Curses! Do You Have to Endure Profanity Out in Public in Massachusetts?
Does it bother you when you hear lots of profanity in public?
I ask because I was walking in a parking lot over the weekend, and the weather was really nice. People were driving with their windows down, and this one car comes through the parking lot absolutely cranking some music. And the lyrics to this music had the F-bomb dropping every other word.
As my wife and I are walking back to the car with our young son, my first thought is “C’mon, man.” My second thought is “Have a little public decency.” My third thought is “Am I a grumpy old man now?”
I may be grumpy, but I also think a little restraint and respect goes a long way out in public.
Look, given my profession, I love music. Listen to whatever you want. I have songs in my playlist with all sorts of profanity, like many people. And free speech is sacrosanct. You want to enjoy the weather, go for a drive, and crank your music. I get it. I don’t want this to come across as me being for censorship in any form.
BUT…and this is a big BUT…I just wish some people had more decency when it comes to public settings and situations.
Remember, if you’re blasting music out in public (car, picnic, party, whatever) no one can switch the station, change the channel, or go to a different site. I’ve always been very self-conscious about playing music loud in public, because of those reasons. What might be music to my ears is offensive to someone else. And in public, we’re forced to listen to it, including the eight-hundred F-bombs the artist decided to include. Worse, my young child and any other young kids in the area are also forced to listen to it.
I’m not naïve, and know that unfortunately kids are exposed to much worse than that (which makes me sad and is a whole other topic). And as a parent, about the best thing I can do is sigh, accept this is one more challenge, and teach my kid to not drop F-bombs until he’s much older.
And, there really isn’t much you can do.
In and of itself, swearing in public isn’t illegal in Massachusetts. That said, if you do it with enough frequency, are excessively loud, or create a dangerous situation, that could possibly be disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace. Likewise, there are noise ordinances in place, but those are more for a residential situation, or overnight hours.
So, technically speaking, there are certain situations where you could get into trouble with profanity in public. However, realistically speaking there’s really not much to do about it in most situations other than grin and bear it.
In the end, I feel like it just comes down to respecting other people, which I think the majority of us do. But there will always be those that don’t, and I guess I just have to do my best to teach my son not to be one of those people.
Also, if you’re going to blast metal, blast Metallica. Show some taste.
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