Posts about Howard_Stern

F— G-d

Doing some research for a Reliable Sources segment I’m supposed to do this Sunday about George Carlin and his dirty words, I went to Google Trends and found this fascinating tidbit:

* Google searches for “fuck” and “God” are consistently equivalent.

fgodgoog

When news of George Carlin’s death came out, however, searches for “Carlin” beat both by a factor of three.

* Search Google for his dirty words and you’ll find 31 million references for “bullshit,” 237 for “fuck,” and 671 million for “God.”

I’ll remind you that “bullshit” is political speech. And the internet is the First Amendment. George Carlin will die but his seven dirty words never will.

F the FCC: The internet as interstate

At PDF, I ask Vint Cerf — who said the FCC should die — to zero-base what government should or must do: regulation, incentive, investment. He launches onto a nice riff on roads and whether we should consider the internet to be a road — on which we chose what vehicles to drive — and so it becomes a government utility. Andrew Rasiej (playing Oprah in the audience) says that in the 1800s, people were dying from bad water in New York and so the city government spent billions buying a government-run aquaduct system and New York became the industrial and financial capital of the world. In the analogy, water trucks bear the logos of Time Warner, Comcast, and Verizon and they stop the pipes from being laid. Andrew wonders what would happen if internet access were declared a civil right.

Yeah, Vint

At PDF, Andrew Rasiej asks Vin Cerf for the one thing we need to do to advance the internet. His answer: Kill the FCC. I applauded.

Do as I do, not as I say

Wonderful story in today’s Times on using Google data to show what we’re really interested in: more orgies than apple pie. The peg is an obscenity trial in Florida in which the defense attorney demonstrates through Google Trends data that there are more searches for group sex than for recipes. And so, if you truly want to see the community standards that define obscenity we’ll know when we see it, then don’t listen to our preaching but to our searching.

Marketers have always known this. Back when I was at People, we’d test covers of Diane Sawyer in a suit vs. Brooke Shields in a bathing suit and in person, people would say they’d buy the former but on their own, in the newsstand, they, of course, bought the latter. Behavior trumps opinion.

And now we have so many more ways to know what the market is really doing, what the people are really thinking: Google, Flickr, Amazon…. That is the key value of the internet and companies on it: collected knowledge.

And so yesterday, as the nation mourned George Carlin, it’s a wonderful thing to look at the uses of his seven dirty words on Twitter and in blogs, our views of him saying them on YouTube, and — as I’m sure we’ll see in a few days — our searches on Google and purchases on Amazon. There, FCC, is the best evidence of our community standards. Actions speak more truthfully than words.

Give us our airwaves

I have an op-ed in the NY Post today supporting Google’s call to free up the white spaces between TV channels for, in the words of Larry Page, “wi-fi on steroids.” Snippet:

The government shouldn’t be protecting the entrenched interests and faltering business models of legacy industries like broadcast, cable and phone. Instead, the FCC should be encouraging competition in the marketplace and sparking innovation – especially in an arena so critical to the strategic health of the American economy.

And shouldn’t the FCC be standing up for the consumer, helping to get everyone better service at a lower cost? I vote with Google on this.

In fact, why don’t we just hand the government over to Google? It’s already organizing our knowledge and taking charge of whole industries. It’d likely do a better job of governing than all the bureaucrats in Washington.

F the FCC

Note that the FCC’s empty case against Fox and the FCC continues as Fox refuses to pay a fine for improper use of whipped cream. This was the basis of my FOIA and exclusive reporting that only three complaints led to what was then the largest FCC fine in history. Public outcry, my ass.

At the same time, note that the Supreme Court is hearing the case of the FCC and fleeting expletives. The Times editorial page warns of the danger.

The F.C.C.’s rationale for its fleeting expletives policy is indeed thin. It claimed it was only trying to reflect community standards. But there is scant evidence that the public is up in arms about an occasional coarse word. The words the commission finds so offensive, and so in need of punishment, are the sort commonly heard in PG-rated movies and walking down the street.

The stakes in this case are much higher than whether awards shows can air a few bad words. The F.C.C. has used its new policy to turn itself into a roving censorship board.

Breasts are not bad

Yes, the country sure has fallen to hell since 2003 wouldn’t you say: naked people on the street, wild sex everywhere, young children sold into sexual slavery in once-quiet suburbs. Yes, we were corrupted as a country back then by the nanosecond flash of a breast and a butt.

Good God, I hate the FCC and its interference in speech and culture.

They’ve gone and done it again with a fine against ABC for a flash of T&A on NYPD Blue five years ago.

The description of the scene by the FCC is more lewd and lascivious than the scene itself; it is written as if by a dirty old man:

[A] woman wearing a robe is shown entering a bathroom, closing the door, and then briefly looking at herself in a mirror hanging above a sink. The camera then shows her crossing the room, turning on the shower, and returning to the mirror. With her back to the camera, she removes her robe, thereby revealing the side of one of her breasts and a full view of her back. The camera shot includes a full view of her buttocks and her upper legs as she leans across the sink to hang up her robe. The camera then tracks her, in profile, as she walks from the mirror back toward the shower. Only a small portion of the side of one of her breasts is visible. Her pubic area is not visible, but her buttocks are visible from the side.

The scene shifts to a shot of a young boy lying in bed, kicking back his bed covers, getting up, and then walking toward the bathroom. The camera cuts back to the woman, who is now shown standing naked in front of the shower, her back to the camera. The frame consists initially of a full shot of her naked from the back, from the top of her head to her waist; the camera then pans down to a shot of her buttocks, lingers for a moment, and then pans up her back. The camera then shifts back to a shot of the boy opening the bathroom door. As he opens the door, the woman, who is now standing in front of the mirror with her back to the door, gasps, quickly turns to face the boy, and freezes momentarily. The camera initially focuses on the woman’s face but then cuts to a shot taken from behind and through her legs, which serve to frame the boy’s face as he looks at her with a somewhat startled expression. The camera then jumps to a front view of the woman’s upper torso; a full view of her breasts is obscured, however, by a silhouette of the boy’s head and ears. After the boy backs out of the bathroom and shuts the door, the camera shows the woman facing the door, with one arm and hand covering her breasts and the other hand covering her pubic area. The scene ends with the boy’s voice, heard through the closed door, saying “sorry,” and the woman while looking embarrassed, responds, “It’s okay. No problem.”

This is the FCC’s “analysis:

As an initial matter, we find that the programming at issue is within the scope of our indecency definition because it depicts sexual organs and excretory organs – specifically an adult woman’s buttocks.” Although ABC argues, without citing any authority, that the buttocks are not a sexual organ, we reject this argument, which runs counter to both case law and common sense.

I’d say that the buttocks are not an organ. I’ll cite this definition from Oxford American: “a part of an organism that is typically self-contained and has a specific vital function, such as the heart or liver in humans.”

What’s offensive about this is the sexism of it: A woman’s butt is dirty and corrupting. A woman’s breast is obscene.

When will the women of America stand up and protest?

What is the moral difference between this and making women wear burkas?

But what’s really fun about this is that by calling the buttocks a sexual organ, as the FCC does, they are acknowledging that anal sex is sex.

The FCC says it received “a number” of complaints about this. They don’t even both saying what the number is anymore since that’s been shown (by me) to be meaningless. Though at least this time the FCC admitted that it received “letters from members of various citizen advocacy groups.” First Amendment spam, that is.

The government — no government — should be involved in restricting and regulating speech in any medium. Period.

Control freak pols v. the First Amendment

Seth at the Obstructionist [by the way, why don't people use their names? aren't blogs driven by ego?] makes a smartly proper parallel between two moves by control-freak politicians who want to manage our media: Mitt Romney wanting to put a V-chip in all our computers to wash our collective mouths out with soap and John Edwards wanting to stop the purchase of the Wall Street Journal because he doesn’t like the politics of the purchaser. They are, indeed, birds of a feather, even if they do not flock together: They want to control our media, what we read, what we own, what we say. That’s downright unAmerican.