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FCC to Regulate 'Profane' Speech 1206

The Importance of writes "The FCC has been regulating 'indecent' speech on the airwaves for quite some time, but have been getting a lot more attention recently. For example, during last year's Golden Globe Awards U2's Bono said 'This is really, really f-ing brilliant.' Last October the FCC ruled that was ok. Yesterday, under political pressure, the FCC overruled that decision. However, for the first time, the FCC also ruled that the f-word is not only 'indecent' but also 'profane.' According to this new decision by the FCC, any speech that is grossly offensive, whether or not it has anything to do with sex or excretion, is 'profane.' This is a major step forward (backward?) for FCC censors. My analysis is here."
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FCC to Regulate 'Profane' Speech

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  • by squarefish ( 561836 ) * on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:30PM (#8613879)
    whether or not it has anything to do with sex or excretion, is 'profane.'

    holy fucking shit ;)
    • by wankledot ( 712148 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:32PM (#8613906)
      Man, you come along and add religion to the mix on that one, excellent work!
      • by SmackCrackandPot ( 641205 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:43PM (#8615092)
        For a moment, I thought the article read "FCC are to regulate profound speech", but then I realized we already have such a system.
        • Rather than outlawing consentual activities and perfectly legal activities, I'd rather they regulated showing all the illegal stuff that they show on TV.

          Why's it OK to show people getting shot, robbing banks, beating each other up, etc; while everyday ordanary dialog is being censored.

          I'd much rather my kid was exposed to a handful of swearwords and see the occasional brest, then be shown TV shows that makes them think everyone's a criminal so it must be OK.

          Movie dialog like threats like "I'm going to kill you" are far more harmful to kids than "oh shit".

          How about a law:

          • If a TV show, movie, etc has all legal content (consentual sex, non-threatening speach) it's OK.
          • If it has illegal content assaults including threats of violence (regardless of the language), unconsentual sex, murdor, etc, it's rated R at least.
          • by osobear ( 761394 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @06:46PM (#8615924) Homepage
            Definetly agree.
            We need to realize what actually is and isn't a bad influence on everybody (face it, kids aren't the only ones to condone violence because they are over-exposed to it). Profanity only has power if we grant it power, and censoring it is the fastest way to do that. There's nothing wrong with saying "oh shit" if we say that there isn't, but murder is always wrong.

            Basically, the FCC needs to censor and rate less on content and more on themes. Murder seems to be ok if you don't show the actual murder scene, and that just doesn't make sense. It works the same way for drug use, robbery, arsen, you name it.

            I'd much prefer to walk down the halls of a high school and hear "fuck, that test was hard" than "Darn, that was a hard test, I'd like to kill Mr. Smith for giving it to us."

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:34PM (#8613945)
      ah you've added religion to the mix! I personally think religious exclamations like "In God We Trust" or "under god" are profane. What if I dont believe in God, or at least your god? Why must I be forced to listen to religious nuts prattle on about God?

      If you take away my ability to say curse words, then I want to take away your ability to say religious words.

    • by Damek ( 515688 ) <> on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:36PM (#8613976) Homepage
      Considering the article talks about how the definition of profane is speech or conduct "irreverent to something held sacred" ... this comment makes total sense. Not only is it a shit (excretion) for fucking (sex), it is also a *holy* shit, and therefore a secred peice of sex-related excrement. To put your winky smily at the end, you are obviouisly treating this sacred poop of copulation with irreverence, and therefore you are being wholly profane. I condemn thee!
    • by cxreg ( 44671 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:24PM (#8614782) Homepage Journal
      Good thing the FCC doesn't rule over the internet
  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:32PM (#8613910)
    " any speech that is grossly offensive, whether or not it has anything to do with sex or excretion, is 'profane.' "

    Anything anyone can say is offensive to someone. Expect to see this used against all sorts of things that no sane person would think of as 'profane'.

  • by WormholeFiend ( 674934 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:32PM (#8613911)
    From now on, I will use the word FCC as my favourite swear word.

    Here's an example: "This is FCCing brilliant!"

    I'll let you guess the exact pronunciation.
  • by scrytch ( 9198 ) <> on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:32PM (#8613918)
    ... with the Second.

    A housemate of mine used to love that expression. Only guy I knew who was a card-carrying member of both the ACLU and the NRA.
    • Howdy. I'm a card-carrying member of the ACLU [] and a lifetime member of the NRA []. Nice to meet you. Come here often?
    • by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:18PM (#8614680) Journal
      "Only guy I knew who was a card-carrying member of both the ACLU and the NRA."

      I'm a member of both the ACLU and the ACU (American Conservative Union). Does that count? Both of them are all for getting government off my back, and that's fine by me. I believe that both fight hard to defend our Constitution from the treasonous politicians and other officials, even though they can sometimes be at odds with one another on a particular issue. I'm not alone, either; Bob Barr is a well-known conservative who frequently does work for both the ACU and the ACLU. What it took to bridge the two organizations was a terrorist act commited by zealots followed by terrorist acts commited by our government in response thereto.

      I cannot think of a more inappropriate response to the murder of three thousand people than the wholesale destruction of the values, ideals, and liberties by which they lived, in their name.

      !(life > liberty)

  • by The I Shing ( 700142 ) * on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:33PM (#8613921) Journal
    I can't think of anything to say about this that hasn't been said million, billion times, so I'm just going to dump some Forrest Gump into it.
    • Forrest: (voice-over) There was this man, giving a little talk. And for some reason, he was wearing an American flag for a shirt...
    • Abbie Hoffman: Now, I'm going to bring up some soldiers that are going to talk about the war, man...
    • Forrest: (voice-over) ... and he liked to say the "F" word. A lot. "F" this and "F" that. And every time...
    • Abbie Hoffman: ... that war has come home, and we have to stop these politicians...
    • Forrest: (voice-over) ... he said "F" word, people, for some reason, well, they'd cheer.
  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) * on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:33PM (#8613922) Journal
    I'd guess that NWA (Niggers With Attitude) will never be played again then, even their name probably breaks the rules; as for thier 'Fuck the motherfucking police', well, I doubt that'll ever see the light of day :-) Guess you guys won't get 'Roger Melly, the man on telly' any more either (if you ever did)

    Over here in the UK, the thinking seems to be leaning to more leniency rather than more crackdown. There's an article [] on the BBC site asking 'Has swearing lost its power to outrage' talking about on-screen profanity...

  • Bloody sods! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darken_Everseek ( 681296 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:33PM (#8613926)
    Whose definition of "grossly offensive" are we going by, anyways?
  • by Bryan Gividen ( 739949 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:33PM (#8613928)
    I'm so torn on this subject. It's something that I think has so many valid points on either side. If I plan on watching something like the Grammy's or some other award shows (or the Super Bowl halftime show) I don't at all expect to be seeing or hearing some of the crap I have seen. With that, I can see how regulations and stricter rules are a must. But then I see how far government agencies can take things...

    *sigh* A struggle more eternal than Linux and SCO...
    • I'm so torn on this subject. It's something that I think has so many valid points on either side. If I plan on watching something like the Grammy's or some other award shows (or the Super Bowl halftime show) I don't at all expect to be seeing or hearing some of the crap I have seen. With that, I can see how regulations and stricter rules are a must. But then I see how far government agencies can take things...

      As an European I find this view quite perplexing : you object to swearing and naked breasts on

      • by iSwitched ( 609716 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:16PM (#8614632)
        Let me tell you, it's not just Europeans that are perplexed by this. I'm living in, and a citizen of the U.S. and not only am I perplexed by this attitude, I am frustrated, and if I may be allowed to violate the rules of my own government agencies a moment, fucking pissed off about it!

        As the father of two small children, I would much rather answer the question "daddy, what are that man and woman doing?" than, "daddy, why is that man hurting that other man?".

        Perhaps I am all alone in seeing that it is much easier to explain the process of procreating, which all animals engage in and is a good and understandable process even to the fairly young, than trying to explain random, senseless violence that has no perpose and is engaged in only by 'humans'. The attitude of my own goverment, and by default, a majority of my fellow citizens are absolutely inexplicable!

  • by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:33PM (#8613934)

    Do the FCC even have the right to add new things to the list of what they regulate? It was my understanding that they enforced decency regs, but could not define them.

  • Damn it! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dartmouth05 ( 540493 ) * on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:33PM (#8613936)
    This is a serious blow against freedom of speech and expression. While the airwaves belong to the public and all, it is ludicrous to censor something because it is deemed to be "grossly offensive."

    Many people find Howard Stern's show to be grossly offensive, however many other people love it. If Stern's show really stepped over the line, people would stop listening to it. If people stopped listening to it, the show would be canceled, and he would be off the air.

    I don't understand how Republicans get away with this level of hypocrisy. They are in favor of privitization and less Government regulation of businesses, except when it comes to what can be said in the media. Republicans are in favor of states' rights, except when it comes to a state choosing to allow same-sex marraige. Republicans are "ultra-moralistic" in their own minds, impeaching President Bill Clinton for lying about a sexual relationship, but when it comes to a Republican aide in the Senate hacking into sensitive Democrat files, only Orin Hatch has the honor to stand against it.

    The FCC's ruling is really, really fucking awful.


    • Re:Damn it! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Boing ( 111813 )

      If Stern's show really stepped over the line, people would stop listening to it.

      Actually, the opposite is largely true. If you saw the movie Private Parts (if you haven't, don't), you'd know that Howard Stern almost wears that as a badge of pride, that people who like him tune in to see what he'll do next, and that people who hate him tune in to see what he'll do next.

      This has no bearing on the validity of banning a word without regard to its usage or context, but I wanted to point out that your stat

      • Re:Damn it! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by arkanes ( 521690 )
        Then it's not really crossing the line, is it? It's entertainment. People are entertained by seeing what he'll do. If he's truly offensive, then he's not being entertaining, and people don't watch. Compare with, say, Faces of Death. Thats flat out offensive (to me, anyway), and very few people watch it more than once. Even people who hate him listen because they get a thrill out of hating him. Personally, I think that public opinion and the force of the free market (remember that?) should be in charge of re
    • Re:Damn it! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:48PM (#8614214) Homepage Journal
      So all Howard Stern has to do is go on XM, or cable (wait, he _did_ that.)

      The FCC only regulates radio and broadcast TV, and in 2004 these are rapidly becoming a small fraction of the available media.

      You can cry censorship and First Amendment rights till you're blue in the face, but it's perfectly reasonable to set aside a small part of the media and allow the government to regulate it to a reasonable level.

      This doesn't violate anyone's rights and no one is holding a gun to Howard Stern's head saying he can't say anything he wants on other media. Besides, I have a hard time believing someone as obviously smart as he having such a hard time not coming up with something else to talk about besides lesbians.

    • Re:Damn it! (Score:3, Flamebait)

      by macdaddy ( 38372 )
      Think of it like prohibition. A select handful of people wanted to rid themselves of alcoholics (Im' paraphrasing here). So they outlawed the drink. Did that work? Hell no. Its use increased and criminalized all that participated in the drink. Fast forward to today. A select handful of individuals want to rid themselves of those that don't share or support their views and openly speak against them. So they keep restricting speech until anything that's not inline with what they believe is outlawed.
    • Unprotected Speech (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nurb432 ( 527695 )
      While I'm a firm believer in free speech, its been decided that obscene speech isn't protected.

      They are going after obscene speech, not just offensive.

      Personally, if someone wants to create a show that is obscene, it needs to be restricted to adults. NOT be broadcast to the general public. Much as PPV porno is already.
    • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:22PM (#8614761)
      The FCC's ruling is really, really fucking awful.

      Let's be honest and clear about this too - it is not just the FCC who is doing this, they are getting lots of pressure from the religious right on these issues. This is a perfect example of how a specialty group is directly influencing the government.

      The FCC looks like a bunch of idiots over these issues. They are bringing up issues that are *YEARS* old, and fining people for them. The issue they are fining Howard Stern over is from 2001.

      I listen to Stern on occasion, and have been more frequently recently. This morning was a fantastic illustration of how stupid this all is. He played a clip from the Jimmy Kimmel show, where Jimmy was defending Howard. He said that they should be going after the filthiest person on TV - Oprah. Jimmy then played a clip from the Oprah show, where she was talking with some women about sex things. They were laughing and having a good time. One of the women mentioned "tossing salad" [], and then proceeded to describe what it was. When Howard played this clip, it was bleeped (time delay removed) from his show. He begged his GM to let him play the clip. It was from Oprah, which runs in the mid-afternoon.

      Here is the point - Oprah can get away with this kind of talk on her show, but Howard gets fined for something not nearly as graphic from 2001? He has a great argument - if they play the clip and get fined, the FCC would HAVE to fine Oprah. They would never fine Oprah. If they didn't, they would be obvious hypocrites, and if they did they would be showing the world how stupid they are behaving. You don't mess with Oprah. It would make national news if Oprah was fined for indecency.

      It is all a big joke, and the religious right is standing firmly behind this one. They have strong ties to Senators (giving them cheap housing) as well as other government officials. Hell, some government officials ARE part of the religious right - all the way up to the drunk-driving President and Vice President. (1 and 2 offenses respectively)

    • Re:Damn it! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by njdj ( 458173 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:38PM (#8615030)
      Republicans are "ultra-moralistic" in their own minds, impeaching President Bill Clinton for lying about a sexual relationship

      Clinton was impeached for perjury - lying under oath while giving evidence to a court. In common-law countries, this is a serious offense because it strikes at the integrity of the legal process. In Britain, for example, Jonathan Aitken - a former Government minister - was imprisoned for 2 years for a similar crime. Lord Archer, a former Chairman of the Conservative party and a member (at the time) of the House of Lords, was also sent to jail for perjury in a civil case.

      Persuading the American public that it was all about sex, not perjury, was a brilliant propaganda achievement by Clinton.

  • Support Howard (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fluke_finder ( 708045 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:34PM (#8613944) Homepage
    The Passion of the Stern lives on!
    • Re:Support Howard (Score:5, Informative)

      by Motherfucking Shit ( 636021 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:27PM (#8614848) Journal
      Long-time listener, first-time caller.. ;)

      Amidst all the indecency crackdowns, and the FCC's announcements yesterday, nobody seems to be pointing out the fact that the ruling against Infinity was for a Howard Stern show that aired in 2001. It's not for anything Howard has said or done recently, and as I understand it, it's more due to what a caller said.

      Howard's been playing this game for a long time. He knows the rules, and he knows them well; perhaps even better than most people who work for the FCC. Howard has always voiced his contempt for the rules, but he's (generally) always played within the rules, as well. So why is Howard getting attacked all of a sudden?

      For the majority of Bush's presidency, Howard has been a staunch supporter. On September 11 2001, he was on the air telling everyone that it was bin Laden, and that we ought to do something about it. Howard supported the Afghanistan strikes 100%. As time wore on and people grew critical of Bush, Howard stood his ground, even supporting the war in Iraq.

      After the Janet Jackson fiasco, when it was obvious that the FCC was gearing up to make some heads roll, Howard suddenly shifted gears. For the past few weeks, his (on-air) political leanings have done an abrupt 180. He's been decrying the FCC and its crackdown, and more importantly, he's been urging listeners to vote Bush out of office.

      ClearChannel dropped Stern from 6 stations. It wasn't for anything "indecent." It was because of Howard's recent political about-face.

      ClearChannel is owned by a guy named Lowry Mays. Mays is a Texan, and he's got ties to the oil industry. OK, so these days it seems like everyone is from Texas and is an oil baron. How about the fact that GWB sold his share of the Texas Rangers baseball team to a guy named Tom Hicks. Tom Hicks was, at the time, CEO of a company called AMFM. Guess what business a company named "AMFM" was in? That's right, the radio business. AMFM was bought out by ClearChannel, and Tom Hicks is now Vice Chairman of ClearChannel.

      Howard Stern had a surprisingly good ride, in terms of FCC scrutiny, under the Bush administration until the past couple of weeks. I think it's because - and only because - Howard had, until that time, been an unapologetic supporter of Bush and the war in Iraq, even to the point where it conflicted with his own liberal interests in terms of broadcasting.

      A timeline:

      1) AMFM CEO buys GWB's share in Texas Rangers
      2) AMFM acquired by ClearChannel
      3) Janet Jackson bares areola
      4) FCC launches witch-hunt
      4a) FCC Chairman Powell is Secretary of State Colin's son, for those who aren't paying attention
      5) ClearChannel dumps Stern like a bag of bricks
      6) FCC fines Infinity (but not ClearChannel, even though they aired it) for a Stern episode from 2001

      Mod me troll if you want, but this is the politics of things. Howard Stern isn't being sought out because he was "indecent." He's being sought out because he jumped the fence, he's being sought out because he's telling 8+ million people a day to vote Bush out of office.
  • by Opalima ( 744615 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:34PM (#8613946)
    ... almost anything goes. Maybe we're more open minded. Maybe we're a little less uptight. Maybe we watch a little too much American TV.
    • In Sweden... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Brobock ( 226116 )
      Many radio channels (and Television) in Sweden are government controlled and profanity is 100% unmonitored both in English and in Swedish. There is more freedom of speech elsewhere than there is in the US.
      • by Gorimek ( 61128 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @06:27PM (#8615736) Homepage
        The US has more freedom of speech than anywhere else in the world, ever. That's because the First Amendment to the Constitition guarantees it.

        The only exception is the things you're not allowed to say. But such a limitation is a small price to pay for unlimited freedom of speech!
  • Definitions? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kefoo ( 254567 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:36PM (#8613972)
    Who defines what is "indecent" or "profane"? As the article hints at, these are highly subjective classifications. Are we going to end up with oversensitive people trying to outlaw every other thing said on television because it offends them personally?
  • Profane! (Score:4, Funny)

    by jo42 ( 227475 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:36PM (#8613977) Homepage

    > My analysis


    The word "analysis" contains ANAL.

    Therefore the word "analysis", "analyst" and derivatives have been declared indecent & profane and shall be removed from the English language forthwith.

    - by Ruling of the FCC

  • by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:36PM (#8613985)

    "Censorship, like charity, should begin at home; but unlike charity, it should end there."
    -- Clare Booth Luce, American playwright and diplomat
  • by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:37PM (#8613994) Homepage
    I thought this was about "Propane Speech" and there was some bizarre Hank Hill linkage. Aw, well, too much toons in my life.
  • Britney (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DRUNK_BEAR ( 645868 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:38PM (#8614009)
    Does that mean that they will censor out Britney's "I'm a virgin"?? If so, I have nothing against it. (Plus the fact that swearing doesn't really reflect intelligence to me... Bash me out, but I find it teenagish...)
  • by ellem ( 147712 ) * <> on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:38PM (#8614016) Homepage Journal
    The FCC is a failed entity. They had one simple task -- keep broadcasters from "stealing" or "leaking" onto bandwidths that they were not assigned to use. They failed so miserably new technologies were invented to do their job. They were about to go away when Nixon gave them the power of the Seven Dirty Words.

    Where does the money from fines go?

    Who needs them to regulate anything?

    I have 2-13 piped into my house through cable and or satellite therefore I pay for those stations, how dare they regulate what I pay for!

    The FCC must be abolished.
  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:38PM (#8614027) Homepage Journal

    For example, during last year's Golden Globe Awards U2's Bono said 'This is really, really f-ing [sic] brilliant.'

    Who needs the FCC when people decide that words like 'fucking' needs to be self-censored? If you're going to fucking quote someone, fuck, man, QUOTE THEM. You're caving in against your own fucking thesis.

  • by fluxrad ( 125130 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:41PM (#8614077) Homepage
    Hear me out on this. If the FCC starts to go too far over the line, then sooner or later a censorship/profanity case is going to end up in the courts. I have no doubt that a court would easily rule that Bono's freedom of speech trumps Aunt Fannie's right not to hear the word "fuck." Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward.

    If life breaks some eggs, make lemonade...

  • Fine (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:43PM (#8614120) Journal
    The FCC has a mandate, and a responsibility to enforce a minimum standard of decency on PUBLIC AIRWAVES. VHF, UHF, FM and AM.

    So long as they aren't regulating Cable, Satellite, or the Net - which a consumer chooses to bring into their home - it's fine.

    There's a situation now with the networks trying to compete with the likes of HBO or Comedy Central, and seeing how far they can push it.

    The reaction to the superbowl stunt shows that the folks are simply sick of it.

    I'm as profane as anyone, and enjoy South Park and fart jokes, etc.. But it doesn't belong on the public spectrum, they're for everybody.

    I enjoy Howard Sterns show from time to time. I hope he's successful on Sirius or other payed service. He does not belong on the public dial.

    It isn't censorship. It's regulating the use of a public resource, which is their job. You can't swear and flash your tits on a public station any more than you can in a public park.
  • by Ricdude ( 4163 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:45PM (#8614160) Homepage
    ...that the chairman of the FCC, Michael Powell, is the son of the Secretary of State, Colin Powell?
  • by FreeLinux ( 555387 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:47PM (#8614198)
    I'm all for it!

    First Clear Channel gets fined [] for Bubba the Love Sponge and Howard Stern and now this. I am glad to see that the FCC is finally taking steps to put a stop to it and I want to know where they have been fro the past several years.

    The trend of using profanity has been rolling for a very long time. But, it really shifted into high gear with the advent of the so called shock jocks. These guys have been pushing the edges of the envelope for years and, in my opinion, went way too far years ago.

    I'm no prude and I too am guilty of using far too much profanity but, I have never been able to condone its use in public and on the public airwaves. People should not be subjected to it or forced to listen to this stuff and for the past few years it has been unsafe to have the radio on while driving a child to school.

    But, the problem goes much deeper than all this. The fact is that the constant liberal use of profanity is eroding peoples ability to communicate intelligently. It may have been funny when Eddie Murphy took the stage and said the F-word as every other word out of his mouth, at the beginning of his career. But today, it is no longer funny and yet so many people speak like this normally. It is F-ing hard to F-ing talk to or F-ing understand someone's F-ing point when the F-word is F-ing well coming out of their F-ing mouth every other F-ing word. Then there is the whole rap lyrics argument. It is way out of control.

    Expand your vocabulary. learn to communicate. Try to go a whole day without using any profanity or expletives and I bet you will find that you too might have a problem.

    • by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:00PM (#8614422)
      People should not be subjected to it or forced to listen to this stuff

      Yes, I'm all for repealing the law requiring all citizens to listen to Howard Stern for 3 hours a day.
    • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) * on Friday March 19, 2004 @06:13PM (#8615536) Homepage Journal
      The fact is that the constant liberal use of profanity is eroding peoples ability to communicate intelligently. It may have been funny when Eddie Murphy took the stage and said the F-word as every other word out of his mouth, at the beginning of his career. But today, it is no longer funny and yet so many people speak like this normally. It is F-ing hard to F-ing talk to or F-ing understand someone's F-ing point when the F-word is F-ing well coming out of their F-ing mouth every other F-ing word.
      So you mean, um like, you know, you can't, like, understand communications, when like the speaker totally overuses, like, colloquialisms? Because, like, it's not intelligent communication? Are you like totally for-sure that, like, the problem is really, like, profanity, and not something else, like, general stupidity and lack of, like, public speaking skill?
      It is way out of control.
      Like, um, does it, like, need to be in control? Is, like, communication performance really a matter for, like, government to be dealing with? I would, like, think that it's in everone's self-interest to, like, maximize their own speaking performance, purely for, like, selfish reasons. They don't, like, need government to give them incentive, ya know? And, like, if someone else, like, talks bad, doesn't that, like, give you a competitive advantage in getting, like, your message out? I say, like, don't worry about idiots being, like, out of control. Dude! Duuuuude!!
  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:50PM (#8614255) Journal
    According to this new decision by the FCC, any speech that is grossly offensive, whether or not it has anything to do with sex or excretion, is 'profane.'

    Although I count as the last person to accuse a government agency of using logic, by that new definition, Bono's statement may not count as either indecent or profane...

    The new criterion includes "grossly offensive". I do not consider "this is fucking brilliant" the least bit offensive, nevermind "grossly".

    Of course, I find very little offensive enough to warrant complaining - I may not control the content, but I control the TV itself. I can change channels, or even just turn it off. IMO, the FCC needs such a major overhaul we may have an easier time just dissolving it and creating a new agency, perferable with control ONLY, over spectrum allocation, not content.

    I never did understand how limiting content fails to violate the 1st amendment, but hey, what do I know? "no law respecting an establishment of religion" doesn't include giving my tax dollars to the 700 club; "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" doesn't mean people can have guns; "unreasonable searches and seizures" doesn't include FBI backdoors into every ISP; "without due process of law", "in all criminal prosecutions", and "a speedy and public trial" doesn't include anyone accused of terrorism or "unlawful combatants"; "cruel and unusual punishments" doesn't include sleep deprivation, inedibly bland food, or blasting Bruce Springsteen at high volume; and "shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people" and "reserved to the states respectively, or to the people" doesn't mean anything.
  • by Hektor_Troy ( 262592 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:51PM (#8614285)
    The FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, decided all by itself, that radio and televisions were the only two parts of American life not protected by the free speech provisions of the first amendment to the constitusion.

    I'd like to repeat that because it sounds vaguely important.

    The FCC, an appointed body - not elected, answerable only to the president, decided on its own that radio and television were the only two parts of American life not protected by the first amenedment to the constitution.

    And why did they decide that? Because they got a letter from a minister in Mississippi! A reverend Donald Wildman in Mississippi heard something on the radio that he didn't like. Well reverend - did anyone ever tell you there are two knobs on the radio? Two knobs on the radio.

    Of course I'm sure the reverend isn't that comfortable with anything that has two knobs on it. But hey reverend - there are two knobs on the radio - one of them turns the radio off and the other one - changes the station! Imagine that reverend - you can actually change the station. It's called freedom of choice, and it's one of the priciples this country was founded upon - look it up in the library reverend, if you have any of them left when you're finished burning all the books!
    George Carlin said it, and I support it wholeheartedly.
  • by Tsiangkun ( 746511 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:52PM (#8614305) Homepage
    When I signed up for cable television, I purchased access to crash, abusive, violent, sexual, morbid, humerous, and offensive content. If I wanted to watch purple dinos and signing hand puppets I could get that with public television over the airwaves. I PAID for access to the offensive stuff. I LAUGH at kids getting ninja throwing stars stuck in their eyes.

    I did not pay money to have a television raise your fucking kids. I support child care programs with tax dollars, but using laws and regulations to replace parenting with a TV is too much.

  • by agslashdot ( 574098 ) <> on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:53PM (#8614319)
    The entire article failed to mention the implications of what would happen from here on. Here's what me & a million other shareholders are thinking - Howard Stern will ask Clear Channel to f*** off and sign on with Sirius. FCC can't regulate subscriber based sat radio, so Sirius would skyrocket, and so would entire 50 grand portfolio is composed of 1 stock - SIRI. Yeah I know that's a boneheaded move, but I'm going to keep my fingers crossed...

    FCC - stern and sirius 1 []

    FCC - Stern & Sirius 2 []

    FCC - Stern and Sirius 3 []

  • by DRUNK_BEAR ( 645868 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:56PM (#8614373)
    Mod me down if you wish... but why is everyone exaggeratedly swearing in their posts when the article is about censorship. You can say that you disagree without saying three hail maries in the same post while at the same time giving everyone a biology lesson... It just looks very childish to me. Someone expresses an opinion different from the norm and we start stonning him/her... Good example of censorship, right?

    I don't have a problem with people swearing if they really want to emphasize their point. Even if it's part of their language. But fucking swearing at every stupid goddamn line just to fucking prove their shitty point sounds a bit ridiculous to me.

  • by Zerbey ( 15536 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:04PM (#8614470) Homepage Journal
    Unfortuantely, the FCC has responded to the ludicrous hype which has all stemmed from a split second shot of someone's breast. It was so fast it was over in the time it took me to look down to pop another taste piece of chicken breast (sweet irony, eh?) on my fork. They show far worse things on MTV, every single day but no one complained. Go figure.

    OK so it was wrong, she shouldn't have shown her boob (waldrobe malfunction my ass, attention grabbing idea more like) on national TV during a family show but please, get over it!

    My personal opinion is that the US should follow the UK rule, have censorship until 9 pm and then tone it down. It's the parents responsibility to limit what children watch at a time when those that are young and impressional should be asleep anyway.

    Ever heard of a thing called the off switch?
  • by tstoneman ( 589372 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:13PM (#8614583)
    What is so insane is that the rules for profanity are completely inconsistent. Oprah can have a show talking about "tossing salads" which include a detailed description of what that is, but if Howard Stern says it, he will get fined.

    This is a problem for several reasons:

    1) Our freedom of speech is killed because we can be fined into bankruptcy for talking edgy, so obviously people will be more careful of anything that they say

    2) freedom of speech is completely killed because the FCC can decide months later if what you said was profane, so the feedback mechanism is completely messed up.

    3) initial rulings on profanity can be "overruled" by the FCC, meaning that political agendas can be enforced through the FCC now

    For a listing of required reading go directly to Howard Stern's [] web site.
  • by Neil Watson ( 60859 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:14PM (#8614597) Homepage
    Meanwhile, television and film can show graphic, glorified murder and only be rated PG13.
  • by MarkGriz ( 520778 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:19PM (#8614700)
    Guess that means we won't be seeing gems like this anymore....

    KYLE: Shut-up, fatboy!
    CARTMAN: Hey! Don't call me fat, you fuckin' Jew!
    MR. GARRISON: Eric! Did you just say the F-word?
    CARTMAN: "Jew"?
    KYLE: No, he's talkin' about "fuck." You can't say "fuck" in school, you fuckin' fatass.
    MR. GARRISON: Kyle!
    CARTMAN: Why the fuck not?
    MR. GARRISON: Eric!
    STAN: Dude, you just said "fuck" again!
    MR. GARRISON: Stanley!
    KENNY: Fuck.
    MR. GARRISON: Kenny!
    CARTMAN: What's the big deal? It doesn't hurt anybody. Fuck fuckity fuck fuck fuck.
    MR. GARRISON: How would you like to go see the school counselor?
    CARTMAN: How would you like to suck my balls?
    KIDS: [gasping]
    MR. GARRISON: What did you say?
    CARTMAN: Oh, I-I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Actually, what I said was: [speaking through bullhorn] "How would you like, to suck my balls, Mr. Garrison?"
    KYLE: Holy shit, dude.

  • by Zathras26 ( 763537 ) <> on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:39PM (#8615048)

    This just reminds me, yet again, of how messed up Americans' values are in so many ways, a fact that was first brought to my attention when I went to the United Kingdom (my first trip abroad) back in 1995. Over there, TV is not censored, at least not to the degree that it is here. They leave in nudity, sex, profanity, and all the other stuff. There's very little protest about it because they have a much more mature attitude -- they believe that adults should be allowed to watch whatever they want to watch without having the government tell them whether or not it's OK for them. More importantly, they also believe that if there's a show that has sex, violence, profanity, or anything else they might happen to find offensive, the proper course of action is to change the channel or turn off the set, not to say that nobody else at all should be allowed to see that stuff on TV.

    I wish we had that attitude here. As others have said, I find religious junk like "The 700 Club" highly offensive, but I simply don't watch it -- and I don't expect the government to ban it. People who want to see it should be allowed to without government interference, just as people who want to see "Die Hard" uncut should be allowed to without government interference as well.

  • Catalyst (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mirio ( 225059 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:43PM (#8615090)
    Although I disagree terribly with any form on censorship, we should at least try to understand why so many people were upset about the Janet Jackson SuperBowl fiasco. Many Slashdotters are (rightfully) stating that parents should take charge of what their children are watching. This is precisely why people were so upset with the breast-baring SuperBowl. They were thinking that of all things on TV, their kids should be able to watch what is perhaps the most viewed annual sporting event in the world.

    That's it, folks. I'm not saying I agree with the FCC's kneejerk reaction, but this is why people are upset and we should aknowledge it when discussing this topic.

    Having said that, I do believe that there is no cause for relegating broadcast & cable television to G-rated content. If you don't like the services rendered to you, don't patronize it.
  • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @05:54PM (#8615245) Homepage Journal
    This is living proof that 50% of the population is of below average intelligence.

    I'm dead serious when I say that too.

    This kind of crap never made any sense to me when I was a kid, and it makes even less sense now. Who are these cretins who are so afraid of "bad words" anyway? What kind of bizarre "thoughts" go through their minds that would lead them to go as far as exerting political pressure on the government to protect them from these words?

    I just don't get it. Even the "Its for the children!" argument doesn't hold water in my book. Kids need to be protected from many things, but words are not among them. Besides, if these words were truly evil or harmful in some way, they quite simply would have died out ages ago. No one would know them because our ancestors would have stopped using them. The very fact that they have persisted in our language proves that they are harmless. There is simply a legion of brain-dead morons who believe they are. The world would be a much better place if they didn't breed more of themselves.

    You can mark this bullshit down under 'A' for absurd.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.