June 5, 2007

Let the "fleeting expletives" fly -- says Second Circuit.

The NYT reports:
The decision, by a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, was a sharp rebuke for the F.C.C. and for the Bush administration. For the four television networks that filed the lawsuit — Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC — it was a major victory in a legal and cultural battle that they are waging with the commission and its supporters.

Under President Bush, the F.C.C. has expanded its indecency rules, taking a much harder line on obscenities uttered on broadcast television and radio. While the judges sent the case back to the commission to rewrite its indecency policy, it said that it was “doubtful” that the agency would be able to “adequately respond to the constitutional and statutory challenges raised by the networks.”
It all started with Bono:
Beginning with the F.C.C.’s indecency finding in a case against NBC for a vulgarity uttered by the U2 singer Bono during the Golden Globes awards ceremony in 2003, President Bush’s Republican and Democratic appointees to the commission have imposed a tougher policy by punishing any station that broadcast a fleeting expletive....

Reversing decades of a more lenient policy, the commission had found that the mere utterance of certain words implied that sexual or excretory acts were carried out and therefore violated the indecency rules.

But the judges said vulgar words are just as often used out of frustration or excitement, and not to convey any broader obscene meaning. “In recent times even the top leaders of our government have used variants of these expletives in a manner that no reasonable person would believe referenced sexual or excretory organs or activities.”

Adopting an argument made by lawyers for NBC, the judges then cited examples in which Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney had used the same language that would be penalized under the policy. Mr. Bush was caught on videotape last July using a common vulgarity that the commission finds objectionable in a conversation with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. Three years ago, Mr. Cheney was widely reported to have muttered an angry obscene version of “get lost” to Senator Patrick Leahy on the floor of the United States Senate.
Yeah, stick it to Bush and Cheney.

I love the way the NYT seems enthused about this new liberation in media but still can't print "Go f*ck yourself." (Me neither, but I'm only using the asterisk out of fear of what filters might do to me.)
“We find that the F.C.C.’s new policy regarding ‘fleeting expletives’ fails to provide a reasoned analysis justifying its departure from the agency’s established practice,” said the panel.
So this is not a First Amendment decision, though the majority does say “We question whether the F.C.C.’s indecency test can survive First Amendment scrutiny.” The court is finding fault with the process of developing the new policy. In dissent, Judge Pierre Leval stressed the "the deference courts must give to the reasoning of a duly authorized administrative agency": "The commission’s position is not irrational; it is not arbitrary and capricious.”
The case involved findings that the networks had violated the indecency rules for comments by Cher and Nicole Richie on the Billboard Music Awards, the use of expletives by the character Andy Sipowicz on “NYPD Blue” and a comment on “The Early Show” by a contestant from CBS’s reality show “Survivor.”
So Bono opened the door and now every nitwit celebrity and reality show half-celebrity will be saying "f*ck" on the slightest provocation. The networks say it's up to you to decide what shows to watch, so... good luck figuring out what to let your kids watch.

40 comments:

paul a'barge said...

I have no problem with that. I have a special "favorites" menu for the children, built to eliminate just about everything but cartoons.

Current media no longer has an educational component anyway.

Josh said...

Jack Rudolph and Wilson White are vindicated!

MadisonMan said...

It's a curious thing -- my TV comes with an on/off switch and a channel selector. If I don't like what I'm watching, I can change the channel or turn the thing off. I don't understand why The Government should exercise any control.

FCC Indecency rules are built for parents who are too lazy to monitor their children's TV watching, and these parents want a Govt Nanny to do it so their kids' poor ears aren't scalded by words that their Sainted Politicians are using anyway.

Smilin' Jack said...

The networks say it's up to you to decide what shows to watch, so... good luck figuring out what to let your kids watch.

Yes, this is very upsetting. Parents have the right and responsibility to teach their kids to say "f*ck," and we musn't allow television to usurp that vital role.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

I'm curious MM (as a father myself) how you monitor what your children are exposed to 24/7?

How do you control what they watch when at a friends house? How about a friend of a friend? How about in the car with a friend's parent?

How about in their room? No TV or even radio?

How about when they are alone with the TV?

Unless you are with them 24/7 (not the best for the child in my opinion) you cannot control their every action.

You can control what comes into your house through the cable, but not over the air (one more reason I don't have cable), and these rules have nothing to do with lazy, but with use of the public airwaves.

I can tell, if this ruling stands it will be time to pull teh plug on broadcast TV and fire up the VCR when I want to watch a little tube.

AJD said...

now every nitwit celebrity and reality show half-celebrity will be saying "f*ck" on the slightest provocation.

Hey, it beats posting a sick picture of a bloody chipmunk!!

MadisonMan said...

We control what the kids watch in a variety of ways. The one (old) TV is in the (cold, damp, mostly unfinished) basement. We don't have cable and the TV gets lousy reception, although the daughter can still use it to watch Greys Anatomy, the single show she watches. We expect them to avoid expletives, and lead by example. I don't think hearing someone say f*ck, or seeing a nipple or a penis on TV, is going to impact their lives one iota. The one computer is upstairs in the common area outside my bedroom.

How about in the car with a friend's parent? What? Who watches a screen in a car when driving around town in Madison? When my daughter is with her friends in a car, they are way too busy chattering to watch anything (and I learn all sorts of things by eavesdropping). Do people honestly watch TV in a car? What a wretched lifestyle!

Anyway, why should public airwaves differ from what you see in public?

Theo Boehm said...

Anyone remember Frank Zappa's "I'm the Slime?"

We have 10 and just-turned-13-year-old boys, and we've solved the TV problem in two ways:

1.  Like MM, we don't have cable.  Scratchy, line-filled over-the-air will do for us.  The kids will put up with it for sports and not much else.

2.  We don't have time.  By the time the kids get through with Karate, baseball, basketball, kayaking, piano lessons, violin lessons, trumpet lessons, singing in the church choir, chess, chores when we can get them to do them, and, oh yes, heavy homework, they're happy to sink exhausted into their beds.

The screen time they do have is either on the computer (positioned in the house similarly to what MM describes), watching approved movies on DVD, or a limited amount with a Playstation.

It's amazing how smart they're turning out to be.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

This ruling doesn't just cover TV, but radio as well, so I was referring to listening to radio in a car or in their bedroom.

I have to admit to being a bit of a hypocrite on this in many ways.

I don't believe in most government regulation, especially those that are 'for the children', but this is one I do believe in.

I can limit what my children are exposed to in only so many ways, especially when it comes to electronic media. They are not allowed on the internet unsupervised, their CD collections are subject to inspection and confiscation and I do not have cable.

Over the air, both TV and radio, are only nominally under my control, especially radio. Is it too much to ask that air waves be free from the 'anything goes' policies that control more controlable media?

Revenant said...

Can we have a reality check, here? Your kids aren't learning profanity from TV, they're learning it from adults and other children that they encounter in everyday life.

Fifty years ago, maybe a case could have been made that a broadcast f-bomb was exposing a lot of kids to words they didn't otherwise hear. Today -- unless you're raising your kids in some kind of freaky homeschool fallout shelter away from human contact -- they're going to hear those words while they're still in the single digits, age-wise. There's a decent chance they'll hear them by first grade, from other kids who heard the words from their parents or siblings.

Your job as a parent is to teach them not to use those words themselves, not to keep them from hearing them in the first place. The latter option is an impossibility.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Revenant, its not about hearing them, but condoning them.

You're right, I have no doubt that any of my children heard the 'f' bomb 6 times on the way to school everyday.

The problem is legitimizing it by consciously allowing it in my home through the electronic media.

If I don't have the security of knowing I can turn on any broadcast show between certain hours and have them be free of prurience, then my only option is to prescreen everything or watch nothing.

MadisonMan said...

I was referring to listening to radio in a car or in their bedroom.

Ah, that makes more sense.

The daughter is not a radio-listener in the car, too busy chattering. She does listen to this station in the morning. I don't know what kind of content is on Z104 -- it's harmless teen dreck radio that I won't listen to, as far as I can tell -- but she does know that if she starts using profanity, her parents won't put up with it.

Theo Boehm said...

It's interesting how many of us don't have cable.  Althouse may write about pop-culture TV, but it doesn't mean her middle-aged male readers are watching it.  Our families avert their eyes as well.

Of course you can't keep kids in a cocoon.  We're pretty sure the stuff they're exposed to at friends houses isn't total garbage, and it won't kill them to get a little dose of mainstream pop culture, even in its vulgar forms.  And, yes, in agreement with MM, listening to Z104, or Kiss108 where we are, won't kill them.  Their musical tastes are growing more sophisticated, and we'll be off dreck soon enough.

Personally, I would just like the content of popular culture to be a little less crude.  When I was a kid, we could all sit down and watch any evening TV show.  Now, even network shows need to be vetted for young kids.  We've solved the problem by not watching.

The kids are developing their value systems.  If all goes well, they'll know garbage when they encounter it, and they'll know what's worthwhile and what isn't.  It's called teaching right from wrong.  It's just that the world seems to support it less than ever.

Christy said...

This middle aged female doesn't have cable either. I get the shows that sound good a year later from Netflix. Or, speaking of f-bombs, in the case of Battlestar Galactica, I download the next day from iTunes. How stupid is it that I am offended by foul language but find BG's "frakking" okay? Although not nearly as charming as Farscape's "frelling."

Pogo said...

Somehow I don't see how Americans were any less free in the 1950s and 1970s when thier TV lacked the words f*ck and sh*t said every 2 seconds. Conversely, I don't see how citizens are now more free because they can turn every station into a verbal cesspool.

So the only option is no TV it appears. Great. I can't select my cable options to exclude channels that must say f*ck. And in my town, no cable? No reception. And radio is just as free to say f*ck this and f*ck that with impugnity.

What a spectacular advance for society. The idea that somehow all of this will bounce off little Janey because Mums and Poppy Don't Allow Swearing is quaint, but unlikely, and almost pointless given the sheer numbers beind all the f*ckers.

Do you really believe the prevailing cultural ethos has no effect on you or others, that it really doesn't matter if the mainstream embraces swearing over against being polite? That's delusional.

Nevertheless, I don't believe any mere law would be useful here. Downward mobility and barbarism are the overwhelming modern cultural imperatives. And those who think politeness and decorum make people better, well apparently they can go f*ck themselves.

Christy said...

Oh, and speaking of public obscenity, have you guys seen the new London 2012 Olympic Logo? Dreadful to my non-artistic eye, but even worse after someone pointed out the crude interpretation which is only enhanced by the accompanying video.

Revenant said...

The problem is legitimizing it by consciously allowing it in my home through the electronic media.

But what you've been arguing is that you can't monitor what your kids are exposed to 24/7. That's a completely different issue -- if your kids watch something while you're not around, that doesn't "legitimize" it.

Revenant said...

Somehow I don't see how Americans were any less free in the 1950s and 1970s when thier TV lacked the words f*ck and sh*t said every 2 seconds.

From a freedom perspective it is obvious that those are are censored are less free than those who are not, so there's nothing worth discussing there.

From a quality perspective, the 1950s and 1960s were an era of utter crap. You can count on one hand the number of shows from that era that continue to be worth watching, plus perhaps another double-handful from the 1970s. There are more than that number of excellent shows on television *today*, which is of course exactly what you'd expect when you don't have to get your stories approved by government bureaucrats.

So the only option is no TV it appears. Great.

Yes, Pogo -- when you don't like what's on TV, you don't watch it. That's how freedom works. You don't send the government to force people to air the kind of pablum you like to watch.

Besides, what exactly are you bitching about anyway? Much of the mindless G-rated fare of the 50s, 60s, and 70s is still available for viewing. Go ahead and watch Father Knows Best until your brains dribble out your ears -- nobody's stopping you.

nick danger said...

That's a completely different issue -- if your kids watch something while you're not around, that doesn't "legitimize" it.

Of course it can. Kids don't just learn how to behave from their parents alone. They learn by observing other adults and prominent figures.

Suppose your parents taught you that bicycle-riding is evil. But you see images of other people riding bicycles, other people accepting the riding of bicycles, and no particular social stigma against bicycle riders. How long do you suppose you will believe your parents that bicycle riding is evil?

Pogo said...

Re: "what exactly are you bitching about anyway?"

That our freedoms are devolvong into the right to say f*ck off while those who enjoyed the right to be left alone by people who have to say f*ck all the time is continually abridged. Why not similarly claim that people p*ssing, sh*tting, or f*cking in the street is my problem, and preventing their behavior is making us all less free?

Libertinism isn't the same as liberty.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

If I accept TV and radio as resources I have legitimized them and whatever they spew. Whether I am there or not their influnce has been given the seal of approval.

Granted, younger children may not consider a difference between Cable and Broadcast, but any child that young should not be with with anyone unfamiliar with my standards anyway.

I also don't agree there are more shows with classsic value on air today than there were 20, 30 or 50 years ago. Only time will prove which one of us is right, but I'm sure betting 'Andy Griffith' will be around long after 'Friends' is a forgotten piece of trivia.

Revenant said...

If I accept TV and radio as resources I have legitimized them and whatever they spew.

Only if you're not a good parent. My parents were smart enough to teach my siblings and I that just because something is on television doesn't mean it is appropriate for kids to watch it. If you're not, why's that the government's problem? If you're unwilling to put forth that minimum of effort, get rid of your television.

I also don't agree there are more shows with classsic value on air today than there were 20, 30 or 50 years ago.

I can't think of any shows from the 50s or 60s that deserve to be called "classic", except in the sense that "classic books" are "books everybody says nice things about and nobody wants to read". You can call "Andy Griffith" a "classic show", for example, but that doesn't change the fact that it gets its butt kicked in the ratings by reruns of "Friends", "Cheers", and "Seinfeld".

From this year *alone*, "Heroes", "Battlestar Galactica", "Sopranos", "24", and "Lost" are better than anything that aired on television during its entire pre-80s history. Those are shows with things like "plot" and "character development" -- artistic features notably absent from the strictly-episodic first few decades of prime time TV.

I'm sure betting 'Andy Griffith' will be around long after 'Friends' is a forgotten piece of trivia.

The Andy Griffith show is one of the handful of good shows of its era, but you need to face facts -- it is *already* a forgotten piece of trivia for anyone under 30, and a generation from now will simply be "forgotten".

Revenant said...

That our freedoms are devolvong into the right to say f*ck off while those who enjoyed the right to be left alone by people who have to say f*ck all the time is continually abridged.

No, Pogo -- our rights are "devolving" into the right to say what we want to without the approval of government bureaucrats.

If you have a problem with that, look for a home in the Democratic Party.

Theo Boehm said...

I suppose in my more depressive moments I feel as Pogo does.  I was putting what I think is a healthy, positive spin on the situation in my last comment in order not to offend.  Nothing will get people more angry than to suggest some defect in our culture other than the ones they prefer.  They will go on and on about social evils, real or imagined, but will turn into veritable Dr. Panglosses when you suggest some problem outside their ambit.  Vicious Dr. Panglosses, at that.

Not wishing to be attacked by the usual suspects, I was trying to project an image of a relaxed but Concerned Parent.  Some days, though, I feel like a Desperate Parent.

Now, other than everyone being able to watch everything on TV, I make no great brief for everything about popular culture of the 50's, 60's , or, God forbid, the 70's.  After all, it did produce us, and that's indictment enough

However, not only am I a Concerned Parent, but an Older Parent.  I can remember quite clearly a lot of TV from the 50's, and, in my opinion, it was on average only slightly worse than modern TV.  I'm talking only about network television, as it wouldn't be fair to compare something so unique and brilliant as the Sopranos with practically anything in the 50's.  It was a different landscape.

Those people who wish to characterize 1950's television should be at least in their mid-50's, and have seen it when they had wit enough to understand it.  It's possible to look at all the DVD-d shows in the world, but unless you actually watched TV then, you will just not have a feel for the reality of it.  Plus a lot of interesting material, such as most of Jack Paar's old Tonight Show, has simply vanished.

The worst of modern network TV is so much more vulgar and crude than anything in the 50's.  The stupidity level is comparable, though.  The best modern TV is much better than any but the very best shows in the 50's or 60's.  There were, however, brilliant things that we can only dream of today.

Here are a few examples from the 50's and 60's I remember:

1.  Billie Holliday and Coleman Hawkins together on live TV.

2.  Ernie Kovaks in a Hawaiian shirt, puffing a cigar, introducing a tableau vivant done to Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, played by a live orchestra.

3.  Project XX. (History Channel material)

4.  Harvest of Shame. (Well, maybe it could be done now, but it would have quick cuts and all be George Bush's fault)

5.  Jack Paar on any night, especially with Oscar Levant.

6.  The Twilight Zone.

7.   And, yes, the episode of Father Knows Best, where the Elinore Donahue character falls in love with an Air Force pilot at the local air base, and he makes a flyover of her house in his F-94 on his way to Germany.  Sentimental tearjerker, but not bad near-cinema quality photography and good acting.

8.  Oh, and Groucho Marx.

That was network television, folks.

Revenant said...

I'm talking only about network television, as it wouldn't be fair to compare something so unique and brilliant as the Sopranos with practically anything in the 50's. It was a different landscape.

It is entirely fair, because it illustrates the exact point being made by the opponents of censorship. The broadcast networks have vastly more money to work with than HBO does, and despite that they produce inferior fare. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to spot the one and *only* advantage that HBO has -- it doesn't need government script approval. It doesn't live in constant fear of massive fines if it offends the Pogos and Rednecks of the world.

There is a simple, direct relationship -- as government censorship relaxes, TV quality improves. The least-censored channels are the best, the most-censored the worst (adjustments based on the budgets of the shows, of course).

Pogo said...

Theo,

I like your spin on it, and find much to recommend in its remaining positive. I try to do so with my kids. And we talk about what is and isn't right, and what our family ethos demands.

At times it feels like I'm fighting a losing battle, however. Two years ago I had to explain to my 18 year old daughter why, No, she couldn't go to a co-ed sleepover party after the prom.

Problem was, my kid seemed to be the only one so disallowed. Same thing with swearing. What used to serve as an example of boorish, stupid, and maybe even evil behavior is now the norm.

More, refusing to capitulate somehow makes me part of the government jackboot brigade.

P.S. Harvest of Shame was a TV show?

Wade Garrett said...

Althouse writes as if parents have a right to let the federal government raise their children for them. We had cable and HBO the entire time I was growing up, but my parents told me there were certain shows I couldn't watch, and I followed their orders until I was in high school and had been exposed to most of that stuff, anyway.

The FCC is now full of cheap political hacks whose previous jobs were often with Christianist "family research" organizations. They take their FCC jobs with an agenda, and will fight like hell to obtain more power for themselves. Of course, they threw in a jab against "New York judges" because they hate Jews, blacks, liberals, big cities, and coasties, in no particular order. People in Kansas and Wyoming are just so much more sensible, right? Right?

I don't understand how, for decades and decades, people could say "making whoopee," and mean "having sex," and that's perfectly okay for our children to hear, but when a startled person says "oh, fuck" or a soldier in Saving Private Ryan says "fuck!" as he ducks for cover, that is somehow going to cause them irreperable damage. What a bunch of baloney.

Ann Althouse said...

You know, generally, I'm against censorship. I cheered when I saw this opinion. But I can pinpoint the words that made me tip the other way: "Cher and Nicole Richie."

Pogo said...

Wade,
The Disappearance of Childhood by Neil Postman covers the distinction quite well. He argues that we are returning to medieval times, when there was no distinct chidhood at all, and all things were visible to even the youngest.

It can be argued that such exposure is not harmful, but it is inconsistent with several centuries of societal structure and cumulative experience that found otherwise. The continuous disregard for such tradition is a lamentable feature of social liberals. They do not seem to recognize how being able to say f*ck everywhere will, like any broken windows phenomenon, lead inexorably downward, until we are all forced to tolerate copulation in the hallways. (oh noooo it won't, they say)

But if it does, how could you possibly object? What's wrong with you that you oppose such a natural act. Are you a jackboot, too?

Dewave said...

The decision, by a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, was a sharp rebuke for the F.C.C. and for the Bush administration.

Now if only it was a sharp rebuke for the RIAA too it would be just about the best Second Circuit court decision ever.

Parents have an easy solution for bad language on TV: don't let your kids watch TV at all, or change the channel.

Uncontrolled and unmonitored TV watching can be harmful for children in a multitude of ways, and swearing/course language is probably the least damaging of them, long term. They'll pick up that language somewhere or other anyway. I can safely say my childhood would only have been improved with less TV watching, but that it wouldn't have been unimproved much at all by more course language on the TV shows we did watch.

I can limit what my children are exposed to in only so many ways

The goal of parenting is not to limit your children's exposure to nastiness but give them the tools and critical thinking ability they need to figure out how to handle exposure to these things.

The 'limiting exposure' stage should be over fairly quickly (certainly before the first teen years) because you soon lose the ability to control the kids movements and activities. They *will* be exposed to these things, often much earlier than you think, just from their friends and peers.

If I accept TV and radio as resources I have legitimized them and whatever they spew.

Funny. Growing up, my parents made it clear that certain channels were ok to watch and certain channels were not ok to watch. Moreover, on certain channels, certain shows would be deemed acceptable and others were deemed to be crap not worth watching, and thus, we wouldn't spend time watching them.

It's just like a library, really. Some books are ok for the kids to read, and some are not (at least until they are older). You don't ban all library trips for your kids because there are some adult sex position books there.

Wade Garrett said...

Pogo,

You enormously exaggerate the slippery slope. People my parents' age were raised in an era when television couldn't show a pregnant woman, and had to show that married couples slept in seperate beds. Furthermore, you couldn't do anything that remotely suggested that a criminal was in any way sympathetic. That offends me, and I'm a couple of months away from starting a job as an assistant district attorney. Its hypocricy. You can only sugar coat things so much. A really, really big part of the turmoil of the 1960s and 1970's was in reaction to the forced, ant-like conformity of the 1950's.

I, for one, like my television to reflect real-life. The shows in questions are broadcast at night, when most children have at least one parent at home, and most of the offending shows are on cable, which parents have to specifically choose to pay for.

So what's the big deal?

ShadyCharacter said...

We have the power to please both the socially responsible and the libertines, I mean libertarians.

End broadcast TV. End broadcast radio. Force cable companies to unbundle. Let people choose what channels they want to buy...

Society would improve overnight. MTV (not that anyone watches anymore anyway apparently) would be among the first casualties, followed by most other objectionable non-G rated entertainment aimed at youth.

Wade Garrett said...

"You know, generally, I'm against censorship. I cheered when I saw this opinion. But I can pinpoint the words that made me tip the other way: 'Cher and Nicole Richie.'"

Personal animus against individual plaintiffs as a way to shape a nation's social policy! Who's a great Constitutional Law scholar?

liam665 said...

It seems that a lot of previous commenters are missing the point of this decision. F*ck, sh*t, etc. continue to be considered "indecent" by the FCC and are thus banned during the "safe harbor" of 6-10 when children are likely to be in the audience.

What this case is about is whether the "fleeting expletive" by itself makes the networks liable for a forfeiture. This isn't about censorship, per se, but rather about the conditions under which the FCC can impose penalties (fines, loss of license, etc.).

The legal regime under which this case was argued was a "nuisance" rationale. The FCC failed to show that exposure to a fleeting expletive was a nuisance rising to the level where a penalty would be justified.

Thus Pogo's comparison to actual sh*tting on his/her street is irrelevant, since the nuisance of such an act is easily justified in a way that merely saying "sh*t" is not.

Finally, although I agree entirely with the Court's ruling, there is another way in which cries of "censorship" are out of place in this discussion. Broadcasters use the licenses at our (i.e. the public's) pleasure, and if the public (through Congress and the FCC) decides that saying "sh*t" is not in the public interest, those broadcasters who do not wish to abide by those rules are welcome to relinquish their licenses and do something else for a living. Broadcasters' First Amendment rights are very tenuous, and the Supreme Court ruled in the Red Lion case that the public's interests, not the broadcasters' interests, are paramount.

Ann Althouse said...

Wade, it's not personal animus against the plaintiffs! It's the recognition that TV will be filled with idiots who blurt out "f*ck" constantly for no reason at all.

Revenant said...

It can be argued that such exposure is not harmful, but it is inconsistent with several centuries of societal structure and cumulative experience that found otherwise.

Several centuries? Try one generation. The Boomers were the only ones raised in a protective bubble, and we all know how THAT turned out.

My grandfather was in the workforce dealing with truckers and construction workers -- men not known for their delicate sensibilities and refined language -- by the time he was a teenager. My other grandparents, as children of blue-collar, depression-era workers, were in a similar situation. They didn't have innocent daisies-and-fluffy-bunnies childhoods.

Revenant said...

End broadcast TV. End broadcast radio. Force cable companies to unbundle. Let people choose what channels they want to buy...

First of all broadcast TV has already "ended" for almost everyone in America. Cable is the norm, even among the poor.

Secondly, any customer of Time Warner or Cox cable (and probably most other cable providers) can easily block any offensive channels -- although obviously anyone who expects the FCC to do their parenting for them is likely to be too lazy to take this simple step.

Thirdly, the effect of forcing cable companies to offer each channel individually will be to destroy most of the family-friendly and educational channels that survive solely because they come bundled with basic cable packages. If The History Channel had to rely on people specifically subscribing to it, it'd be dead -- another casualty of socialist meddling in the free market.

You people need to get a grip. There's stuff on TV that offends me every bit as much as the f-word offends you -- "The 700 Club", for example, is poisonous filth that I wouldn't want any child exposed to, least of all one of my own. You just need to accept the fact that you're here to guide your children, not program them within a hermetically-sealed environment.

Pogo said...

Re: "You enormously exaggerate the slippery slope."
Really.
"Later on, Akon would have his way with the petite young lady: turning, twisting and even flipping her body, while mimicking sexual positions and acts all over the stage for three consecutive rounds."

"remotely suggested that a criminal was in any way sympathetic. That offends me, and I'm a couple of months away from starting a job as an assistant district attorney."
It offends you? You're going to be a DA, you "like my television to reflect real-life", and you think TV should make criminals sympathetic? I understand part of your job is to do precisely the opposite against the criminals you face, in real life. Good luck on the conviction rate.

"A really, really big part of the turmoil of the 1960s and 1970's was in reaction to the forced, ant-like conformity of the 1950's."
It's insulting to an entire generation of people, many of whom fought in WW2 to be accused of being "ant-like". In contrast, why not argue that the boomers were decidedly ant-like in their mindless copying of every stupid cultural fad for their entire existence?

"...and most of the offending shows are on cable, which parents have to specifically choose to pay for."
You must have a special cable distributor that permits you to select only the channels you want, rather than a choice of 1 to 3 'bundles' of stations. Come to think of it, that deal doesn't yet exist in the US. Where are you anyway?

Revenant said...

"Later on, Akon would have his way with the petite young lady: turning, twisting and even flipping her body, while mimicking sexual positions and acts all over the stage for three consecutive rounds."

Oh, please -- Errol Flynn did worse 70 years ago and escaped with less punishment. Also, could you clarify what an event that took place in a nightclub in a foreign country has to do with television and radio standards in America? And how it represents a "slippery slope"?

You must have a special cable distributor that permits you to select only the channels you want, rather than a choice of 1 to 3 'bundles' of stations. Come to think of it, that deal doesn't yet exist in the US.

As I already noted, much (if not most) of the US can arrange to block any offensive channels easily.

But I doubt you'll notice this, since you tend to go autistic once you've been proven wrong.

The Exalted said...

pogo,

as always, your posts are full of strawmen and shifting goalposts.

good show.

ps: i agree, not penalizing passing utterances of the f-bomb on the golden globes will destroy children. and will start us down the slippery slope to man on dog chaos.