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ACLU Sues To Protect Your Right To Swear 698

Posted by samzenpus
from the seven-words-you-can-always-say-in-public dept.
The ACLU is suing the police in Pennsylvania for issuing tickets to people who swear. They argue that it is every American's constitutional right to drop an F-bomb. From the article: "'Unfortunately, many police departments in the commonwealth do not seem to be getting the message that swearing is not a crime,' said Marieke Tuthill of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. 'The courts have repeatedly found that profanity, unlike obscenity, is protected speech.'" This is a big f*cking deal.

*

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ACLU Sues To Protect Your Right To Swear

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  • Hmmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by haderytn (1232484) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:35PM (#32239094)
    This should be fun.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Roadfrisbee (879494)
      Take away the right to say fuck and you take away the right to say fuck the government. Lenny Bruce
  • by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:35PM (#32239098) Homepage
    This will, I think, shape up to be a filthy comment section...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pjfontillas (1743424)
      Why the fuck do you think so?
    • You want to suggest, that this thread will have a much higher ratio of posts with the word FUCK in them, the average /. thread?

      How can you?..

    • by conner_bw (120497) * on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:45PM (#32239312) Homepage Journal

      There once was a man from Nantucket
      Who replied so he could type FUCK IT!
      He burned all his karma, and wasted your time,
      and as for the bucket, well there is none.

  • Already settled? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:35PM (#32239102)

    I was under the understanding that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had already shot down the "disorderly conduct" law that was used to disenfranchise people's rights. It would be nice if the ACLU could come to New York and do the same for our law.

    • Re:Already settled? (Score:5, Informative)

      by clone53421 (1310749) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:38PM (#32239174) Journal

      Sounds like the precedent has been set, but the police haven’t quite gotten the message yet...

      “Cops don’t understand that there’s a legal definition of obscenity and therefore issue citations for profanity,” said Sara Mullen, a spokeswoman for the ACLU.

      Tuthill added that the ACLU will continue to bring lawsuits until the practice of issuing citations for swearing is stopped.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by truetorment (919200)
      It's depressing to me that we still need the ACLU to come in and fight unjust laws or their applications like this. I guess we should just be thankful that they exist at all. :(
    • by linzeal (197905) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:56PM (#32239590) Homepage Journal

      I go to NY, every few years for my sister and the last time I was there I distinctly remember a cop giving directions to some Midwesterner tourist swearing every other word while the tourist sat there wide-eyed with kids.

      " Yeah, you take the fucking right and go right past fucking Portland street. "

  • Fuck (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:36PM (#32239118) Homepage Journal

    Do I understand correctly that I'm within my rights to suggest a cop "Fuck off.", but I can't advise him, "Go fuck yourself."?

    -Peter

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by clone53421 (1310749)

      I'm within my rights to suggest a cop "Fuck off.", but I can't advise him, "Go fuck yourself."?

      As long as you include a disclaimer you should be fine in either case...

      These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult with your physician or health practitioner prior to beginning any exercise/diet program.

  • What could possibly go wrong?

  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:37PM (#32239132) Journal

    An American rights group is suing the police in Pennsylvania for issuing tickets, which carry a jail sentence, to people for swearing.

    ...

    One lawsuit involves an unidentified woman in Luzerne County in northeast Pennsylvania who was given a citation which carries a maximum penalty of $300 and 90 days in jail after she yelled an offensive word at a motorcyclist who swerved close to her in October 2008.

    I think I speak for most people when I say: Fuck that.

    • by davidbrit2 (775091) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:41PM (#32239246) Homepage

      I think I speak for most people when I say: Fuck that.

      Right then, you know the rules, into the paddy wagon.

    • by mog007 (677810) <Mog007@@@gmail...com> on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:17PM (#32240016)

      As Lenny Bruce once said:

      "Take away the right to say 'fuck', and you take away the right to say 'fuck the police'."

  • by prichardson (603676) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:37PM (#32239144) Journal

    "This is a big f*cking deal."

    No. It's a big fucking deal. Just print the U please, it won't hurt anyone.

    Replacing the vowel in profanity with some other character doesn't fool anyone. Everyone knows still you're swearing.

  • America.. (Score:2, Funny)

    by conares (1045290)
    FUCK YEAH!!!!!
  • by NonUniqueNickname (1459477) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:38PM (#32239170)
    Is it okay to yell "fuck" in a crowded theater?
  • by Anon-Admin (443764) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:41PM (#32239224) Homepage Journal

    In English, fuck falls into many grammatical categories:

            As a transitive verb for instance.. John fucked Shirley.
            As an intransitive verb... Shirley fucks.

    Its meaning is not always sexual, it can be used as...

            An adjective such as... John's doing all the fucking work.
            As part of an adverb... Shirley talks too fucking much.
            As an adverb enhancing an adjective... Shirley is fucking beautiful.
            As a noun... I don't give a fuck.
            As part of a word... absofuckinglutely -or- infuckingcredible.
            And as almost every word in a sentence... Fuck the fucking fuckers.

    As you must realize, there aren't too many words with the versatility of fuck...such as these examples describing situations such as:

            Fraud: I got fucked at the used car lot.
            Dismay: ahhh fuck it.
            Trouble: I guess I'm really fucked now.
            Aggression: Don't fuck with me buddy.
            Difficulty: I don't understand this fucking question.
            Inquiry: Who the fuck was that?
            Dissatisfaction: I don't like what the fuck is going on here.
            Incompetence: He's a fuck-off.
            Dismissal: Why don't you go outside and play hide and go fuck yourself...

    I'm sure you can think of many more examples.

    With all these multi-purpose applications, how can anyone be offended when you use the word. We say use this unique, flexible word more often in your daily speech.

    It will identify the quality of your character immediately.

    Say it loudly and proudly: FUCK YOU!

  • No surprise (Score:5, Informative)

    by ArchieBunker (132337) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:41PM (#32239232) Homepage

    If you live in PA this won't surprise you. We just started selling alcohol on Sundays and a handful of grocery stores have had the audacity to try selling beer/wine!

  • by areusche (1297613) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:43PM (#32239274)

    I had a friend flip off a cop once for cutting him off on a road in Erie. The cop turned around, put his lights on, and gave him a ticket for obscenity.

    He challenged the ticket mentioning freedom of speech as well as the fact that the officer didn't even show up. In the end he won, but that doesn't excuse the fact that police officers in Pennsylvania can waste people's time like this on power trips.

  • by wiredog (43288) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:46PM (#32239360) Journal

    of the inarticulate motherfucker.

  • OBOnion (Score:5, Funny)

    by PvtVoid (1252388) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:46PM (#32239374)
    From The Onion [theonion.com].

    What part of the fucking First Amendment don't you understand, motherfucker?
  • by Delusion_ (56114) on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:30PM (#32240292) Homepage

    ...their head examined. Traffic court is already filled with bogus cases in defense of laws whose primary purpose is to generate income for the locality.

    Fair taxation, please, not harassment in lieu of it.

  • by Cro Magnon (467622) on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:42PM (#32240582) Homepage Journal

    Fsck censorship!

  • It is really simple: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deletedNO@SPAMslashdot.org> on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:00PM (#32240908)

    Punishing someone who didn’t hurt anyone, is hurting someone, and hence a crime.
    Swearing can not be considered hurting anyone.
    Simple as that.

    Now physically it is completely possible for swearing to cause physical damage to someone. If his brain is set-up is a way that that input pattern triggers neurons that create the damage. (Either in the brain trough severe mis-association [or what the average Joe would call self-damaging irrational behavior], or in the rest of the body trough e.g. epilepsy, paralysis, etc.) But of course that can only happen if something previously set the brain up that way. (Usually a long process over multiple generations with at least one war and one abuse being involved. ;)

    Some people who are unable to live in normal society anymore, or have some weird associations in their brain. But you can’t be expected to be cautious of everything that could damage them. Or you could never go outside anymore, since all people are different.
    Imagine you walk down the street, and someone who got raped by someone in jeans sees you wearing them. This causes him to burst into tears, and he sues you for it. That’s the WTF that is the logical extension of making it illegal to swear.

    I think the root of the problem is that the average Joe still thinks that there is such a thing as “the guilty one”. In science the concept of guilt is already thrown overboard. Because for everything that happened, you can say that it was caused by someone else, and that someone else is therefore the actual guilty one. And so on, until the beginning of the universe.

    Things are just what they are. There is no good and evil. Asian philosophers knew this for a loong time.
    So logically there is only one “punishment” that is morally acceptable: Separation. In case of a community with common rules vs. one person with other rules: banishment. Or in case of two sets of people with vastly different views in one country: Splitting up the country.
    This is a good thing, as it allows everyone to happily live by his own rules. Because nobody should impose his rules on someone else.
    This is even true for murderers & co: Put them on an island, and let them see how they survive with nobody wanting contact with them. If the manage to survive, and manage to do enough good to be accepted peers again, then they are officially forgiven. And after some generations, there will again be a normal society of good people on that island.
    If not, and they die, or fail otherwise, then this is also a good thing.
    I consider such a system 100% fair and the best thing for everyone.

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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