Tuesday, May 01, 2012
I'm so proud to be from Massachusetts. The town of Middleborough has proposed a $20 fine for those caught swearing in public.
OK, let's get the obvious out of the way. This would be a blatant violation of The First Amendment to The Constitution. While Middleborough's previous claim to fame has been that it is not Raynham, now it is on the precipice of national notoriety as the town that bankrupted itself because it didn't understand the basic American right known as freedom of speech. If the town actually tries to enforce this, it will lose MILLIONS of dollars. Lawsuits will eat up every last penny in the town's coffers. Go to Middleborough, say "Fuck you!", get fined, and in a year or two, if you play it smart, you might own the police station.
I'm tempted to go there myself and see what they're willing to enforce. What if I stand just over the town line, in Taunton, and tell the Middleborough board of selectmen to kiss my ass? What if I actually have a long-eared relative of a horse standing beside me? Can I "swear" if the words I use are actually descriptive of someone or something in the vicinity? What if I say "son of a bitch" while pointing at a male dog? Can I get away with calling the offspring of an unmarried couple a bastard? What if I describe someone as a "cocksucker" if he or she is actually licking a rooster?
(Yeah, all right, that's a stretch, but I might be willing to do it if we want to make a test case.)
Woe unto anyone who greets their good friend Richard in a familiar manner! Can I legally give someone directions to Athol? What if somebody says she's going to do something, but I disagree vehemently with her intent and I shout, "You can't!" in a particularly strong but clipped Boston accent? What if I want to trade favors with someone? Tit for tat? Not in Middleborough. You probably shouldn't go into a restaurant and ask for a rump steak until we get a ruling.
What if folks march down the street using perfectly acceptable scientific terms for bodily functions? Could women be arrested for chanting, "Two, four, six, eight, what we do is menstruate"? Well, they probably should be arrested just on principle, because that would be really dumb, but would the residents of Middleborough be so overwhelmed with embarrassment that they'd urinate their pants?
Will unspoken obscenities be against the law? For instance, can I flip somebody the bird? Probably not, but what if I'm just trying to flash the peace sign and I'm missing most of my index finger? Will the police force be asked to differentiate between someone obscenely grabbing his crotch and some poor schmuck just rearranging the furniture because his shorts rode up?
This could be potentially fatal for some businesses. I expect Costco wouldn't be affected, but what about BJ's?
Will there be a list of words that are forbidden? Maybe there is one already. If so, how can it be made public without basically trampling on the spirit of the law? You certainly couldn't post it anywhere. If it's not made public, though, how can anyone be expected to know if they're breaking the law or not? "Fart" might be an extremely dangerous word, one that would destroy the town's sensibilities if just allowed to let rip. Unless I clear it with the authorities, I certainly wouldn't want to unnecessarily milk things by tossing out a random "nipple". Imagine the tourism that will be lost when it's illegal to say "Middleborough is the place to come!"
Yes, I'm grasping at straws, but so is Middleborough. Considering the mental capacity of the folks who would like to see this happen, I'll bet we could call them a bunch of thespians who like to practice philately and it would probably make them defenestrate themselves.
Enough beating around the bush (take that whatever way you wish, Middleborough.) You are looking like a bunch of bucolic boobs. Quit jerking off before you send what little self-respect you still have down the shitter.
Soon, with more *%$^#!@! stuff.