Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 16, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

IS CALPUNDIT OBSCENE?....OR MERELY INDECENT?....I guess this is old news, but like NBC used to say when they were extolling the dubious virtues of reruns, if you haven't heard it before it's new to you!

Anyway, last January during the Golden Globe awards Bono apparently said "this is really, really, fucking brilliant," which, as we all thought we knew, is not the kind of thing you're supposed to say on primetime TV. However, although current rules state that "radio and television stations shall not broadcast obscene material at any time, and shall not broadcast indecent material during the period 6 a.m. through 10 p.m.," last month the FCC ruled that Bono's joyous reaction was not, in fact, either indecent or obscene:

The word "fucking" may be crude and offensive, but, in the context presented here, did not describe sexual or excretory organs or activities. Rather, the performer used the word "fucking" as an adjective or expletive to emphasize an exclamation.

Who can argue with that? Apparently sexual conduct (or excretory functions) are required for a finding of either obscenity or indecency, and Bono was clearly not referring to either.

Now, there are some weasel words in the FCC opinion about "fleeting and isolated remarks," so it's not clear exactly how much people can get away with. Still, it's yet another tragic sign of the decline of traditional morality in these benighted times of ours, and I for one think every presidential candidate should be required to go on the record with their view on this. Every fucking one of them. On fucking primetime TV. The American public deserves to know where they fucking stand.

Kevin Drum 5:41 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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