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View Diary: Supreme Court [heart] Boobies! (104 comments)

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  •  A question on language (12+ / 0-)

    How did the Supreme Court decide that "boobs" is okay but "tits" is patently offensive?  They seem roughly equivalent to me, both are slang.  Does "tits" have some historical usage that renders it offensive?  Or did the Supreme Court just not like how the word sounded and decide to be offended?  Can a later Supreme Court decide to be un-offended?  Or does precedent mean we're stuck with that arbitrary opinion?

    Next, given that the word "balls" is in common usage in school on a daily basis, would an "I heart Balls" bracelet not be offensive if it included pictures of baseballs, basketballs, footballs and soccer balls?  Or can a bracelet be ruled offensive if a sexual meaning is only one of multiple possible meanings?

    •  It was the Third Circuit, and ... they did. (16+ / 0-)

      These are clearly judgment calls, a fact that the dissenters below focused on:

      Practical problems with the Majority's test abound. Where and how do school districts line-draw regarding the nouns used to describe the subject matter of the particular awareness campaign? The Majority has established that at opposite ends of the spectrum are “boobies,” on the one hand, and “tits,” one of the “seven dirty words,” on the other hand. What lies between those two extremes and how a school district is to make a principled judgment going forward remain open questions. No doubt, there are some words and phrases that all would agree should be afforded no protection in the middle school context, despite their use in promoting an important social issue. My recalcitrance to extend First Amendment protection to the slogan at hand is simple—why is this word, “boobies,” different? Why does it deserve protection? Is “boobies” a term that is inherently innocuous or sophomoric, as the Majority asserts? As noted in the Majority, “ta tas” is used as the descriptive term in some breast cancer awareness campaigns. The ambiguity of “ta tas” in this context is beyond question. What also seems beyond question is that the school district, according to the Majority, must lay dormant to a student's use of “ta tas” or any synonym of “breast” (other than “tits”) as long as the student is commenting on a political or social issue, here, breast cancer awareness. The lack of certitude or a workable parameter unnecessarily handcuffs school districts.

      What of the circumstance when an anatomically correct term is used in an awareness campaign? Applying the Majority's test, “I ♥ penises,” “I ♥ vaginas,” “I ♥ testicles,” or “I ♥ breasts” would apparently be phrases or slogans that school districts would be powerless to address. Would the invocation of any of these slogans in a cancer awareness effort fail to garner protection under the Majority's test? It would appear not. What of the other slogans that the Majority mentions in its opinion that are sufficiently ambiguous?

    •  It's because "tits" is a tinny word (8+ / 0-)

      Monty Python: tinny and woody word sketch

      Actually, "tits", "boobies", and "hooters" (owls) are all birds, so nothing offensive at all unless you're an insect, squid, or small rodent.

      Better to hide your tax returns and be thought a crook than to release them and remove all doubt. [Adapted from Abraham Lincoln]

      by Caelian on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 11:56:54 AM PDT

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    •  'Boobies' is what children call breasts. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mconvente

      It's the generally accepted term for someone to delicately refer to breasts.
      "Tits" is considered vulgar.
      'Teets' would probably fly because it's more anatomical.

      I ain't often right, but I've never been wrong. Seldom turns out the way it does in this song.

      by mungley on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 03:02:38 PM PDT

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    •  Agreed, "boobies" and "tits" strike me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne

      as roughly equivalent.  I find the logic differentiating them to be pretty vague.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 06:21:10 PM PDT

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    •  Also, what if we're talking about birds? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turbonerd

      The European relatives of our chickadees and titmice are called tits in English - great tits, coal tits, blue tits (brrrrr - never been that cold!) etc. Oh, yeah, boobies are birds too.

      Cogito, ergo Democrata.

      by Ahianne on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:33:08 AM PDT

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