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A Massachusetts Town Moves to Combat Swearing in Public

Town Considers Fine For Cursing

Middleborough profanity ban touches a nerve

Put $20 in Middleborough's Swear Jar

Mass Moments: Christmas Banned

Banned in Boston: Selected Sources

Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home

Over the course of recorded human history, different localities and governments have attempted to ban certain types of activities, entertainments, and so on. Massachusetts is no stranger to such prohibitions, and this week the townspeople of Middleborough in the heart of cranberry country decided to start fining people who use profanity in public. In true New England town hall meeting fashion, the citizens of the town voted as a group on Monday to decriminalize a bylaw against profanity in public. This act effectively revived the law because now police have the power to issue $20 tickets without being concerned that a criminal case will be brought to court. One of the people behind this movement is Mimi Duphily, a local resident and member of the Middleborough Beautification and Activities Group. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal she remarked that "The cursing has gotten very, very bad. I find it appalling and I won't tolerate it." Commenting on the recent decision, David Hudson, a scholar at the First Amendment Center said that "Profanity is protected unless it is fighting words, true threats, or incitement to eminent lawless action. Those are narrow definitions."

The first link will take users to a news article on this recent development in Massachusetts, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal. The second link takes interested parties to a Boston Globe article from this Tuesday with first-hand commentary from local Marlborough residents about this recent decision. The third link will whisk users away to another piece on the subject from WGBH's Cristina Quinn. The fourth link leads to a "MassMoment" that narrates the story behind the banning of Christmas by the Puritans in Massachusetts back in 1659. The fifth link will take visitors to a great site from Boston University that provides copious details on various books, entertainments, and so on that have been "banned in Boston." Speaking of etiquette and related matters, this last link leads to the complete text of Emily Post's 1922 work "Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home".
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