Monday, March 2, 2009

To Cuss or Not to Cuss, That is the Question

Pay no attention to that eerie silence in the nation’s most populous county this week; it will simply be the sound of 10 million people not cussing.

At least that’s the result McKay Hatch is hoping for once his campaign to clear the air is recognized by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. On Tuesday, the board is scheduled to issue a proclamation by Supervisor Michael Antonovich making the first week in March No Cussing Week.

That would mean no blue language from the Mojave desert, where it gets hot as $&# in the summer, to the Pacific Ocean, where on a winter’s day it can get colder and nastier than %$#!

Not that 15-year-old Hatch expects complete compliance. When his No Cussing Club meets at South Pasadena High School on Wednesdays it’s not unusual for a nonmember to throw open the door and fire off a torrent of four-letter words. He’s also been the target of organized harassment by pro-cussers.

And Antonovich's county motion carries no penalties. “But it’s a good reminder for all of us, not just young people but everybody, to be respectful to one another and watch the words we use,” said the supervisor’s spokesman, Tony Bell.

The county isn’t the first entity to try to put the lid on swearing. Hatch’s hometown of South Pasadena declared itself a cuss-free zone for a week last March, and two years ago a high school in Canada threatened to suspend repeat cussers. Hatch has lofty goals. “Next year I want to try to get California to have a cuss-free week. And then, who knows, maybe worldwide,” said the 10th grader, who believes if people treat each other with more civility they can better work together to solve bigger problems.

He said his campaign began to form about the time he hit seventh grade when he noticed his friends beginning to swear, something his family didn’t allow. He formed the No Cussing Club and invited others to join. Soon the group had a Web site, bright orange T-shirts, a hip hop theme song and inquiries from all over from people interested in joining. He estimates 20,000 people have formed similar clubs.

What do you think? Will a Cuss-Free Week work around your office? Home? With your friends?


  1. Let's hope it works around here since it is a church office. :) I am not sure it will work as this young man would like but I sure like his spunk and attitude. Now if we can just keep the pulpits cuss-free.

  2. (Second time doing this) I would hope it would work since it is a church office. I am not sure this idea will work but I sure like the young man's spunk and attitude. Now if we can just keep our pulpits cuss free.

  3. Bill..."knowing" you as I do...I know this is a real challenge...but, in honor of this young man from CA, try hard...real hard! It's only for a week.

  4. Work, not so much - although, most of my co-workers know I don't, so they "catch" themselves and try harder to keep it clean.

    You can convey the same message just as easily without the cuss words as with - plus going cuss-free elevates your statement to one of a higher class, demanding respect. "Man, he could have really cussed me out..." plants the seed of why you chose to keep it clean.

    Home and friends - well, I was a sailor in my younger years, but haven't spoken like one for close to 20, when I turned my spiritual "ship" around.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I can't wait to read what you have written.