WTF? No Cussing in L.A. County

Monday, Mar 2, 2009  |  Updated 8:08 AM CDT
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WTF? No Cussing in L.A. County

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No blue language will be allowed from the Mojave desert, where it gets hot as $&*# in the summer, to the Pacific Ocean, where on a winter's day it can get colder and nastier than *%$#!

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Fifteen-year-old McKay Hatch has relentlesly campaigned to clean up people's language in Los Angeles County.

On Tuesday, he will be recognized by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

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 Hatch expects complete compliance. When his No Cussing Club meets on the campus of South Pasadena High School on Wednesdays it's not unusual for a nonmember to throw open the door and unleash a torrent of four-letter words. He's also been the target of some organized harassment from pro-cussers.

Antonovich's motion, meanwhile, 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. He added that the board also recently honored a father promoting a no-bullying campaign.

Although perhaps the largest entity to try to put the lid on swearing, Los Angeles County isn't the first. 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 insists he won't be satisfied, however, until he's done his part to clean up the whole world's act.

"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.

Until a few years ago, Hatch was just another suburban kid who liked to play tennis and soccer and listen to music. But about the time he hit the seventh grade, he says, he noticed his friends beginning to swear, something his family wouldn't allow. He decided to form the No Cussing Club and invite others to join.

Soon the group had a Web site, bright orange T-shirts, a hip hop theme song and people from around the world inquiring about joining. He estimates 20,000 people have now formed similar clubs.

"It's not about forcing anyone to stop, just to bring awareness," he says of the movement. "If you can do a week without cussing, maybe you can do two weeks. And then maybe a month."

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