Wednesday, June 06, 2007

That F*&#ing Fox!

In a brilliantly written article by Mark Sullivan, we are informed that Fox Broadcasting won (what was for them) a true victory. "A New York appeals court said Monday that the FCC's standing rule against "fleeting expletives" on TV doesn't make legal sense and might be unconstitutional."

As Sullivan points out, this is a major coup for Fox, who has been attempted to push the envelope as much as it possibly can. While those of us with standards are saddened to find that television can now bring salty language into the home, the white trash of Hollywood rejoice. People such as Cher and Nicole Ritchie (who is heavily influenced by Paris Hilton) are only too happy to take advantage of such permission. And of course Paris Hilton, who was recently seen in a newly released video spouting such words as "faggot" and "nigger", will be sure to have her shot at scandalizing a wider swath of the viewing public than ever before.

Interestingly, some of the comments on Sullivan's blog are quite pitiful and it frightens me to think that they represent The Average Joe:

Idiot A: I think this is pretty great. True freedom of speech. TV is ridiculous because by censoring language, it's not realistic. Just like people who don't care to hear cursing or to expose their children to crude language in the real world can choose to avoid certain situations, they can choose to avoid certain TV shows. It just makes sense. *I* want to decide for *myself* what offends me. I don't want some government office deciding that for me.

My Answer to Idiot A: We have perverted the meaning of free speech, as it is defined in the Constitution. Just as we aren't allowed to yell "fire!" in a crowded theatre, we also need to be circumspect in the language which we use. Are we really prepared to descend into complete barbarity? While such language may be "realistic" for YOU, it may not be realistic for others. And although you might recommend that certain families avoid certain TV shows, what happens when the parents aren't home? What happens when someone is merely channel surfing? And how do you know which show might erupt in profanity next?

Idiot B: Finally we did something right. And as you can see there are idiots who still think that censoring TV is bad... KIDS HEAR THIS LANGUAGE IN SCHOOL ALL DAY.

My Answer to Idiot B: Simply because kids hear such language in school from trashy children doesn't mean that we need to put a stamp of approval on it.

Idiot C: It is refreshing to see the courts reach an intelligent decision in this matter. I have always wondered what makes broadcast media so "special" as to need the oversight of the FCC. Anyone picked up a Stephen King novel lately? One of the most famous American authors in history and every book is filled from cover to cover with expletives. And yet, I've never seen a Barnes and Noble clerk tackle a 12 year old in the aisle...

My Answer to Idiot C: Is this what you call "intelligent"? Attention Educators: Look no further for proof of the dumbing down of America! What makes the broadcast media special is that they are heavily influential. And while I am no fan of Stephen King and his continual obsession with women's menstruation and use of profanity, I need to point out that words in print are more easily controlled by parents than something that is seen on TV.

Idiot D: Oh, no! People are saying naughty words! The fabric of the universe will unravel! Fuck you, prudish American pricks! You think it is decent to drop bombs on people in dirt huts, but you become offended because somebody says, "shit."

My Answer to Idiot D: Of all the countries in the world, America is the one that is often considered to be the MOST libertine. If we were as prudish as all that, the Islamic fundies wouldn't be so eager to kill us off. If you want to deal with prudes, parachute into a strict Muslim country where women must be covered from head to toe and undergo genital mutilation so that they're not tempted to enjoy sex. And if you're referring to the Iraq war, you might consider that there are some of us that don't approve of the war and we may be the ones that don't like the profanity, either.

These idiotic statements are merely representative of the other moronic comments in like ilk that can be found at this blog. It goes to show that common sense, as my mother has always said, is not so common any more.

Profanity has always been seen as words that society (in general) doesn't approve of. For instance, if everyone else uses the word "snidge" to describe genitalia, but people in prison prefer the word "snafflewat", we are safe to assume that the word "snidge" is the proper one, and "snafflewat" was designed to offend. You see, profanity is the attempt to deliberately shock and offend others. Is that something we wish to encourage? Once we say it's OK to be offensive in language, we open the door to other anti-societal and offensive behaviors. We say to society: F*&# You!


Idiot E aka Hans said...

In my opinion it's about taking away freedom of choice. Your denegrating the writers CHOICE to use the language, the networks CHOICE to broadcast the shows that use the language, the advertisers CHOICE to sponser the shows that use the language and the viewers CHOICE to choose to watch the shows that use the language.

Is the use the use of profane language appropriate on network television, no (IMHO). Does the use of profane language in television lower the level of discourse of our society as a whole, probably yes (IMHO). Do we need more laws from big brother protecting us from hearing this language, ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Jenn said...

it gets harder and harder to be shocking these days... the words loose their impact when they become commonplace.

eshuneutics said...

A rather odd debate. William Gass wrote a brilliant little book on the philosophy of swear words: On Being Blue. His point was that such words shouldn't be used "fleetingly", but with deliberation, and used in literature with precision and care. The whole idea that any word can be used "fleetingly" devalues language. As Gass migh have put it: a casual f*** is not a f*** worth having. So much of the profane language nowadays is exactly as you described. So, I turned on the tv last night, and it came on Channel 4 because that was the last channel watched, which meant I was watching (without choice) Big Brother. Instantly, I was greeted with a stream of obscenities. They served no point beyond being offensive and demonstrating what happens when you have a programme based around people who can't speak English and can't talk to on another and think that an ejaculation in Jane Austen is a sex act. I agree with you fully. This isn't a free speech issue: it's an issue about quality and taste. Oh dear, I am probably being elitist!

Saur♥Kraut said...

Hans, Choice is a very misunderstood concept. What if ABC suddenly decided it was their "choice" to show a child being raped? Could they stand behind free speech? What if CBS suddenly decided that it was their "choice" to show a man having sex with a goat on prime time TV? We have certain standards, and it's a shame to see them continuing to erode. It has nothing to do with choice when there are other words which can be substituted for all the standard blue ones.

Jenn, alas, very true.

Eshuneutics, thank you so very much for weighing in with such excellent points. Ironic, isn't it, that what used to be good behavior and manners for the majority of the civilized world is now viewed as "elitist"?

Matt said...

An unremittant conservative as always, Sauer. :)

Idiot E said...

In your cited examples there are victims, the child and the goat (except in the state of Washington where it is still legal). They are the victims of a crime. The victim of foul language is your sensitivity. Apples and oranges.

The Lazy Iguana said...

The FCC has NO BUSINESS regulating content in the first place. The FCC was created to regulate the technical aspects of radio. Such as who can use what frequency, using what type of modulation, taking up so much bandwidth, and only with so much power.

It was the 20s or 30s when the church bullied the FCC into going after content. And since then it only got worse and worst.

But I think this is great really. Fox won. Who will the head turd on a stick Bill O'Reilly blame for the "lack of moral values" on the TV? His employer? And if Fox is really so terrible to air smut - will he keep accepting their paycheck?

This is really very simple. If you do not like a TV show - do not watch it. Do not complain about it. Do not talk about it. Watch something else! Promote another show you like better. If the potty mouth show gets bad ratings it will go off the air.

If it gets good ratings, whose fault is it? The TV network - or the people watching it?

And am I the only one who thinks it is funny that the network best known for pushing the line and testing boundaries the most is also the network with the "moral values" news slant?

And really all you Fox News anchors, are you going to call for a national boycott of all Fox shows because they are foul and immoral? Of course not. You are all money whores just like everyone else on the TV. Might as well just admit it.

Idiot E said...


Going after Bill O'Reilly? Without him who'd be looking out for the "common folks". Just think about all those left wing, pinko, liberal wackos who who'd be able the finish a thought without interuption (as I like to call it, getting the LAST WORD). Dangerous.

The Lazy Iguana said...

God forbid someone be able to speak for more than 15 seconds! Unless of course they are Fox approved :)

Hans said...

For the most part I like Fox News. Particularly Special Report with Bret Hume around election time. Plus they've brought up the talent in News Babes. O'Reilly I can do without

The Lazy Iguana said...

I could also do without the horrible menace to TV that is Rick Sanchez. He is a Miami reject. We ran his ass out of town.

I could also go without Gerlado "moustache wax" Rivera. Hey Gerlado, get hit in the face be a chair thrown by a skinhead recently? And how's Al Capone's safe?

What a bunch of goobers.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I would like to know who "Gerlado" is. Do you mean Geraldo?

I too can do without the foul language and the almost too real images in some of the television shows.

Is it tasteful and "okay" that images of Jesus and Mary are displayed in vulgar images all for the sake of "art" and First Amendment Rights?

Yes, I do have the ability to change the channel if it offends, however, I feel that TOO MUCH freedom is given and always with the First Amendment Rights speech.

I feel it should also be MY first amendment right that I want prayer brought back to schools. It is also my First Amendment Right that any signs that are now in place regarding the Ten Commandments, etc. be left where they are and not removed because of the ACLU and others. It is again within my First Amendment Rights to not have every reference to God removed from currency or the Pledge of Allegiance, etc.

Where are MY First Amendment Rights? They are being swallowed up by all the liberals in this country who have swayed from the true founding of our country...FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!