Weapons of crass construction

AMERICA’S Supreme Court allows them to be banned from public spaces, and permits heavy fines for their improper handling, making rare exceptions to the protections of the constitution’s Bill of Rights. Guns? Only in a saner world. The weapons in question are swear-words, and readers who agree that they are objectively dangerous will want to stop reading at this point, as Johnson does not share the court’s view. 

The Federal Communications Commission may warn or even impose six-figure penalties on a broadcaster that allows even a “fleeting” expletive on air, as when Bono, a singer, told an awards-show audience that winning was “fucking brilliant”. A mother in South Carolina was arrested for shouting “Stop squishing the fucking bread!” at her family. (Witnesses said she shouted at her children; she said it was at her husband.) A North Augusta city ordinance includes in its definition of disorderly conduct “any bawdy, lewd or obscene words…while in a state of anger, in the presence of another”.

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