I heard the U.S. Supreme Court spent its precious time on the first day of the new session debating obscenity and censorship — specifically, how to keep the “F” word off the airwaves.
That the highest court in the land can engage in such an absurd drama and not notice how hypocritical, clueless, and unnecessary the whole debate is should really make Americans nervous.
Background: Bono and Cher let the F word slip at awards shows. Janet Jackson showed her nipple at the Super Bowl. Prudes fainted, then called their Senators.
I agree that our culture is too crass, and I wish you could get rid of all curse words and sexual innuendo on prime-time broadcast TV, but as my son would say, “That ship has sailed, Dad.”
Norm Coleman ran an ad here in Minnesota showing Al Franken saying “bleep bleep bleep.” To me, the question is obvious: Who is more to blame for the corruption of our culture, the guy who cussed in a nightclub or a cable show somewhere, or the guy who put all the easily-deciphered bleeps on primetime?
The Republicans in Pennsylvania did it too, showing Reverend Jeremiah Wright saying “God damn America” on their McCain commercials.
When the Starr report came out, the right-wing scolds who want to censor the media and clean up Hollywood saw to it that my local newspaper was turned into a bad soft-core paperback.
Dear Supreme Court: There is no escaping the F word. Any child over 5 years old who has been to public school or played in the neighborhood without parental supervision can fill in the blank when they hear the F word bleeped out. All it does is wreck otherwise good movies and TV shows and make stupid ones appear less stupid.
The absurdity utterly dumbfounds me. The justices are apparently under the impression that — with the exception of F-bombs on awards shows and nipples on the Super Bowl — prime time on broadcast TV is good, wholesome, family entertainment.
In fact, the very networks whose language the Supreme Court wants to keep tabs on are using the public airwaves to present storylines and innuendo that are far more graphic than whatever Bono and Cher said.
I was watching an episode of Two and a Half Men and saw one of the main characters get a lap dance.
I caught a few minutes of the Family Guy and was treated to a joke about a woman with an inside-out anus (sorry to pass that on, but I need another example).
Pornography shouldn’t be outlawed, but I don’t really want it normalized on primetime by sitcom jokes and Zack and Miri commercials.
On cable it’s not much worse. I turned on The Sopranos on A&E this morning, and the half-assed censorship was laughable. There’s Tony saying “frig” this and “frack” that, while he’s in a hotel room with an underwear-clad prostitute whose face was shown from a fat-man’s eye view over Tony’s stomach in the neighborhood of his boxer shorts.
Switch over to Comedy Central and there’s a bad movie with gaping holes in it: Why you mother ________, get your ______ ass back here you _______ _______ ________.
Speaking of “ass,” I remember when it became acceptable to use that word on TV. It was back in the early ’90s, and every time it came on, I would say to my wife, “They said ‘ass.'” Every show suddenly had the word “ass” in it at least once. The same thing happened with “son of a bitch,” but as the years went on, the words lost their impact and eventually their use declined.
Silence it, bleep it, or “frick” it — it’s still the F word, and everyone knows it. If you want to clean up prime time TV, go the whole nine yards. If you can’t, then open the door. Maybe the light of day will finally make people realize that the writers of our movies and sitcoms are sex-crazed juveniles with a fifth-grader’s obsession with dirty words, bodily functions and pissing off The Man.
The FCC and our esteemed justices are playing into their hands. Ignore them, and maybe they’ll go away.