Sunday, April 02, 2006

Words: Obscenity

Saw Ira Glass tonight at the Majestic Theatre. As part of his lecture, he complained about the effect the FCC's recent rulings have had on his show ("This American Life"). He went into detail (humourously) about the case of Bono saying, "This is f---ing brilliant" at the Golden Globes.

Here's the FCC's original ruling in October 2003 that this was not obscene. "..The performer used the word "f---ing" as an adjective or expletive to emphasize an exclamation." (And they don't obscure the f--- word like I do.)

Here's the FCC's opinion on appeal from March 2004 where they flip-flopped. Among other things (and this is what really boggled Mr. Glass) they wrote that "(The 'F-word') invariably invokes a coarse sexual image." I love how they never bother to get to the bottom of Bono's actual quote - don't they have a VCR? They refer to Bono "reportedly" using the F-word at another awards show - again, couldn't they verify that?

Anyway, these FCC rulings are a lot of fun to read because of all the profanity and obscenity.

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