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"Should swearing be against the law?" - November 21st 2011, 11:35 PM

Quote:
A High Court judge has ruled that people should not be punished for hurling obscenities in public because such words are now so common they no longer cause distress. Should the courts punish profanity?

Your mother might demand that you wash your mouth out.

But swearing in public, previously a criminal offence across the UK, appears to no longer offend the legal system as much as it once did.

Or so, at least, it would appear after Mr Justice Bean upheld the appeal of a defendant who was convicted for repeatedly using an expletive while being searched by police. The judge ruled that officers heard the term in question too frequently to be offended by it.

The decision, which has been strongly criticised by the Police Federation, follows a row over guidance issued by the Metropolitan Police, which advised that the courts were unlikely to rule that officers would be caused distress by most swearwords.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has called for the advice to be revoked, and the Home Office is holding a consultation into section five of part I of the Public Order Act 1986, which had previously been used to prosecute those who swore at officers.

At the heart of the issue is the question of whether - for better or worse - terms that would once have been considered taboo are now so commonplace that they have lost their power to shock, giving the courts no business to tackle them.

Continue reading the main story
A new swearword

BBC Radio 4's PM programme is appealing for listeners to send in new swearwords of their own
They must not be compounds of existing swearwords
Suggestions should be sent to pm@bbc.co.uk
It's a proposition that is strongly - but politely - rejected by Peter Foot, chairman of the National Campaign for Courtesy, which lobbies for better manners in British life.

He has no interest in banning swearing in the privacy of one's home or in like-minded company. But he argues that the violence of some phrases and the upset they can cause mean it is right in certain circumstances for the courts to intervene.

"Obviously it can't be a legal thing if you hit your thumb with a hammer instead of the nail," Foot says.

"But the police have to be able to judge whether someone is being particularly abusive. And of course they would complain when it's combined with an aggressive manner towards them.

"If you want to do it in your own room, that's fine. But if you're in a place where you're in earshot of other people it can be very distressing.

Of course swearing's good. Just in terms of cadence, the way the words fall in a sentence, the poetry of language”

Ian Martin
Co-writer of The Thick of It (above)
Defenders of swearing may cite their centuries-old right to free speech. In fact, laws against profanity have a long tradition in the UK.

In 1551 the Scottish Parliament banned "sweiring, execrationnis and blasphematioun of the name of God", punishable by a shilling fine or a spell in either prison or the stocks for those who could not pay.

England was initially more tolerant. In 1601 a bill "against usual and common swering" was introduced to the House of Commons, but failed to attract enough support from MPs. However, in 1623 an act was passed against swearing, which was rigorously enforced by the Puritans.

The abolition of censorship in the 1960s gave free expression to many words and phrases which previously had been deeply taboo. However, in recent years efforts have been made to eradicate profanity from British streets.

In 2008, council chiefs in Preston erected signs bearing that most Lancastrian of instructions: "No Effin' and Jeffin'." Police were empowered to hand out fixed penalty notices of up to £80 for public order offences by way of enforcement.

Nor is this the only UK local authority to have attempted to enforce such a clean-air policy. From 2005, new tenants of Brighton and Hove's Hollingdean estate were obliged to sign contracts agreeing not to swear in public. Those who broke this pledge were warned they could lose their homes.

And yet swearing has its enthusiasts, not least in the field of comedy. Though clearly not to everyone's taste, the likes of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's Derek and Clive sketches and George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words routine have influenced generations of humourists.

One of the most notable examples of this genre is the award-winning BBC political satire The Thick of It. Such was the dextrous use of industrial language by one of the show's writers, Ian Martin, that he was bestowed with the title of "swearing consultant".

Martin would never seek to defend anyone verbally abusing police officers. However, he cautions against blanket attacks on profanity - the lexicon of which, after all, derives power from its own waywardness.

"Of course swearing's good. Just in terms of cadence, the way the words fall in a sentence, the poetry of language," he says.

"Swearing is by definition an aggressive, transgressive act. Its impact depends entirely on context. There's a huge difference between watching someone swear on the telly and watching someone swear outside a primary school.

"In the end the whole 'grown up and clever' argument's a winner, isn't it? If your swearing can make people laugh it's a subversion of the transgression."

If Martin is right and humour undermines the shock value of taboo terms, it might follow that comedy, not the courts, is the best way of tackling verbal abuse.

Of course, others will seek more formal methods of redress. The debate will continue - very courteously, no doubt.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15816761

lolwut? what do you guys think of this?


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 12:03 AM

If they ban swearing, I am fucked.




   
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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 01:06 AM

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If they ban swearing, I am fucked.
same
this is bullshit


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 01:13 AM

I saw this title and immediately thought, "What the fuck?" I wasn't aware that swearing in public was criminal anywhere.


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 02:05 AM

They could never enforce this. Pretty funny stuff.


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 03:20 AM

Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.

What a bunch of dumbass shit heads trying to ban swearing. I will swear if I want goddamn it!

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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 04:25 AM



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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 06:25 AM

I'd expect this crap from a bunch of kindergarten kids who hear a swear word and cry to the teacher or their parents but adult police officers and citizens being offended by swear words to such a point where it's criminal? It would be a lie to call them, "grown up adults".

If they were to enforce it as they mentioned in Preston, people would just make up new words. That way the police could fine someone for saying, "fucking cunt" but not for, "great dandy muffinulings". If the police ask what you said, then it's only fair to define it as, " up-by-mighty sushi spring roles-like kilgroam durpensanchez a la poulet".


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 07:21 AM

Yet anouther retarded story. There seems to be loads of these things on here at the moment .
   
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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 08:58 AM

Fucking cunts. Can't stop me, free fucking speech :P




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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 12:23 PM

In the US, most states considered it diorderly conduct to use profanity or other such words, in public, when 2 or more indivuals are offended or if it causes public distress. SCOTUS has upheld that arresting for such offense is not violate "free speech" when the context of the words is inappropriate. For instance, thats why you cant yell fire in a movie theater when there's no fire, or go outside of a church and yell "Mother Fucker, Mother Fucker, Mother Fucker all you Christians". But you could yell fire when there is a fire, or say "fuck" when you get injured.

With that in mind, is usually isn't enforced unless your acting like a dick.
   
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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 02:59 PM

Surely when it comes down to abusive language, it shouldn't matter if you're swearing or not? If you're being abusive, then that's how it is, it doesn't matter if there are some f-bombs in there as well.

I swear loads, so casually. I do believe that most words have lost their shock value, except perhaps the c word at times. I tend to still not use that one. I'd hate to think I couldn't talk the way I now naturally do because of some law. I'm not being mean when I swear, they're just the words I use...




   
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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 03:12 PM

Exactly. You can abuse someone without swearing. I'd say the "C" word is still the only swear word which shocks people. A lot of people I know hate it. I use it though. I tend to only say it when I'm with my best friend as I know he's not offended at all.


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 03:57 PM

#facepalm.

This is ridiculous. If they enforced this, guess I'm screwed.











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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 04:03 PM

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Originally Posted by Zelophobia View Post
#facepalm.

This is ridiculous. If they enforced this, guess I'm screwed.
Its over here in the uk.
   
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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 05:19 PM

Fucking shit bitches in courts and fucking fuck police fuckedy won't fucking enforce any fucking fuckingest things one many shit go want to fuck me more like...


... I'm lost now, I've ruined the grammar in that sentence.


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 06:36 PM

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Originally Posted by Mudkip View Post
Exactly. You can abuse someone without swearing. I'd say the "C" word is still the only swear word which shocks people. A lot of people I know hate it. I use it though. I tend to only say it when I'm with my best friend as I know he's not offended at all.
I think the 'N' word is still very shocking too, at least where i live


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 06:46 PM

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Originally Posted by BDF View Post
Fucking shit bitches in courts and fucking fuck police fuckedy won't fucking enforce any fucking fuckingest things one many shit go want to fuck me more like...


... I'm lost now, I've ruined the grammar in that sentence.
And it was all going so well...

Anyway, I think the consensus is most of us - hell, probably ALL of us - would be joining the prison population if that became the case. I'd probably be stuck in there for life given what I can be like at work! However, that kind of swearing is not what was the target of previous legislation - it's where it's used in a clearly abusive manner that is. As such, I can see this decision being appealed further as it's effectively an invitation to abuse the police, which doesn't really make sense in light of the current law. As far as casual swearing is concerned, however, the law doesn't really care unless it's racist or otherwise discriminatory (for hopefully obvious reasons).


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 06:53 PM

This thread has turned into a clusterfuck of swearing.

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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 07:39 PM

fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

just doing my bit there
   
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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 07:51 PM

I wouldn't mind, I don't usually go on swearing in public. But I think this law would apply to shouting bad words in public.


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 08:12 PM

I think that arresting/fining someone for swearing is a violation of freedom of speech (in the U.S.). While profanity may be distasteful or offensive, it's still a part of human language, and it's become so ingrained into our minds by now that many of us barely notice when we use it.


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 22nd 2011, 09:45 PM

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This thread has turned into a clusterfuck of swearing.

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Hey! Don't you start fucking swearing in this goddamn thread!


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 23rd 2011, 08:03 AM

This thread reminds me of the Spongebob episode where Mr Krabs bans Patrick and SB for swearing and when they do it gets covered by foghorns, dolphins, anchor sounds etc


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 23rd 2011, 05:32 PM

If you swear one more goddamn time I'm going to flip the fuck out.
   
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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 23rd 2011, 05:41 PM

stupid law the police have other things to enforce than make sure I do not use certain words.




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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 23rd 2011, 06:12 PM

I'm not sure that should be made illegal but I do know that if you swear lots and the police ask you to stop and you don't they can arrest you for breach of public peace so I guess it is sort of illegal in the first place but making it completely illegal just makes no sense. Everyone swears, its not nice to hear but everyone swears if I stub my toe my immediate reaction is 'Oh shit' .



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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 23rd 2011, 06:23 PM

As much as I'm against swearing, I don't think it should be against the law. I mean, I don't swear. At all. Unless I stub my toe or something. But banning WORDS shouldn't be on the top of peoples priorities. As long as you don't say them, then that should be enough. Now, if someone was just walking up and down the streets swearing like a sailor for no good reason, than a police officer already has a reason to arrest them. Being a public menace. But it against the law? I don't think so..


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 24th 2011, 04:09 AM

I think police officers, and the law for that matter, should be focusing their attentions elsewhere than the manner of what words people use. While I think excessive swearing is distasteful and appears to lower your IQ by 20 points or so, there is no reason it should be banned by the law. For one, how are you going to enforce it? Every police officer is gonna have his ears open all the time to listen for someone swearing? Are they going to write tickets for it? Seriously, it's ridiculous; it would be way more time and energy than it is worth in a world where so many more priorities top that, and such words are used with such frequency it has dulled the effect of them.



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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 24th 2011, 09:56 AM

Fucking fuckers trying to fucking ban fucking swearing. Fuck. I''l be fucked if these fuckers fuck up the fucking system of free fucking speech I fucking use every fucking day. Oh fuck.
This is bullshit, just to change the pace of things. :P


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 25th 2011, 02:54 PM

Well no way. Why did they classify those words as 'swear' words in the first place, i wonder? AND if they did make it illegal, the entire police force would be running around trying to get ppl stop swearing and the courts would be fully booked till a decade later!
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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 25th 2011, 03:49 PM

If this was a law, then I'd fucking lose it! If anything cursing has enhanced every fucking aspect of my life! It brings me joy when I'm down, it enables me to center my rage issues, it helps me concentrate and lastly bridges the awkward conversational gap. Without it..........I'd be lost........


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 25th 2011, 04:37 PM

I would REALLY struggle with not swearing >_> I swear far too much haha!
   
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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 25th 2011, 05:51 PM

They're just words. Most swear words don't have terrible meanings (ass, for example) society has just caused them to be seen as a 'bad word'. However some words (such as the C or N word) I think are worse, but if you think about it, not many people would get arrested for swearing because it would be very hard for the police to catch anyone saying profanity.


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 28th 2011, 07:54 PM

Food for thought: if curse words are trually just words, nothing more nothing less, then why do we have trigger tabs for "explicit language"?
   
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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 28th 2011, 08:41 PM

I lived in London for quite some time and I don't remember walking down the street distressed over the cuss words I was hearing. I don't see why it needs to be a law. If the problem is people verbally abusing officers, charge the person with harassment. It is illegal to verbally abuse a child/spouse. Shouldn't the same apply to everyone?


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 29th 2011, 04:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by -A- View Post
Food for thought: if curse words are trually just words, nothing more nothing less, then why do we have trigger tabs for "explicit language"?
Because of the same thin-skinned people we're complaining about.


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 29th 2011, 04:46 PM

I don't think it should be made illegal. I would struggle But I do think people generally should have respect for others too. Where as some people don't mind it, for others its rude and dis-respectful and I think it's common decency to keep it under a certain level when in public.


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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 29th 2011, 05:02 PM

I think it would be hard to enforce this law since everybody has sworn and will swear at some point in their lives. I suppose it also depends on the context the swear words are in. It would be stupid if swear words were made illegal, however in saying that and agreeing with Jess' point, it is respectful keep it on the down-low of rude language in public at the very least.
   
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Re: "Should swearing be against the law?" - November 29th 2011, 05:06 PM

I don't think anyone should swear in public. It's just a matter of friendliness and respect. Be respectful and kind enough to just be polite when out in the street, you don't know who's listening to you, it could be a child; and even if it isn't you should be polite.

However I hate how we, as a society, have bred this idea that if you disagree with something, make it illegal and the problem will go away. No it won't. You have to address the cause of the problem.
   
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