Law and Language (and Media)

It’s a crime in Virginia to swear in public. A lawmaker says that’s #@!#ing nuts.

Virginia law demands that residents keep it clean, even in moments crying out for the foulest four-letter words. It’s illegal in this state to curse in public.  “Profane swearing” is a Class 4 misdemeanor punishable by a $250 fine, right up there with public intoxication. It’s a law that predates the Civil War. Yet modern-day potty-mouths still get charged under it — in small numbers, but in ways that can raise troubling questions about law enforcement.