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All the Places You Can’t Legally Fucking Swear

It’s a fucking list, read it or don’t, I don’t fucking care

Swearing is great. It just fucking is. Not only does it help to increase your pain tolerance and make you appear more honest, but it’s also basically impossible to stop doing it (reflexively, anyway). Not to mention, cursing is protected by a little something called the First Amendment, which is pretty Goddamn great. Cursing was even affirmed as protected by the Supreme Court in 1971, and in their slightly more eloquent words:

“One man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.”
 — Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan II, Cohen v. California

It probably wouldn’t surprise you, however, to hear that swearing can be illegal in some countries overseas. Although it probably would surprise you to learn that Australia, of all places — the only country more likely than Britain to welcome you with a friendly, “’ello, cunt!” — has anti-vulgarity laws. Meanwhile, in 2016, 50 Cent was arrested for swearing in St. Kitts, after daring to use the word “motherfucker” when performing in front of 40,000 of them.

Believe it or not, though, you could get into similar trouble in some places right here in the good ol’ US of shitbagging A.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

The famous vacation spot of Myrtle Beach made waves recently, after introducing a new law making the use of profane language a misdemeanor. “It’s not the ticket, it’s compliance,” said City of Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea to Myrtle Beach Online. But since the city raked in $22,161 for these tickets in 2017 (the average cursing ticket costs about $77, and last year they wrote almost 300 of them), it makes one wonder if that’s a bunch of horse shit.

Myrtle Beach Online states, “The offense plainly states a person should not make, utter or direct any lewd, obscene or profane words toward another person,” which seems a little ominous, especially if you regularly refer to your friends as pricks, assholes and cock-wrangling goat fuckers (as, I think, most of us do). But Lt. Bryan Murphy, of the Myrtle Beach PD, assured people publicly that you’d only get cited if you “provoke a violent reaction from another person,” so presumably you can keep calling your buddy Jerome a jizz-gargling cock-goblin without worry.

Oklahoma

Yep, the whole fucking state. According to a law passed in the early 1900s, it’s illegal to curse in public, especially in front of a woman or child, and you can receive a $100 fine for doing so. Another law in the state says that you can’t swear by taking the lord’s name in vain, which, Christ knows, is by far the most fun way to swear.

Oklahoma City attorney David Slane told News on 6 that it’s unlikely anyone would be prosecuted on this law today though, as it’s more than 100 years old and would “never stand the First Amendment challenge.” Still, between this law and the fact that there isn’t much else to do in Oklahoma besides call someone a shit-munching twat-biscuit, it’s no wonder that this state made our list of states to skip on a summer road trip.

From a Car in Rockville, Maryland

As a New Yorker, I can say with authority that the single greatest — and most useful — time to curse is when you’re driving (just ask my three-year-old). After all, if you can’t call that person in front of you an ass-bothering cocksucker for not accelerating as soon as the light turns green, why else do those words exist?

While I’d argue that this is a safe, perfectly reasonable outlet that prevents countless incidents of violent road rage, in Rockville, Maryland, it’s illegal to curse from a vehicle. Though rarely enforced, the law can land you a $100 fine and up to 90 days in jail, even if you do explain that cursing just saved that other driver’s life.

Virginia

The commonwealth of Virginia is yet another state where an antiquated no-cursing law still sits on the books. This law was passed back in 1860, and could originally earn you a $1 fine, which, back in those days, could have bought you a new house and a fine steed (probably, we couldn’t be fucked to check for sure).

Nowadays, the law can cost you $250, and if you’re wondering why a law like this is still even around, well, that’s because lawmakers still uphold it. Yes, as recently as January 2017, the law was reaffirmed by the Virginia General Assembly. Since I personally thought this was stupid, I decided to reach out to some family of mine in the state to ask their thoughts on the subject, to which I received an emphatic, “Fuck that!” (Thank you, Erin from Charles City.)

Raritan, New Jersey

Again, as a New Yorker, I can’t help but hate on the state of New Jersey: This is just something that New Yorkers are raised to do. I do think they bring it on themselves, though — after all, what other state would give Chris Christie eight years in office? But despite my distaste for the Garden State, I couldn’t help feeling a tinge of envy when I discovered that they, along with Connecticut, had been deemed the most profane state in the union. I tip my hat to you, New Jersey.

There is one notable exception to New Jersey’s foul mouth, though: Raritan. The small town of just 8,000 people passed a no-swearing law back in 1994 and slapped on a $500 fine to go along with it. In 1994 dollars, $500 could buy you a new Volkswagen (again, we’re pulling these figures out of our gaping, stinky assholes). What makes this law especially egregious is that it not only applies to public places, but private as well. Despite the obvious violation of the First Amendment, and a challenge from the ACLU, this law is still in effect.

Middleborough, Massachusetts

The mere $20 fine one would receive for swearing in Middleborough almost sounds reasonable when compared to some other profanity fines, but it’s still pretty fucking dumb. It only becomes more ridiculous when you look into why this law was passed: According to Reuters, the 2012 law was, “The brainchild of Mimi DuPhily, a member of the town’s beautification committee, [who] pushed for the law after becoming upset over loud swearing by teenagers hanging around the small town.” Won’t somebody please think of the Goddamn children?

Mississippi

Yet another entire state where cursing is a no-no. Despite the fact that the law says you can receive a $100 fine for it, you probably won’t get in trouble for violating the 1848 law, as it remains on the books with a number of other outdated laws in the state like trash-talking during a duel, which, I’d think, would probably be an even better time to curse than driving.

On a Mini Golf Course in Long Beach, California

It may seem like an innocent sport, but there are few things more gut-wrenchingly frustrating than losing at miniature golf, which might explain the genesis of a law in Long Beach, which bans cursing on a mini-golf course. While this law was undoubtedly enacted to protect children, those kids will have to learn eventually that the obnoxious laughing clown is a Goddamn fucking son of a bitch.