Teen working for a cuss-free country

By U-Wire: Aubree Casper

Very rarely are people upset by an occasional “F-bomb” or other varied forms of four-letter-words, but don’t include 14-year-old McKay Hatch in that category. Hatch, a South Pasadena, Calif., teenager has taken cleaning-up people’s mouths to a whole new level.

Hatch’s mantra of – “if you wanna hang with us, don’t cuss” – was formed during his grassroots campaign at his junior high school where he and eventually 50 other students formed a “No Cussing Club.”

In a story by KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, Hatch put his plan into action after “a lot of kids at my school, and some of my friends, would cuss and use dirty language all the time,” he said. “They did it so much they didn’t even realize they were doing it.” We also can’t forget to mention Hatch’s rap video with a chorus promoting the same slogan, available for viewing on YouTube.com.

Now, with his Web site NoCussing.com, Hatch boasts No Cussing Club members in 50 states and 10,000 members worldwide. His initiative has led to appearances on all major news networks, an interview on the March 14 episode of “Dr. Phil” and the implementation of Hatch’s main goal: a citywide “Cuss-Free Week” in South Pasadena by an official order from the mayor.

The work Hatch has done is incredible for a 14-year-old. While his family is a driving force and provides much support, NoCussing.com not only shares Hatch’s message that using bad language can be extremely harmful, but enables the purchase of the club’s T-shirts, wristbands and a book written by Hatch’s parents, “Raising a G-Rated Family in an X-Rated World.”

However, the group seems to promote a “holier than thou” mentality, wording stories and statements making the use of “bad words” seem as repulsive and unacceptable as rape or murder. Maybe I’m just slightly more offended; I was threatened to have my mouth washed out with soap more times than I can count, and there is no way Hatch would ever let me hang with him anyway.

In fact, the KNBC story quotes Hatch as saying, “If my friends could say no to cussing, how much easier will it be for them to say no to drugs, violence and pornography?” This is hardly a valid match, especially for 14-year-old children who are just dawning on the next few years’ mission to rebel against and do any small thing to displease parents.

Right now, Hatch is a revolutionary in the eyes of public opinion and media, but his manual of good words that can be used to replace bad ones will come back to haunt him; an odd similarity in terms and corniness of the popular Orbit commercial which implements FCC appropriate alternatives like “lint-licker,” “cootie queen,” “what the French toast,” “Hoboken” and “Stinky McStinkface.”

God forbid that boy ever uses a curse word. The media will spin that story and Hatch’s “street cred” will be lost forever. Poor Hatch has – at age 14 – even been publicly called a Nazi, by people who say his plan to keep people from cussing violates First Amendment rights and fear that conservative Hatch will get older and use his fame to promote even more “fascist” ideas worldwide.

While I do not agree with that extreme of a view – though Hatch comes across as a puppet for his old-fashioned parents – Americans can learn a valuable lesson from all of this. A lesson that isn’t new to our nation and is particularly appropriate during election season: If you don’t agree with something, don’t sit around and complain – do something to fix it.

The U.S. Census Bureau said that 64 percent of Americans voted in the 2004 elections. Most people would be willing to bet that more than 64 percent of our nation complains about our government, yet they refuse to spend 20 minutes at the polls.

Maybe Hatch won’t help you stop cussing, but at least he might inspire you to actually vote and act on an issue you feel needs change. That is something Hatch has definitely gotten right.