Monday, June 25, 2012

Legislating Civility and Freedom of Speech: The Free F***ing Speech Demonstration in Middleborough MA.

I begin this by saying that I strongly believe in the First Amendment and believe you cannot legislate civility. The City Counsel or Board of Selectmen or whatever they have in Middleborough MA. disagrees with me. (No kidding, there is something new. People disagreeing with That Lawyer Dude, unheard of.)They passed a law outlawing certain words (we usually refer to them as "Dirty Words") and if you violate it, they fine you Twenty ($20.00)Dollars. This so obviously violates the Constitution of both Massachusetts and the USA that I cannot wait to see the first challenge to the law.

The Free F***ing Demonstration at the Middleborough Town Hall is supposed to gather tens of people to stand there and well in the words of organizer Adam Koresh:"... a large civil disobedience protest on Monday, June 25th from 12:30-1:00pm. Bring your bullhorn and foulest vocabulary to the Town Hall at 10 Nickerson Avenue, Middleborough MA 02346 and engage in the most profane conversation possible with your fellow liberty lovers. Let's show these uptight a**holes what freedom of f***ing speech is all about! Here is a NSFW Video announcing the action.

Now I am sure that the bullhorn is probably just as bad an idea as the actual legislation is but putting that aside, I think there is more to this.
Middleborough's officials are in the firestorm of what happens when civility clashes with the law. Sure I don't like hearing "F*** You!" screamed at the top of someone's lungs while I am walking outside of church. I don't like to hear it when I go into the visiting area of the jail. Why? Well because even though I don't believe in the concept of dirty words, I was raised to keep a civil tongue and although I can be profane, I still flinch when I hear the words spoken.

The Issue is one of who is going to decide what constitutes "dirty words" and who gets to make the rules. It can't be done. No matter what derogatory words are used, someone is going to be angry about them. Curse words depending on their use can mean a lot of things. They can mean the speaker doesn't like something strongly, they can mean the speaker is trying to show disdain for the concept of Dirty Words, it can mean the speaker doesn't even know the words are "forbidden." I could keep going but I think you all get my point.

On the other hand, I think the better protest would be a silent one. One where hundreds stood in the square with a copy of the State or US Constitution being held in each of their hands and say nothing NOTHING for a half hour, then at 1 PM BURN THOSE CONSTITUTIONS and maybe an American flag too. Now that is a more appropriate demonstration. It is respectful, memorable and should send a much stronger message than a bunch of children acting out against authority.

Either way, this ought to get coverage, but It is far better I think to send a strong reserved message than to shout from the rooftops at people who are not listening.
Post a Comment