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The Courts Have Upheld a Masshole's Right to Be Obnoxious

Scott Eisen. Getty Images.

Some time around 2015, no less a source than the Oxford English Dictionary recognized "Masshole" as an official word, codifying the culture of my people to be shared with the world. But mere words are just consonants and vowels if they're not backed up by something much more powerful. 

The law. And it has happened:

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Source (paywall) - In a decision that jangled the nerves of some elected officials, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last week reaffirmed a basic liberty established by the founding fathers: the right to be rude at public meetings.

The ruling sent waves of consternation across the state, where many local select board and school committee members have emerged battle-scarred from the coronavirus pandemic and its fierce disputes over masks, vaccines and remote learning. Stemming from a lawsuit filed against the town of Southborough, Mass., by a resident who said selectmen had silenced her unlawfully, the decision pushed back against attempts to mandate good manners.

“On its face it’s very dispiriting,” said Geoff Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which until last week had been nudging towns to develop civility guidelines for meetings. ...

In a state with a long, proud tradition of grassroots democracy, where people still sit shoulder to shoulder in high school auditoriums each spring to quarrel over budgets at annual town meetings, fierce debate is a hallmark of civic engagement. ...

Those concerns were not enough to sway the state’s high court. It struck down as unconstitutional Southborough’s “civility code” for public comment at meetings, which required “respectful and courteous” discourse “free of rude, personal or slanderous remarks.” ...

Decorum, the new decision concluded, was not a top priority for the cousins John and Samuel Adams when they drafted Article 19 in the Massachusetts Constitution, ratified in 1780. By laying out the right to request “redress of the wrongs done them, and of the grievances they suffer,” the justices noted, they aimed to protect the colonists’ freedom to rail against King George III, disparaged at the time as “the Royal Brute,” in a profane and ungracious manner.

“There was nothing respectful or courteous about the public assemblies of the revolutionary period,” the court wrote in its opinion. “There was also much that was rude and personal, especially when it was directed at the representatives of the king and the king himself.”

Fucking A, right. You can take your consternation and your civility codes and cram them all the way up into your decorum. 

To be 100% clear, this isn't about the pandemic or masks or anything of the sort. This is about a Masshole's right to be a Masshole. To express him/herself in our native tongue, the way we do when the car in the left lane is going 65, the one in the right lane is doing 80, and the asshole in between won't let you get over. This is allowing us to treat our elected representatives the way we do the guy at the front of the line gets to the counter and is still reading the menu while all you want two beers so you don't miss the first pitch. This is about Free Speech. Specifically, Free Bill Burr Speech:

Damned right, John and Sam Adams were being "profane and ungracious" when they were speaking obnoxious truth to power. And the real kick in the balls there was the King was in the right. The British Crown had just foot the bill for financing and winning King Phillip's War. All Britain was doing with those taxes on stamps and tea was asking the Colonists who benefited to kick in and help pay the tab. So they called him every name in the book and even tarred and feathered some of his legal representatives in Boston. That's who established the culture in this parts. Insufferable, degenerate, know-it-all ingrates who refused to be ruled. Not our generation. The ones we have all the statues of and schools named after.

Now two and a half centuries later, these low level politicians expect their loyal subjects to use their indoor voices and play nice with others? Get bent. This place celebrates the tradition of people who skipped out on the tab of a sovereign king, then  flipped him the State Bird of Massachusetts, while he commanded the most powerful military in the world. The pussies who run town councils are just going to have to deal. It’s the law.