Bad Taste

Bad Taste

 Those who remember better times often lament the days when children were more commonly taught to be respectful to others. For many reasons, all powered by permissiveness and timidity, we have failed as a culture to teach this essential trait to our future.

The all-to-common bumper-stickers read, “shit happens”, “unless you’re a hemorrhoid, get off my ass”, “I’d slap you but shit splatters”, and there is worse.

The lowly bumper sticker accurately summarizes the state disrespect, bad taste, and bad citizenship which increasingly pervade our culture: thousands of examples forged into one.

I said to an acquaintance, “there should be a law against displaying such bumper-stickers–I’d like give the jerk a ticket”. Sounding a bit like a recorded message he said, “You can’t do that it’s a free country. The constitution protects the right to free speech”.

Yes, of course, the Supreme Court has “ruled” on this matter. But, what is supreme about the Supreme Court? The fact is that if a liberal is in the White House, liberals are appointed to the supreme court. If a conservative is in the white house, conservatives are appointed to the supreme court. The Supreme Court and it’s rulings are not supreme– they are political.

My question is: Do you think the framers of our constitution would support a law forbidding the public display of profanity on the horse drawn carriages of their day?

We have an obligation to rail against those “supreme” interpretations of the constitution which rip the founding values and ethics from the fabric of our culture.

Billy Budd

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5 Responses to “Bad Taste”

  1. Jennifer T. Langley Says:

    You know whats really surreal, to see yourself quoted as a source, in an online forum. Especially since I was writing as an undergrand with an interest in law, and now I am even more of an expert as a lawyer. =) Jennifer Tennile Langley


    • vtmawhinney Says:


      I will be happy to edit my writing and site your words if you can send me a copy of the source. Is it your comments that you refer to, or something that I wrote under the pseudonym “Billy Budd” many years ago.

      Please let me know if I need to place a citation in tha writing (“Bad Taste”).

      Email me at Thanks for your response. Tom Mawhinney


  2. jonolan Says:

    OK, I’ll give you that point. I not sure it’s quite the same though since they had different views than we do on the levels of offense given by “cussing.” There was also a huge difference between blaspheming and just cussing.


  3. vtmawhinney Says:

    Thank you for your thoughts jonolan. You are correct, Political retoric in the days of our Founding Fathers was very rough indeed. A reading of “What would the Founders do” by Richard Brookhiser will substantiate your point.

    But regarding swearing in public in most of the Colonies was considered immoral and illegal. The following quotes are taken from: “Law”, By Jennifer Tennile Langley, Michael Munger, Kenneth Litteral, Stephen Camper Student’s, University of North Carolina at Pembroke 2001

    “The colonies needed ways to regulate and enforce morality. Their first step was to recognize what would be considered as immoral and then set the punishment fittingly. Some examples of acts considered immoral were drunkenness, fornication, blasphemy, bastardy, swearing, rape, and especially adultery.”

    “In most of the colonies it was against the law to swear, not attend church services, to exhibit inappropriate behavior on the Sabbath, and to display unacceptable conduct between members of the opposite sex, i.e. premarital sex or post-marital adultery.

    Most likely, some strong church-based, social or legal actions would have been taken against someone displaying written profanity for all to see on their horse drawn carriages of that day.

    VTM, 9/15/09


  4. jonolan Says:

    Most likely our Founding Fathers would have been dead set against any law forbidding the public display of profanity on the horse drawn carriages of their day. Of course that comparison is not quite fair since the written word, including inflammatory placards and such, were a very normal form of communication back then.


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