The demise of the ‘Seven Dirty Words’ regime
An appeals court decision on Monday ruled that the FCC’s new “tough on obscenity” policy overreached their purview by issuing harsh fines for “fleeting expletives” on television. While the FCC has traditionally maintained that it has the right to fine broadcasters for airing obscene content, in the post-nipplegate era they have ratcheted up fines for unscripted content going out over live television. The court decision essentially says that a “fleeting expletive” is not inherently an obscene reference to “sexual or excretory acts,” which fall under the realm of obscenity, but rather an exclamation of frustration or anger, which does not.
It’s clear that the more you talk about what makes something obscene or indecent, the more ridiculous the policies become. While this to-be-appealed decision won’t make it kosher to broadcast George Carlin’s seven dirty words routine, it does put some brakes on the culture warriors who believe that a split-second glimpse of a nipple or a passing encounter with Dick Cheney-style language is what’s undermining the moral fabric of America.
Because this blog is not regulated by the FCC, I present to you, uncensored… George Carlin’s legendary “Seven Dirty Words” routine as an educational public service. I grew up listening to Carlin tapes on roadtrips with my parents, and I turned out fracking fine. Listening to it now, it’s amazing how little has changed since 1972 – Carlin even notes that these words “will keep American from winning the war”…
Filed under: Censorship, Media Politics, TV Industry | 1 Comment