What the Fu%k You Talkin’ Bout?


The US Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday from a shitstorm of lawyers for Fox News, ABC and other media representatives in regards to a slow growing press by the FCC to enforce tough censorship standards on television and radio. Grievances stemmed from recent cussing from celebrities Cher and Nicole Richie as well as some partial nudity an episode of “NYPD Blue” which brought hefty fines on the broadcasting companies who feel television and radio are being singled out for censorship scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission.

A slow tide began to develop in more recent times (I won’t go back to the turn of the century when tv wasn’t around or ramble on about the McCarthy era) from a pebble tossed in the water from Al Gore’s wife, Tipper, back in the 80’s. Her crusade to censor records gave a parental approach to the opposition of free speech and made for some rather entertaining and poignant appeals from the likes of Frank Zappa, John Denver and a slew of musicians who saw where this was headed. The Supreme Court shot down most of the work Tipper and her team of banshees put forth to try and change things in this country, but now it seems the fight may be starting up again. There was Cher saying ‘fuck’ and Richie swearing too, Janet Jackson showed her nip during halftime and NYPD Blue showed some back ass shots in one of their episodes.

Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg brought up two key points during today’s arguments. Kennedy asked Solicitor General Donald B. Verilli Jr. “But you’re saying that there’s still a value, an importance, in having a higher standard..for broadcast media. Why is that, when there are so many other options?” Excellent point. Ginsberg pointed out the arbitrary appearance of defining indecency by reminding those present that no mention seemed to be brought up about the indecent language overlooked in a television broadcast of “Saving Private Ryan”. Justice Elena Kagen topped that remark off by saying “the way this policy seems to work, it’s like nobody can use dirty words or nudity except for Steven Spielberg.” Priceless.

There does seem to be a lot of hand picked attacks on various pieces of music or films that are getting the brunt of watchdog group scrutiny. I could never understand why censors insist on  editing John Mellencamp’s song where he says “forget all about that macho shit and learn how to play guitar”: they’ll either bleep the word or back-mask it. Have you ever heard Lou Reed sing ‘Walk on the Wild Side”? Why is there no bleep when he talks about the girl ‘giving head’? David and David sang the song “Welcome to the Boomtown” and they cut out the line about dealing dope out of Denny’s. Ralph Bakshi’s “New Adventure’s of Mighty Mouse had an episode banned where Mighty Mouse sniffed the remains of a flower his girlfriend gave him-the censors thought it looked to much like he was snorting coke.

We will always be under the scrutiny of standards for decency and I am not an advocate of letting donkey shows appear on daytime tv (if you don’t know what a donkey show is, you need to get out more) but the growing platform in which media presents itself to the public has grown to the point where you can now see the most vial pornography imagined on your phone, granted you have the right phone plan. Shielding our children is a prime responsibility of every parent yet today’s standards have grown as our public has changed. What used to be considered indecent back in 1910 is a far cry different that the thong wearing society of 2012. Television does offer cleancut stations that show old Bonanza episodes, Disney channel and Nickelodeon…a plethora of channels out there that will stay the G-rated course. Let the advocates of these channels pay the station’s bills and keep them on the air waves and allow the viewers of more adult themed material support their favorite stations.  You can’t expect the government to raise and regulate your children for you. It starts at home, not on the steps of Congress. I hope the Supreme Court rules against the censor watchdogs because if they let the ruling stand on these outrageous fines, the next step is to hit the internet and you think there’s outrage now? Wait until they censor the internet.

Wave on Supreme Court. Wave on.


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