Feeling the chill… in more ways than one

Feeling the chill… in more ways than one

: This is what the FCC’s censorship has brought: Rampant stupidity necessitated by stupid government. From the AP:

Fox says it covered up the naked rear end of a cartoon character recently because of nervousness over what the Federal Communications Commission will find objectionable.

The latest example of TV network self-censorship because of FCC concerns came a few weeks ago during a rerun of the “Family Guy” cartoon. Fox blurred out a character’s naked butt, even though the image was seen five years ago when the episode originally aired.

“We have to be checking and second-guessing ourselves now, and that’s really difficult,” Fox entertainment president Gail Berman said Monday. “We have to protect our affiliates.” …

PBS executives also said this weekend they will edit out a glimpse of a naked woman in a fictional account of a terrorist “dirty bomb” attack that will be aired next month after being shown first on HBO.

  • paul a’barge

    This is precisely the chill that many of us have been hoping for.
    Look, if you want porno-cartoons, please help yourself. Simply go rent them or watch them on cable.
    This stuff is going to be driven off the public airwaves and back to subscriber media where it belongs. And I’m doggone happy about it.

  • Hey Paul,
    Start with the assumption that Porn is the depiction of people with the intent to arouse other’s sexually. And then move to the idea that you seem to think this Family Guy episode (Which is frankly, hillarious) is Porn. Does this mean that an animated fat man’s naked butt is arousing to you? Is that why it bothers you so much?
    I’m sorry that it disturbs you, but if it does, then change the channel. That’s what the remote is for. And if you can’t find something better, then go out and rent Veggie Tales (the bible stories of course) and leave the rest of us to our funny cartoons. Ooops I mean porno-cartoons.
    -Shinobi of the nameless ones

  • That’s it, then. No cartoon butts on TV = the end of Western Civilization.
    Shinobi: I sympathize with you. I really do. I don’t like censorship in general. But in a larger sense, it is just plain wierd that people like you are campaigning for naked cartoon butts on TV. I can’t tell if it is because you are inexplicably put out by the prospect of not seeing naked cartoon butts on TV, like maybe you think that there was no other creative way for the writers of Family Guy to get their point across. But sometimes I think it is because you are inwardly amused by the fantasy that somewhere, sometime, there is a drooling Bible nut who is offended by the cartoon depiction of a naked cartoon butt on TV, so when he complains you can shout him down, “Just change the channel old man! Not my problem!”
    Really, I don’t like that the first amendment can be used to protect all kinds of pornography and such. But I live with it because the benefits of having a first amendment are so much greater than pornography can detract. But why do people like you insist on the onus being on us to change the channel when something offensive comes over the public airwaves? People like you should be forced to change the channel away from the public airwaves and people like you can go out and rent pornography if you like.
    And why do you insist on mixing it up with other forms of entertainment, like the Janet Jackson incident? I mean that’s just plain wierd. In the end, one has to admit that people like Paul are not the ones with the fetish. It’s people like you who appear to be suffering from exhibitionism by proxy!

  • Not to speak for Shinobi, but one reason I say it’s on you to turn the channel if you are offended is simply this- There is no Constitutional right to not be offended, but there is one ensuring our right to say whatever the hell we want.
    Also, I’m offended by the knee-jerk reaction of the easily offended to get government involved every time they’re offended. I thought Janet Jackson’s performance was stupid and tasteless, but I don’t think anyone that saw 2 seconds of titty was scarred for life. I don’t think naked cartoon ass qualifies as porn. And I REALLY don’t like the fact that an un-elected, un-Constitutional (in my opinion) government body can cow broadcasters into self-censorship based on vague, undefined rules of what might or not be deemed “indecent” by somebody with nothing better to do than complain to the FCC.

  • too many steves

    One of the reasons that the puppet sex scene in “Team America” is so fucking funny is that the puppets have no genitals! How can a cartoon be obscene? Well, we do have the historical evidence of “Fritz the Cat”. Good god, don’t these people have anything better to do?

  • Jim S

    Paul, your argument about driving it off the public airways would be more credible if there wasn’t also a movement to force it off of the pay channels.

  • Rootbeer

    “it is just plain wierd that people like you are campaigning for naked cartoon butts on TV.”
    You miss the point entirely. I do not campaign for naked cartoon butts on TV, or fart noises on morning radio, or any other specific form of expression that you may find tasteless.
    I campaign for our Constitutional right to speak without being censored by the government.
    If the speech is unfit for the public, let the broadcasters redact it of their own volition. If they won’t, let the public take it up with the broadcaster directly. No one, speaker or broadcaster, should be chilled from speaking (or drawing cartoon butts, or making fart noises) by the threat of ex post facto governmental censure.

  • Patrick

    Let me jiggle away from the current argument real quick. I could be wrong, but I could’ve sworn Peter’s butt was shown in its clarity during an episode just this past Sunday. And what about Homer’s classic butt?

  • ‘…a naked woman in a fictional account of a terrorist “dirty bomb” attack’ … ok, it’s a nude bomb?
    Would it be OK if kids could come home after school and watched a local affiliate piping in a live feed of the local strip club at 3pm in the afternoon? If there were no FCC, no oversight, what would prevent a corporate greedhead from serving such programming to a metro area 24/7?
    Oddly, we want oversight and regulations on every corporate greedhead but media corporate greedheads. In the name of nookie and titties (sorry, no, NOT art and freedom of speech, but nookie and titties), we make an exception for one breed of corporate greedhead.
    Wait, let me try this a different way: the gentleman liberal’s TV nookie — women, children, and minorities hardest hit.

  • vance

    the cartoon butt thing is just silly, but most sensible people would agree that some limits have to be drawn.
    Case in point:
    Face it: we all have lines in the sand. We just draw them in different places. You sound plain silly when you say that all lines are wrong.

  • Rootbeer and Richard:
    Two points:
    1. **Your** right to free speech is absolutely being abridged. **You** cannot broadcast on TV frequencies period. So your rights have been taken away by the FCC precisely so that some mega-corporation can make oodles of money by showing cartoon butts, and you’re OK with that? Why do you get hustled off to jail for broadcasting a pirate signal, but we all have to respect the “free speech rights” of corporate broadcasters? If the people want to create a market by enforcing certain rules through government sanction about who gets to broadcast, then broadcasting is a priveledge not a right, and they’re going to do it according to community standards.
    2. First amendment? No one is stopping anyone from showing a “cartoon butt” we’re just limiting where they can say it. Go to cable or internet. If anyone says those channels should be regulated the same way as TV, I agree they’re wrong.

  • As one of our Oklahoma bloggers (not I) tersely observed, “If Fox is so upset about assholes, why does Bill O’Reilly still have a job?”

  • I don’t particularly care if its a cartoon butt or someone licking whipped cream of someone else. I think American’s can decide for themselves what they want to watch. And if they don’t want to watch profanity or crazy cartoon antics then it wont be on TV anymory.
    But then the argument always turn to “what about the children, ooooo the children.” I hope that parents concerned about their children’s TV watching habits will invest in a V chip or other parental controls. (God knows, my parents did, I couldn’t watch MTV until I was 16, I missed all the good real worlds and now I’m in therapy.) Television is probably the easiest part of your child’s life to control, and they may not be happy about it it, but if you can’t say, “Hey kid, turn off the channel with the strippers on it” Then how are you going to talk to your kid about drugs and sex? Oh… I forgot, You’re not, you’re going to hope they cover everything in school.

  • Glyn

    Has anyone else noticed that Tom and Jerry are always shown naked? Or is that just me.

  • Shinobi:
    But then the argument always turn to “what about the children, ooooo the children.” I hope that parents concerned about their children’s TV watching habits will invest in a V chip or other parental controls.
    But that’s not good enough, apparently. You can watch the superbowl for 30 years and not have a problem, and then all of a sudden there are topless dancers. Unless your argument is that CBS should V-block the superbowl?
    Part of the problem is that the corporations that run the broadcasting industry have no consistency. What if you opened your box of Lucky Charms one day, and instead of Lucky Charms, there was crack cocaine. Would it be a logical response for the company to say, “Hey if you don’t like crack in your Lucky Charms, just switch to another cereal.” Knowing full well that some customers will become addicted to the crack, they will include small amounts of it in their other products, and create lifetime customers. Of course, the analogy breaks down because marketing and selling crack is illegal. And apparently you have no problem marketing and selling sex to children, however.
    Now having Janet Jackson bare herself during a superbowl halftime show, do you think that, gasp!, she and whatever boy band trash that was up there with her were trying to market themselves and their music to children? The main hole in your logic, Shinobi, is that I can’t be reasonably expected to shield my kids from the sex marketing crap on TV when the corporations that run broadcasting have an interest in pushing it, an interest so strong that they will wilfully mislabel or misrepresent their product so as to gain greater exposure to children. Every year they push at the boundaries, and every year it gets worse.
    You also don’t seem to take the effect of it on children so seriously. “Ooooo the children?” While I understand the financial stake that broadcasting corporations have in destroying kids’ normal sexual development, I am continually surprised by the hordes of willing would-be Tom Paines jumping to their defense. And this always gets confused with the first amendment and “freedom of speech”. Well, sorry to say, the particular communication channels involved are broadcast, and created by the government, and using them is a priveledge not a right. They surely have a right to whatever marketing campaigns they can muster. They don’t have unfettered rights to use this particular communication medium. There is no contradiction.

  • Chap