but you must do so in an acceptable manner that respects others. THAT is freedom of speech, not dropping the f-bomb repeatedly on a crowded street.
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    1. Karen Post author

      Well thank you Samantha! Your viewpoint is refreshing! Yes, everyone is concerned about “their” freedom of speech. But how many take the time to consider how is affects others within earshot of their speech? And you bring up another great point. The use of the word “R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Aretha sang about it, but how much respect are we showing to others when we fail to take into consideration the feelings of others. Especially when said “free speech” is offensive to those around you. One would think you would have the right to walk the streets in peace or sit and watch a game without worrying about the safety of your children and their young impressionable minds. One can only imagine what the children remember from the game. Thank you Samatha for weighing in on this! This is an interesting subject! 🙂

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  14. Denise D. Young

    There are, technically, a few types of speech that are not protected under the first amendment. You can’t yell “fire!” in a crowded building, for example, or threaten another person’s life. Commercial speech is also allowed to be regulated (such as false advertising). What constitutes profanity is generally determined by the community (“I know it when I see it.”). From what you’ve said, I don’t think this law oversteps its bounds and suspect it’s more symbolic than anything.

    This post is great because it gets people talking about constitutional law–not to mention general civility. Thanks, Karen!
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    1. Karen Post author

      Why thank you Denise! When I read about this I too thought that the situation was symbolic. I did want to get people to make conversation about this subject. It took me two weeks to write the post in order NOT to interject my own personal feelings. But the story of this town brings up some interesting questions. As I’ve said to others, they must have taken other steps before passing this law. And the law is for extreme loud use and they must be infringing upon the peace of others before they will be ticketed. Yet, where do you draw the line? If indeed these words are considered vulgar, are they appropriate for young ears? Thank you Dnise for sharing your thoughts on this subject. 🙂

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  15. Julia

    Not touching this one with a #*! ten foot pole. Once upon a time my mother threatened to send me to Catholic school if I didn’t stop swearing. She was serious. It’s a pretty good threat, actually. Kind of worked.

    OK, I’ll weigh in after all. You go Middlebury and Mrs. DuPhily. It’s a good thing to have bad words and to fight about their usage. Allowing vulgar words to be de-vulgarized (thank you Wikipedia for that new word) by overuse sounds creepy. Before you know it, OTHER bad words would be invented to take their place and they could be worse. What if, instead of f*!#, hooligans took the names of politicians in vain and meant the same thing? Middlebury would have to impose fines for using politicians’ names.

    Hmmm. …

    fun post Karen.

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    1. Karen Post author

      Ha, ha, ha, Julia! You crack me up girl! You just couldn’t stand it, could ya? I think that most of us grew up in a time when our parents did not feel that swearing was acceptable. And yes, you are so right. There will always be people who will invent new “bad words” in order to shock and defame others. The fact remains, every very word in the dictionary has a meaning.The question is, are these words that have a vulgar meaning appropriate for use around children? Hmmm….Yes, a fun/interesting subject! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Julia! I always enjoy your visits! 🙂

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  16. CC MacKenzie

    This is an interesting one you crazy woman!

    Yes, I loathe hearing the youth of today f***ing and blinding with stroppy mouths in public places. If they did in my small market town they would be told pretty sharpish to desist by the general population. We have community policemen/women who stroll around shooting the breeze with whoever they happen to stumble upon and there are security guys at the entrance to supermarkets (in case people abscond with their groceries without paying – this is happening more often since the ‘do it yourself’ checkouts were introduced. I hate those since I prefer dealing with a human being.) who would alert the policemen to out of control hormonal teenagers.

    However, I used to work in the construction industry and men in tool belts have a habit (when talking among themselves) of using the odd profanity. However, when any clients or sales staff were around they were careful not to do so because it would have brought them a tongue lashing from me. I have been known to have a big, beefy guy weighing well over 240lbs trembling under his hard hat. And I’m about 112lbs and 5’5″, but then I’m from Glasgow and can make a heart stop purely by ‘the beady eye’. All mother’s develop this skill as you surely know, Karen.

    Anyway, I digress, what I meant to say is that any sign of verbal aggression, including continuous use of the F word word after a warning will incur a fine. Not only that, if the perp is under the age of thirteen, the parents can ultimately incur a fine. And I like that, I really do!
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    1. Karen Post author

      Well yes I am a crazy woman as you well know! I, like you spent years around the construction industry and you are right. Men with tool belts do have a habit of using extreme profanity. My husband once said to one of his plumbers when they had sat down at lunch, “Do you eat with that dirty mouth?” I too am a petite woman of 5’4″ and weigh in a few pounds lighter than you and I certainly have no problem holding my own. I raised to boys Christine. I didn’t take any bologne from them. You know the saying, “Give an inch and they’ll take a mile.” Yet, I’m quite sure the town had taken many steps before they felt it necessary to implement such a law. I am in awe that your area will fine the parents who are ultimately responsible for the children’s actions. But the use of extreme public profanity seems to have gotten way out of hand. And for your information, I too hate the self-check at supermarkets. Are they really saving money when they have to hire policemen to for extra security. I want to deal with a real human being thank you! And thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject. This is very interesting topic! 🙂

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  17. Prudence MacLeod

    I find this very interesting, Karen. I was brought up old school, no profanity in the presence of ladies or children. Those days are gone forever. Yes, there are times when I miss them. Far too many teenagers today cannot form a sentence without using f*** several times. Sad really.
    A very wise man once told me, Profanity is the last resort of the ignorant when they have nothing worthwhile to say. That has stuck in my mind and I try to live by it. (all too often failing badly), but there it is.
    Great post, quite thought provoking. Thanks for a great effort.
    Prudence MacLeod recently posted..Perfect DayMy Profile

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    1. Karen Post author

      Ah Prudence, as the years click forward, there are still some things about the days of old that weren’t all that bad. I too was brought up “old school” with no profanity in the presence of ladies or children. With our battle over Women’s rights, I think that curtesy went out the window. But there is something about hearing vulgar words out of a child’s mouth that doesn’t ring true. I think to most people, it still turns heads. The quote from your wise man still makes a lot of sense. Why get stuck with the use of a few crude words when there is are thousands of wonderful words that are available at our disposal. As writers, why not show the person is angry instead of telling by the use of one single word. When used over and over again it does seem to lose it’s punch. Thank you Prudence for weighing in on this subject.

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  18. Amber

    I was raised in a house where no one used “coarse language”. I’ve somehow managed to stay that way. I don’t get easily offended by other people using it, but I can see how having it screamed around you could be upsetting. Having anything negative screamed at you is a kind of verbal assault, so I can imagine where a law could be passed with the intent to discourage use of language in that manner.

    I guess if you are just being fined, not taken to jail, you have to pay for the privilege?
    Amber recently posted..Can You Go Without?My Profile

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    1. Karen Post author

      Well Amber that is an interesting way of looking at it. “Pay for the privilege.” I too was raised in a house where no one used “coarse language.” But yes, to have it screamed at you can be upsetting. And because as you put it “is a kind of verbal assault”, that is why the town wanted to discourage the use of language that apparently is still considered vulgar and unappropriate for children. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this most interesting subject! 🙂

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  19. Jennette Marie Powell

    I read about this in the news last week. At first glance, it does seem rather absurd, until you read the story behind it. And since it’s considered obscene, it does not fall under First Amendment protections (at least, that was the stance the article I read took). As for me personally, I married a mechanic, who later became a bartender. So you can imagine what passes for normal, everyday conversation in my house. 😀 Yes, my daughter says this stuff, but didn’t until she got older and heard it in school all the time. Even her dad knows when to rein it in (grandparents LOL).
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..My Town Monday: Publishing Success Against the OddsMy Profile

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    1. Karen Post author

      Yes, at first glance is does seem to rather over the top until you read the story behind it. And I am very impressed that you know so much about the law Jennette. Hey, my husband was in construction, so I know what you mean. But when it came to our children and women quite frankly, it was considered obscene and thus language was curbed. Then there are the grandparents. LOL indeed! Thanks for weighing in Jennette! 🙂

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