IN 1914, the use of the phrase "Not bloody likely" on an English stage caused a national scandal but there's only one word still guaranteed to shock in Gladstone in 2011 and you know which one:
"People should be aware that the 'c-word' is almost never acceptable in public," Acting Senior Sergeant Allan Cook from Gladstone police said.
Since the beginning of this year, police have had the power under public nuisance laws to issue $100 infringement notices for offensive language.
So you can get a ticket for swearing but how far is too far?
"We have to look at time, place and circumstance," Snr Sgt Cook said.
"People who swear to cause offence are generally angry or drunk.
"If you were walking from one nightspot to another and you happened to mention to your mate that you'd had an "effing awesome weekend" as you passed a police officer, you'd be pretty safe," Snr Sgt Cook said.
"But if you were swearing and yelling abuse in a crowded shopping centre at 10 o'clock on a Saturday morning, you could expect a warning," he said.
"If you did not desist then we'd certainly be thinking about issuing an infringement notice."
Pastor Andrew Pieper of the Gladstone Baptist Church, who has seen members of his congregation through life's crises, said "what is in the heart comes out of the mouth" but swearing is out of character for most.
"When people are hurt or under extreme stress they may swear and then they'll apologise," he said.
"Then they'll say 'I don't know where that came from'.
Internet and TV mean we've pretty much seen it all these days, so in the future will we swear even more?
Pastor Pieper says no: "I was a boilermaker before I was a pastor and in that environment it's just part of life, but it's amazing how many men will never swear in another setting," he said.
"I was never comfortable with it myself because I knew I could be better."
A spade or a f**king shovel:
- The Basque language has no swear words
- Violence, sex and profanity in movies increased significantly after 1992
- Spike Lee's Summer of Sam tops the list of non-pornographic, English-language films with the most incidences of the 'f-word' (435)
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