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South Carolina Seeking To Outlaw Profanity 849

MBGMorden writes "It looks like in an act that defies common sense, a bill has been introduced in the South Carolina State Senate that seeks to outlaw the use of profanity. According to the bill it would become a felony (punishable by a fine up to $5000 or up to 5 years in prison) to 'publish orally or in writing, exhibit, or otherwise make available material containing words, language, or actions of a profane, vulgar, lewd, lascivious, or indecent nature.' I'm not sure if 'in writing' could be applied to the internet, but in any event this is scary stuff."


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South Carolina Seeking To Outlaw Profanity

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  • Wha... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slugtastic ( 1437569 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:09PM (#26457465)
    What about Freedom of speech?
  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:17PM (#26457635) Homepage

    I know a lot of these guys are hopelessly stuck in the past, but I think being stuck in 1630s Massachusetts is going a little overboard.

  • Pah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:17PM (#26457639) Journal

    It isn't scary, it's stupid. If it ever passes, it's going to get struck down. Tell me, South Carolina, did you elect a pack of retards, because that's the only rational explanation.

  • Re:Ouch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:17PM (#26457645) Journal

    add to that:
    fucking first amendment baby!

  • Re:Pah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BSAtHome ( 455370 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:22PM (#26457727)

    It is a profoundly obscene waste of taxpayers money. Maybe the legislators can be fined the $5000 each, as mentioned in the proposal, to finance the judicial costs of striking it down.

  • Re:Pah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:25PM (#26457777)

    ...did you elect a pack of retards

    The quality of politicians often mirrors the majority of the voting population.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:26PM (#26457799)

    Because I would break that law in the process.

  • by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:27PM (#26457827)

    Sons of bitches just want to oppress self-expression. What impact will this have on music and literature. Do have any idea how many fucking books have swear words?

  • Unenforceable. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:30PM (#26457867)

    Unless S.C. wants to outlaw all language altogether, they're looking at something that's not even enforceable. So they ban your standard fucks, shits, and cunts. Awesome. Are they thinking new euphemisms and curses aren't going to spring up to fill the void? Failing creation of new words, are they going to prosecute the intent behind words used? If I can't express my displeasure about my boss in South Carolina using traditional profanity, will they go after me if I call him a doody-head?

    Funny thing about language. It's creative and evolves. Even profanity is changing and twisting meaning - in some (usually male) teenagers today, 'fuck' is used like 'like' or 'um' might be used by certain other groups of people. There may not necessarily be any obscene intent behind the word, and may just be used as filler.

  • vulgar (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:32PM (#26457909)

    According to this here [], that would be something that is:

          1. (classical sense) Having to do with ordinary, common people.
          2. Rude, uncouth, distasteful, obscene.

    Looking up obscene [] results in:

          1. Offensive to the current standards of decency or morality
          2. Lewd or lustful
          3. Disgusting or repulsive
          4. Beyond all reason
          5. Liable to deprave or corrupt

    This law qualifies at least for 3 and 4. Depending on your point of view, for all of them.

  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:34PM (#26457959)
    If you guys _still_ want to secede from the US, I think now we'd be willing to reconsider! Keep doing stuff like this, and it will be an easy decision. You're embarrassing all of us! Yours truly, A Yankee
  • Re:Ouch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kymermosst ( 33885 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:39PM (#26458011) Journal

    Separation of church and state, don't forget that "under god" was added to the anthem and constitution in the 1950's unlawfully. This shit is getting out of fucking hand. Those mother fuckers.

    Which amendment to the constitution added "under god"?

  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:39PM (#26458015)
    Now might be a really good time to invest in adult bookstores located right on your southern border! Remember, every mind-bogglingly stupid, unenforceable law is also a business opportunity!
  • Re:Wha... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [thguorw.wodahs]> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:43PM (#26458069) Homepage Journal
    What about Freedom of speech?

    Freedom of speech is alive and well! Freedom after speech now...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:45PM (#26458105)

    I don't think there is something anybody could say or write that is obscene as flying the Confederate battle flag of the army of North Virginia from the state house of state with a large black population.

  • by Duradin ( 1261418 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:48PM (#26458151)
    Only the politicians and the rich have that option. Their favorite though is our rights (which are different from their rights).
  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:55PM (#26458249) Homepage Journal

    anything obscene to any a group or individual

    That's completely insane. EVERYTHING is obscene to at least one individual, somewhere.

    They just outlawed everything to make everyone (in their state) an outlaw.

  • Re:Pah! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Irish_Samurai ( 224931 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @08:26PM (#26458667)

    You only need 1% of the smart side of the bell curve to go along with you to have a majority.

  • Re:Ouch (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @08:31PM (#26458757)
    You know what's scary?

    Maybe the crazies standing by with the ammo boxes are right.
  • Fuck shit cockballs scumrot weaselbag.

    (I was out of seashells.)
  • Re:Ouch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anthony_Cargile ( 1336739 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @08:35PM (#26458801) Homepage
    I live in South Carolina, and honestly this is one of the stupidest things I've seen my state do (did I mention we tried to secede from the union, still have a town named secessionville, AND re-enact a war we lost?)

    Since this will soon be illegal, please allow me to say it: FUCK THIS STATE
  • by Dolohov ( 114209 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @08:36PM (#26458823)

    Purgatory is different than Hell, being a temporary state. "Hell" would stay in the original sentence, regardless of translation, unless you're reading a particularly Bowdlerized edition. (And even then, it would simply be incorrect rather than a difference in translation)

  • Bread and Circuses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MarkvW ( 1037596 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @09:04PM (#26459193)

    This is just another American political distraction. Like religion, abortion, guns, etc. . ., these distractions keep us from uniting on the really important issues like economic power. Move along. There's nothing new to see here.

    (Although such an absurd statute would be really expensive to enforce . . . )

  • Re:Ouch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @09:11PM (#26459275) Homepage

    In 2000, I didn't vote because I thought the republicans would be just as bad as the democrats.

    Boy did they exceed my expectations.

    Let's hope we can return from jaw-droppingly awful to just mildly bought.

  • Re:Ouch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew@gPOL ... om minus painter> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @09:16PM (#26459333) Homepage Journal

    Write a letter to State Senator Ford and tell him to fuck off.

    I'm not remotely kidding.

  • Re:Ouch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:08PM (#26459969) Journal

    censorship is the accepted norm for "solving" disagreements about what we see, say and hear

    Censorship in America is largely self-imposed, by industries, not something handed down from the government.

    why should you expect it to get any better?

    Because this particular attempt is so much of a violation of the first amendment, it's laughable. It would go to the Supreme Court, and that law would be overturned, very likely with plenty of bad press all around.

  • Re:Ouch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew@gPOL ... om minus painter> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:14PM (#26460027) Homepage Journal

    Sorry, I won't tolerate a slightly less inane censorship bill. It is still unenforceable and unconstitutional. Plus, we've been down this road in 1996.

    Even if censorship weren't unconstitutional, the fact that it would be a felony to offend someone is ludicrous. This person should never hold an elected office again.

  • Re:Ouch (Score:4, Insightful)

    by davidphogan74 ( 623610 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:45PM (#26460343) Homepage
    What about people who do tech support? Should we protect them as well?
  • Re:Ouch (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew@gPOL ... om minus painter> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:31PM (#26460739) Homepage Journal

    Actually in a very clear case of your civil rights being violated, you can usually get someone else to foot the legal bill. If not, I get to sue for legal fees.

  • Re:Ouch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by penix1 ( 722987 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:32PM (#26460755) Homepage

    When you are an elected official in this country, perhaps you should be familiar with the Constitution. There is a growing trend of elected officials who apparently have never heard of the thing.

    Scarier is the citizens that don't know what it says. They don't even realize they are losing rights which is the way the elected officials want it.

  • by terjeber ( 856226 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:02AM (#26461045)

    most blacks are very conservative

    Indeed they are. The equally insane Prop 8 in California won (sadly) by a relatively narrow margin. In the black community it had a huge margin. Just goes to show, the ex-smokers are the most fanatic anti-smokers. The ex-oppressed are the most fanatic oppressors.

    Soon we will see an African American leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

  • Re:Pah! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sydneyfong ( 410107 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:17AM (#26461191) Homepage Journal

    Shouldn't the conclusion be, the quality of the voting population sucks pretty much everywhere?

  • Re:Ouch (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:20AM (#26461217) Homepage Journal

    They already tried it

    No kidding, if you pay any attention to history, a story like this pops up AT LEAST every other year. Go back in time a bit and you'll find areas that did successfully pass bans, at least for a while.

    Makes me pissed off that congresscritters are doing it, but I support people going for legislative solutions over terrorist ones.

  • Re:Ouch (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Meski ( 774546 ) <meski.oz@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:29AM (#26461317)
    No, it wont get passed *as such* it will get attached as a rider to some more important bill for this senator's support.

    Whilst you allow this 'stealth passage' to occur, you will get laws you don't want.
  • Re:Ron Paul... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Uberbah ( 647458 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:37AM (#26461401)

    Ron Paul has a record trying to pass anti-liberty legislation.

    Fixed that for you. Ron Paul is one of the Libertarians that believes that the federal government doesn't have the authority to enforce the Bill of Rights on state governments. He introduced the We the People Act [], which would strip federal courts to hear cases over the first amendment, gay rights and abortion rights.

    So in other words, say you live in a third world state like Georgia, and the state government passes a law mandating Southern Baptist led prayer in public schools. If you object, sad day for you.

  • Re:Ouch (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @01:02AM (#26461627) Journal

    You can blame the NEA and US Dept of Ed for that.

    They think Welfare is a right, but guns aren't. Go figure.

  • Re:Pah! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bad D.N.A. ( 753582 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {anddab}> on Thursday January 15, 2009 @01:24AM (#26461831)
    Shouldn't the conclusion be, the quality of the voting population sucks pretty much everywhere?


    I honestly don't know what the conclusion is. It could be that the voting population really doesn't have much to choose from.
  • Re:Ouch (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GospelHead821 ( 466923 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @01:39AM (#26461931)

    Take that crock of shit and shove it back up your ass. This Christian son of a bitch knows when to break out the motherfucking lexical arsenal.

  • by Cassander ( 251642 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @01:52AM (#26462051)


    Ok, I don't normally feed the AC trolls, but...

    Without taxes to support the fire department, I guess we should just let your house burn down when it catches fire unless you've got a private fire squad. Or maybe the fire department should just send you a bill for their time?

    Same goes for driving on public roads (they don't pave and clean themselves, you know), how about we make all roads into toll roads, that ok with you?

    Been the victim of a rape/robbery/etc? Tough luck unless you've got a private security force.

    Do you like using electricity and eating beef? You might not if you actually had to pay the FULL price.

    Want your kids to learn basic literacy, math, science, and history? Better pony up for a tutor, taxes currently pay for that too. Not to mention the whole, "it's in your best interest for that other guy's kids to be educated" argument.

    This one might not apply if you're a total anarchist, but wouldn't it be nice if the people making the laws and carrying out diplomatic relations with other countries had some source of income other than bribery or personal wealth? You think lobbyists and "campaign contributors" run shit now? Just wait until the Senators actually rely on them to pay for their next meal.

    Unless you're living totally off the grid, growing your own food, using tools and equipment that you manufactured yourself from scratch (or acquired from someone else who did the same), never set foot in a public school, never drive on a public road (you would also need a car that you built from scratch and gasoline that you refined yourself), and are willing to defend yourself from robbers/foreign invading armies all by your lonesome, just STFU right now.

    In fact, even if you do somehow miraculously meet the above criteria, just STFU anyway, because the rest of us don't want to live like that.

    Ever hear of something called economy of scale? It's way cheaper for everyone to pool our resources.

    P.S. Taxes paid for (at least part of) the copper that carried your post from your house to the rest of us. You shouldn't even be posting on slashdot if you truly believe tax is theft, or you're a thief and a hypocrite too.

  • by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @01:57AM (#26462091)

    Everybody likes to make fun of the backwards southerners but expressing obscenity is already a violation in New York with wonderfully vague wording for the convenience of the jackboots and brown shirts.

    Section 240.20 Disorderly conduct

      A person is guilty of disorderly conduct when, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof:


      3. In a public place, he uses abusive or obscene language, or makes an obscene gesture; or


      Disorderly conduct is a violation.

  • Re:Ouch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Iamthecheese ( 1264298 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @02:24AM (#26462265)
    I was not worried about being arrested because there were about 30 witnesses.

    And in that statement is evidence just how far we have fallen.
  • Re:Ouch (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 15, 2009 @02:35AM (#26462319)

    Not to mention any group that can outlaw profanity can also outlaw the gospel[of any chosen religion].

    If a Christian is behind this She (for political correctness) is miss-guided at best.

  • by Martian_Kyo ( 1161137 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @04:13AM (#26462851)

    if i wore a shirt with

    written on it?

    These laws are fun.

    or is this just a gimmick to popularize Battlestar galactica and its frak.

  • Re:Ouch (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mathinker ( 909784 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @04:49AM (#26462997) Journal

    >> money time and power

    > you can usually get someone else to foot the legal bill.
    > If not, I get to sue for legal fees.

    Well, I suppose two out of three isn't bad....

  • Re:Ouch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Yanqui ( 1111145 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @08:43AM (#26464235) Homepage

    all you folks need to remeber that profanity is NOT covered in the first amendment, it protects political free speech, not calling each other names or the like.

    It's scary how misguided you are. Here's the First Amendment.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Kindly point out where it states that only political speech is covered. Profanity is most definitely covered by the First Amendment. You are thinking of obscenity which is a different animal and one that has had a shifting definition. Saying you're a fucking nitwit is entirely within my rights.

  • Re:Ouch (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ares ( 5306 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:35PM (#26467357) Homepage

    up here in minnesota (yes, the land of dueling senatorial candidate asshatery, which is mildly better than dueling banjos) its a constitutional requirement that a bill passed by the legislature be about one subject and one subject only. if they attached it as a rider on another bill it would get struck down on a constitutional basis because of that. its how the conceal-carry law was originally struck down by the anti-gun lobby right before the pro-gun lobby got it passed the right way. being totally ignorant of the sc constitution, i can only hope that similar provisions exist in it to prevent that kind of bullshit from being passed. howver, given its vintage, i doubt that's the case. its a shame a similar provision doesn't exist in the federal constitution. washington might actually be more productive if it were.

  • I like to believe that the intent of the 1st Amendment is that free speech is an absolute. The moment you cross that line for any reason, the absolute has no meaning.

    Fahrenheit 451 is a perfect example. The majority wasn't censoring the minority on a large scale like we see in China. It was small groups offended by minute things. They suppressed minor items, a word at a time in the name of decency. Where do you draw the line, and who draws the line?

    I know judges have made rulings that indecent material isn't protected, and that hate speech isn't protected. Frankly, I think those judges are wrong.

    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

  • Re:Ouch (Score:3, Insightful)

    by harl ( 84412 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @01:26PM (#26468629)

    He wasn't abusing the cop. He didn't swear at the cop he swore in the presence of a cop. Two very very different thing.

  • by Perrin-GoldenEyes ( 4296 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @01:59PM (#26469411)

    As much as I'd like to agree with you, the Supreme Court has found that free speech is NOT an absolute. And it's not just "indecent material" and hate speech. You also can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater (to use the typical example). And you can't say untrue bad things about somebody else without being vulnerable to defamation law suits. There are exceptions.

    With that said, this proposal is appalling. Who ever thought Demolition Man would become a reality.

    "You are fined one credit for violation of the verbal morality statute."

  • Re:Ouch (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Perrin-GoldenEyes ( 4296 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @02:07PM (#26469583)

    i work for the welfare office, i put up with more shit than any cop. I should know, there's a cop posted as a security guard and he's a little pussy.

    That's probably why he got posted as a security guard in a welfare office. It's not exactly a gravy posting for a cop.

  • The right to swing your fist extends to the tip of my nose.

    It shouldn't be illegal specifically to say any particular thing. However, if it can be proved that you caused someone harm, then you adjudicate that harm.

    It isn't that difficult of a concept. It isn't illegal to swing a hammer. It isn't illegal to swing a hammer into someone's face.

Too much of everything is just enough. -- Bob Wier