The Week on indecency
: I’m at The Week event on indecency and media and I’ll blog first, clean up later…
: Bill Maher says Americans “really like bad words, they like to see some skin, they like titillation.”
: Maher on Janet Jackson: The country is freaking out after “that one blurry black tit.” At the same time, they have accepted 2,500 vacation trips from those they should regulate and that’s what’s obscene.
: Michele Malkin says she’s more concerned about political correctness: Her editors X out “illegal alien.”
: Arianna turns it into Iraq: “Obscenity is invading a country….” Yeah, yeah, yeah. Maher later accuses her of entering into her stump speech.
: Maher says that “if a lot of people like pornography, that is community.” Thus that is the communiy standard. Harry Evans asks him: “Do you have any standards at all?”
: John Gibson says he’s a friend of pornographer Mitchell (an old San Francisco connection) and it’s fine if people have it — but broadcast is different.
: Evans, the moderator, brought a whistle to blog off the dirty words.
: Arianna starts to make fun of Gibson for joining FoxNews and changing. Gibson: “I remember a different Arianna, too.”
: Harry asks are sexual words damaging and dangerous? Gibson says people shouldn’t have to hear it in their living rooms. Maher says, “You say it as if we’re in an Orwellian world where they’re watching it on TV and they can’t get away from it. They’re watching it on purpose.”
: Maher: “I have never in my life listened to a shock jock. The only time I have heard Howard Stern was when I was on his show and that was too much.”
: Arianna says we’re paying too much attention to indecency and too little to 9/11.
: Harry asks whether Maher is opposed to Stern being dropped. “Yes, and I hate him,” is his answer.
: Maher: “Can we put away these silly old chestnuts. The other one is that the public owns the airwaves. Rupert Murdoch owns the airwaves.”
: Harry turns to political correctness and censorship. Malkin says she is “concerned about the use of civility as a club to censor speech on campus.” Example: The affirmative action bake sales on campuses that have been shut down. “That is what I am more worried about.” Newspapers will take out “illegal alien” because it is “insensitive.”
: Maher: “The biggest threat of censorship is on college campuses. They are out of control…. The kids today. Somebody needs to slap them. They do not understand what free speech is. And it’s coming from the left….” He tells a story of speaking at Smith and a student who walked out of watching the final episode of Ellen because it was boring was threatened with being thrown off of campus for a “hate crime.”
: Arianna says she things The Swan is the absolute bottom but she would not want it banned because then someone would try not to show her the pictures from Abu Ghraib.
: Gibson raises the Nick Berg video — showing Abu Ghraib but not Berg. Maher: “I’ve never been so proud as an American … that our torture is better than their torture.”
: Gibson: “As Tom Brokaw said about 9/11, we didn’t exploit the day. We sanitized it.”
: Gibson: “I don’t know if I”m supposed to tell this. I almost got kicked off the air in Great Britain.” He said it’s illegal to express an opinion on broadcast. Not sure what he means….
: Malkin: “Those Abu Ghraib pictures were journalistic pornography.” She says that if you ask a journalist to report on the details of partial-birth abortion “they all of a sudden get too delicate.”
: Karen Finley does a moment of performance art from the lead table. She acts as if “orange alert” is an orgasm. Hadda be here….
: Maher on Abu Ghraib photos: “Those pictures are very gay. When you’re staring at a gigantic table of man-ass, that is over the rainbow Will & Grace… I don’t think Donald Rumsfeld should step down, he should come out.”
: Maher says there shouldn’t be such a thing as a “hate crime. That’s a thought crime.” Crimes, he says, don’t come out of love.
: Sue Elicot (sp?) of Air Amerca (the one with the British accent) says the station is pushing the envelope? How? “Anti-political correctness.” Really?
: Ashleigh Banfield says that she did complain about Michael Savage, who called her a slut and news whore. The complaint went nowhere.
: Michael Fuchs, ex head of HBO, scolds them: “None of you has mentioned the First Amendment.” I applaud.
: Karen says, “We have to live with offensive speech.” Amen.
: Maher says MTV is worse. It teaches children to be narcissitic and shallow.
: I stood up to complain about the chill government creates. You’ve heard it before. I’ll spare you.
: Arianna: “Can we please be outraged by something real rather than Janet Jackson’s friggin’ boob.” She says “boob” with a cute accent.
: Monica Crowley complains about the lack of uniform standards. She used to be for the rules until she got her own radio show. “Everything is so subjective.” She stopped herself from saying “bitch” yesterday.
Maher: “What she’s saying is that the definition of a liberal is a conservative who’s just been censored, if I may paraphrase that.”
: Maher brags: “I went on the Tonight Show in 1993 and said the words ‘sucks.’ No one had ever said the word sucks before… They went apeshit backstage. Three days later, Johnny said ‘sucks.”