The Daily Stern: The __ word
: I went to a local school play this weekend and late into act I, one of the actors — apparently unaware that his mike was open — said during a moment of surprise onstage, “oh, my _______ God.”
It was as if a ghost flew over the audience as principals and parents alike uttered an almost inaudible gasp, a blow-to-the-crotch grunt.
OK, so the kid did something he certainly should not have done. But you know what? The world didn’t fall apart. Grandmas did not swoon. Little brothers and sisters did not go racing into the street __ word.
It’s just a word. And I noted the irony of the FCC’s efforts to stomp it out: Here the word was uttered by a child. Now you might say that’s just why the FCC is trying ot protect him from it. But he didn’t learn that word from broadcast or any publication hoping to get on the shelf at Walmart; he got it surely from another kid. And it’s no big _______ deal.
We have gone insane thinking that one word and corrupt the nation and that the government should protect us from it, fining and even relinquishing the licenses of broadcasters who dare let it be uttered. How _______ absurd. How offensive to our constitutional souls that is.
This is like the bizarro version of Orwell’s 1984, when government does not create the words we must utter but instead creates a secret list of the words we must not utter: Newnewspeak.
: And today The NY Times reports on some of the many absurd, offensive incidents of broadcasters censoring themselves because they don’t know what the government may or may not fine:
+ Masterpiece Theater for the first time desalinizes salty British language.
+ An Indianapolis station bleeped “urinate,” “damn,” and “orgy” out of Rush Limbaugh’s show!
+ Stations have stopped airing Elton John’s “The Bitch is Back” and the Rolling Stones’ “Bitch.”
+ PBS considered excising a scene in the Antiques Road Show that showed a picture of a nude Marilyn Monroe.
+ Last week, WABC bleeped “parachute” because the host mispronounced the “u” sound with an “i” sound.
What’s just as absurd is that the Times goes out of its way not to define any of these words or even use the first letter. We can’t even say __ word anymore.
Just whom are we protecting from what — and at what price?
: MEET THE NANNIES: The LA Times does a long profile of the Parents Television Council, the self-appointed nanny council started by the frightening Brent Bozell.
“They are, in a large way, setting the agenda at the FCC,” says Robert Corn-Revere, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who is working to undo the council’s victory regarding the Bono decision. Corn-Revere represents a coalition of broadcasters and free-speech activists