On this frigid third day in my 10 More Days for Tina Fey series, I would like to bring Tina Fey’s attention to Los Angeles County’s “No Cussing Week.” 15-year-old McKay Hatch started his “No Cussing Club,” and has brought the campaign to Los Angeles County supervisor Michael Antonovich. News reports suggest that Antonovich will soon officially announce the first week of March as “No Cussing Week.” Despite the proclamation, there are no penalties for violation of the blatantly obvious terms of a No Cussing Week (“NCW”).
That said, my lawyer side must arise from the depths of discovery hell. Oops. Good thing I’m not in LA, because I think “hell” might violate the NCW rules. Of course, since my blog is publicly available and can reasonably be expected to be viewed by LA county residents, have I violated the NCW rules by Internet speech? The point is — this NCW, as proclaimed by a state-sanctioned governing body, is unconstitutional. Ever heard of the First Amendment? And the whole freedom of speech afforded by the First Amendment? Well, perhaps one of the worst violations of the First Amendment (and regularly stricked by courts) is a “prior restraint.” In the most simplistic terms, the government cannot, under the Constitution, restrain you from speaking your mind. And if speaking your mind means that you’d like to use “fuck” in a single sentence, repeating “fuck” as a noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb, and verb all in one potty-mouthed breath, the Constitution affords you that liberty (with certain narrowly-tailored exceptions). Speaking of “fuck,” check out these legal briefs — oh, to be able to submit these to a court . . .
Well, I suppose you could argue that the NCW proclamation has no penalties, thus it is not a “prior restraint,” because you’re free to cuss all you want with no fear of government-sanctioned repercussions. I’ll leave that up to the courts, in case any liberals want to challenge the proclamation. As a way of analogy, however, suppose your local courthouse displayed a prominent Jesus cross. That would be a violation of the Constitution’s separation of church and state — and such violation would exist even though the display of such Jesus cross does not technically force any individual to actually subscribe to a Christian religion (and there are no penalties for ignoring Christianity altogether).
I’m not sure how this post ties to Tina Fey. Although I must admit that 30 Rock has been written to bypass the US censorship rules (which, thankfully, have finally started to relax after the Janet Jackson Nipplegate fiasco). Anytime you hear Liz Lemon or other characters on 30 Rock utter an incomprehensible word, e.g. “blurg,” it’s really a replacement for “shit” or “fuck.” Perhaps I will fly to LA this week, attend an LA County Board meeting with a copy of the US Constitution and wave such Constitution as I scream, “Blurg you blurging blurgity blurgs you blurgy blurgwads!”