Posts tagged Legion of Decency

Well, thank God #8: Civil Tongue Edition

Fellow citizens, you can rest easier tonight knowing that City Officials in St. Charles, Missouri are contemplating decisive action against a grave and gathering threat to the safety and well-being of their citizens—the threat of coarse language and vulgar songs at saloons.

Here's a photo of Anthony Comstock

St. Charles City Officials

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — … A St. Louis-area town is considering a bill that would ban swearing in bars, along with table-dancing, drinking contests and profane music.

City officials contend the bill is needed to keep rowdy crowds under control because the historic downtown area gets a little too lively on some nights.

City Councilman Richard Veit said he was prompted to propose the bill after complaints about bad bar behavior. He says it will give police some rules to enforce when things get too rowdy.

… The proposal would ban indecent, profane or obscene language, songs, entertainment and literature at bars.

— Associated Press (2008-01-08): St. Louis-area town considers proposal that would ban swearing in bars

Well, thank God, says I. The last thing that the august officials of that fair city should permit is for consenting adults to indulge in bawdy or profane entertainments. Some might say that City Officials ought to let each bar keeper make his or her own rules as to what is or isn’t permissible behavior in their own bars. But that surely misses the point. There’s a historic downtown district at stake here, and if a City Official isn’t entitled to treat a Historic Downtown District as his own private property in order to preserve its Character from rowdies and vulgarians, then by crackie, what is he entitled to do?

Some are not so sure:

Marc Rousseau, who owns the bar R.T. Weilers, said he thinks the bill needs revision.

We’re dealing with adults here once again and I don’t think it’s the city’s job or the government’s job to determine what we can and cannot play in our restaurant, Rousseau said.

— Associated Press (2008-01-08): St. Louis-area town considers proposal that would ban swearing in bars

But really, M. Rousseau! Think of the importance of keeping a family-friendly atmosphere in a late-night bar district! If the city government doesn’t shield the delicate ears of bar-hoppers from indecent, profane, or obscene language that they are willing to hear, then who will?

Since we already have a cadre of professional bureaucrats, legislators, regulators, and statesmen running behind us all, yelling You’ll put an eye out with that! and Don’t drink that; it’ll stunt your growth! and You’re not going out like that, are you?! what could be more natural than to give the police some rules to enforce and have The Law come around, in all its majesty and dignity, to shout at us all, You keep your mouth clean, son, or I’ll wash it out for you with soap!

(Via feministe 2008-01-11.)