Tuesday, May 01, 2012

You've Got To Be Defecating Me



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.



56 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

When will humanity learn that morality cannot be legislated. I could list the cultures that have tried and failed to do so. Fuck 'em!

Elaine Denning said...

If I LOD'd I would LOL right now!

Lowandslow said...

Love it!

Reminds me of the kid who asked the cop after getting a traffic ticket, "Could you arrest me if I called you a son of a bitch?"

The cop said he'd have him locked up in record time.

The kid then asked if he could be arrested if he THOUGHT the cop was a son of a bitch?

The cop said, "Well, no. You can THINK whatever you want."

So the kid said, "OK then, I think you're a son of a bitch." ;)

S

Uncle Skip, said...

I wonder if, under the law, someone could be fined for reading this post out loud in Middleborough. I wonder if they'd be allowed to finish reading the entire post.

Matt Conlon said...

Christ. You let me know when you're making that trip, I'll go with you. I actually live in Taunton...

I'd be super pissed if tax dollars went to police officers who were writing those tickets. Don't bother catching criminals, we've got swears to stop down town!

...fucking morons. Thicken your skin, I say.

Matt Conlon said...

You know, the problem has nothing to do with the use of bad language, it's to do with the fact that the kids are all just assholes.

This must be the generation that wasn't spanked, and now their parents want the police to fix what they F'ed up in the beginning...

Ericka said...

sigh. our legislators are completely out of control, and they don't even seem to care. all of them, completely bonkers.

we should all take a field trip. i'd happily lick a chicken with you. wait... that didn't sound right. do they have a dick's sporting goods there? i say we invade the parking lot and protest.

haphazardlife said...

If there's just that much swearing going on in downtown Middleborough, you'd think there's a reason why they're swearing and address the cause.

Because really, if “It’s intimidating to my customers,” says business owner Paulette Lilla, it's gotta be bad.

So either they're swearing for a reason, or it's some swearing virus infecting downtown, or Middleboroughians don't live in the same century as the rest of us.

Suldog said...

Matt - Nail, head.

IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

I'm all for going to Middleborough really late at night and changing the signs to read Middle Finger.

And another thing... instead of actually swearing, use other words that make sense. For example, say "Mock you!" instead of ____ you.
I can't remember when I've called someone an S.O.B., but on any number of occasions I've been known to say I hope their mother bites them.

Michelle H. said...

There is no better place to hold a convention for everyone named Richard. I would love to see what the cops would do every time someone shouted, "Hi, Dick." Just have them all marching down the street saying it.

Craig said...

Well, you know, if you're gonna prosecute, it has to be pretty codified; so are we talkin' George Carlin's seven words, or something more comprehensive (not to say comprehensible?)

I understand the desire to promote public civility, and a certain 'tone' of life in the town. But, as you say, it's is doubtless chasing the wind to try to codify it in legislation. Tho that hasn't seemed to deter the 'anti-hate-speech' folks. . .

I would comment, tho, on the notion of 'legislating morality', that nobody ever legislates anything else. Any law that has ever been enacted, has been enacted because somebody thought that it was either right or wrong. Hence, laws against murder, theft, etc.

Buck said...

Will there be a list of words that are forbidden? Maybe there is one already.

What Craig said, as in: C'mon... you KNOW there is. NSFW!

mediaseth said...

I don't think I've been to Middleborough. Is it one of those black and white towns, like Pleasantville?

Suldog said...

Craig - In my desire to lampoon these folks, I didn't make clear that I'd find it extremely desirable to have a certain civility be a given in public settings. The way to do that, IMHO, is via upbringing, not legislation. I would hope we haven't passed a point of no return in that regard.

Great point about legislating morality. I have never thought of it in that way.

lime said...

that does it, the next time i a visiting MA we shall go to middleborough and test your theories. i've always wanted my own police station.

my other question is this. what if i stub my toe in my own home and my husband hits his thumb with a hammer in his own workshop? you just know we'd be ejaculating profanity under such circumstances.

Shrinky said...

Oh, I fear you're right, they have bitten off rather more than they can chew, especially if you are a true sample of the residents currently residing in this fair town. I'm suspicious you've bribed some friends in high places to pass this law, simply to squeeze a great blog post out of it!

Seriously, if it's consideration and civility they are trying to enforce, wouldn't they be far better off legislating would-be parents to simply pass a "fit-to-rear" test (sterilizing all who fail more than once)? Now that's far more thorough to guarantee a result, plus I'm willing to bet it might even earn them surprisingly more votes..

Jeni said...

Definitely let 'er rip because this is one big bucket full of fecal matter for sure! But, wanna make it a duet to try to get that lawsuit started cause I really could use winning a million or more -considering how jury awards often run these days!

Michelle H. said...

It just occurred to me that this is the proverbial "swear jar" that parents would place on the counter to curtail swearing. I bet the money isn't going toward ice cream for the kids, though.

Craig said...

And geez, for bastards like meself, how are we supposed to be addressed, anyway?

Hilary said...

LOL.. I suspect the Boston Herald won't agree to post this but I figure you should try anyway.

messymimi said...

The difference between nuts and funny:

They are nuts/crazy/whacko.

"Rearranging the furniture"! You are funny!

Jenny Woolf said...

Oh dear, I'm so naive. I don't understand directions for Athol. But leave me for a few hours and it will dawn on me, I am sure.

Tabor said...

Freedom of speech is a very important freedom and people need to quite being so superficial. That town is in deep doo doo.

Tabor said...

I meant to type quit!

Barbara said...

No one else has the writing skills to pull this off. Great job!! Did the Boston Herald take this one? They should! And the town should listen to you... but I bet neither one do. They deserve whatever happens!

Carolina said...

Well, I think you handled your aversion against their decision very gracefully ;-) I had a broken middle-finger years ago and it was in a metal cast that was lined with foam, to keep it straight for about 4 weeks. Which was fun while driving my car. I had the ultimate excuse for giving everyone the finger. It was HUGE!
In the Netherlands there's a Union Against Swearing. Not that anyone gives a shit.

MaggieGem said...

Great post... I'm speechless

Congrats on POTW!

SueAnn Lommler said...

Loved this post!!!! And congrats on your POTW award. Well deserved!!
Clapping here...oh oh...gotta watch how I say that too!! Ha
Hugs
SUeAnn

Suldog said...

Jenny - It's a local town, with local pronunciation somewhat similar to the colloquial term for anus, if you had a lisp.

Suldog said...

Hilary, Barbara, Anyone else who was wondering -

No, I didn't even try to get The Herald to take this. Not a chance in Heck. Not only the language, but they probably think it's a wonderful law. They're a bit on the stodgy side, with an additional soupcon of The Constitution only matters when it agrees with us.

TexWisGirl said...

too (dang) funny! congrats on your POTW!

Daryl Edelstein said...

you are shittin' me ... wait did they also ban/threaten fines for smoking in public?

congrats on POTW mention ... the mention,should the local constabulary be reading was not a four letter word .. oh wait .. it was .. uh oh

The Broad said...

Do you think it is possibly a ploy to promote tourism? Think of the numbers who will make the town a pilgrimage stop for the privilege of profaning forth. And the shops and cafes that will burgeon as a result of being forbidden! Citations could be creative and in the future appear on the Antiques Roadshow... Sully! You could make money!

Tim King said...

I love this stuff. What idiocy. But note, it's not just the police and politicians of the town, it's the business owners and (presumably) other citizens.

Reminds me of a short-short story I once wrote, set far in the future, when the language has changed, enough such that people use (what we consider) obscene language in polite conversation, and (what we consider) innocuous words as obscenity. Even in my short lifetime, I notice some commonplace language today that would likely have gotten my mouth washed out with soap as a kid. Culture morphs; get over it.

But what really gets me, as you point out, is the mindset. When politeness fails to encourage politeness, maybe bullying will. (Really?) In reality, if this fine passes and is widely enforced, it will encourage free-speech activists to make waves. They want to get rid of incivility; they're asking for it!

Better yet, maybe we need a mobile app with a crowd-sourced database of Middleborough cops, which will warn us when one is nearby so that we can slow down to the speed limit— er, I mean, clean up our language, until we pass by them.

-TimK

notactuallygod said...

That law's a little too bass ackwards to work.

-as opposed to your writing on the subject which worked exceptionally well; good pace and pithy. And I prefer my pithy at a good pace!

joeh said...

Is it ok to visit if you are from Middlesex county NJ?

Obviously an unforcable law, but there are instances where foul threatening language shuld be considered illegal under the "Assult" laws.

Cranky Old Man

Suldog said...

Cranky - Oh, sure, I have no problem with dealing with it via other means - noise ordinances, sounds above certain decibel levels or whatever, could be good. It's just that when someone defines what WORDS someone can say, then I get worried.

Tim - I love the way your mind works. Something to avoid obscenity traps. Genius!

Kathleen said...

I just love you to pieces, Suldog!!! Congrats on well-deserved POTW!

Babs said...

I'd say this was ironically great timing all things considering since our dear one in the big house is slowly eradicating our rights to the above..

Free Speech/Protesting Is Now A Felony Punishable By Jail
www.youtube.com
looks to me like it's beginning to be a very bad habit..all be it the lack of rights instead of the swearing itself.
nice job...Mr. Suldog :)
Who needs whos mouth washed out with soap huh?

Karen said...

This is just brilliant. I'd submit it anyway, just to see. Or post the link to your blog in the comments beneath the news story.

i beati said...

We are playing a baseball quarter final all the way across the state tonight and if they do not win I will invent some words to hurt your ears just sayin!!

Mich said...

That reminds me of this scene from one of my fav TV shows:

http://youtu.be/5ix0yl5lKw0

Maggie May said...

Still chuckling!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Julie said...

Well said .. and I think that piece might set you back about $500 ...

flutterby said...

Funny! :D

Kinda the equivalent a of communal Swear Jar.

Quirkyloon said...

"Woe unto anyone who greets their good friend Richard in a familiar manner!"

Dammit! You made me snort out my diet dr pepper!

heh heh

This is HIGHlarious, and ABSURD (on their part, not yours).

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

I literally have no idea how to respond to this because I'm laughing way too hard right now...damn it, am I allowed to say hard? Oh crap, I can't say damn it...or crap. Oh nevermind...

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

Hey! Joe H.! I happen to BE from Middlesex County, NJ originally (Middlesex Borough, too, for that matter). We've just learned to call it "Middle-intimate-relations County" when we're passing through certain backwards-ass towns in Massachusetts which are, technically speaking, most of them.

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

Oh, and hilarious work here, Sully. This was awesome.

Matt Conlon said...

You got that right Chris... MA has some of the strangest laws I've ever heard, and it seems like each city block has it's own government, more ridiculous than the last.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Really? Really!?! Really!!!!! That's crazy. What are those idiots thinking?
I yiyi.
jj

Clare Dunn said...

Wow.

The Town of Johnston, RI, would be in deep trouble. "Speed bumps" here are marked with the signage
"Speed Hump"

I often wonder whether the signs are warnings or directives...

xoxoxo, cd

Ruby said...

Lol!!!! Loved the post :) A very silly effort to make people polite I suppose. Completely agree with Matt.

Matt Conlon said...

Thought I'd pop back in here, this pissed me off enough that now, after two weeks, I posted about it over at my place...

mattconlon.com if you're interested.

Man, I hate stupidity...

Tim King said...

Ha! Middleborough made Reason.TV's Nanny of the Month! How kewl is that?! -TimK