Sh*tstorm over swearing on US TV

Discussion in 'The Club House' started by zhuk, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. zhuk

    zhuk New Member

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    Not that it aggravates the majority in Aust (our ex-PM and the current Opposition leader have both sworn in TV interviews but no one much cared, with Kevin Rudd most famously complaining that the Chinese were 'ratf*cking us' at the Copenhagen conference). There's been no problem with films like Pulp Fiction being broadcast uncut here, only anything with "strong coarse language" must have that disclaimer at the start and be shown after 9.30pm. Parents are expected to make their own decisions and take responsibility in this regard.


    So I thought it was interesting to learn that swearing was actually banned on US free-to-air TV at all...and that it now appears to be a 1st Amendment issue:



    US court rules that when s--- happens on TV, it's not an offence



    SIMON MANN
    July 16, 2010



    WASHINGTON: A US law banning "fleeting expletives" on television, mostly profanities uttered accidentally during live broadcasts, has been thrown out by an appeals court because it threatened free speech "at the heart of the First Amendment".

    A three-judge panel of the US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York described the law as vague and inconsistent as well as unconstitutional.

    Critics said the decision meant open slather for the "F word" on television. But headline writers had a field day. "Oh %@!, they bleeped the indecency rules!", declared the Los Angeles Times.

    The fleeting-expletive policy – which was introduced by the Federal Communications Commission in 2004 and led to record fines for erring broadcasters – came into effect after a series of slip-ups during live broadcasts, notably by U2's lead singer, Bono, at the 2003 Golden Globes awards when he uttered the phrase "f---ing brilliant".

    About the same time, the reality TV show star Nicole Richie said during a Billboard awards show: "Have you ever tried to get cows--- out of a Prada purse? It's not so f---ing simple."

    The commission warned of fines of up to $US35 million($39.7 million) each breach, ruling that the "F word" in any context "inherently has a sexual connotation". The ban applied on network television between 6am and 10pm.

    Previously, regulators had focused mostly on scripted indecent material, turning a blind eye to mishaps during live broadcasts. Networks guard against censure over the former by "bleeping out" profanities for domestic viewers while retaining the dialogue in copies to be exported to other countries, including Australia.

    The appeals court judges said: "By prohibiting all 'patently offensive' references to sex, sexual organs and excretion without giving adequate guidance as to what 'patently offensive' means, the [commission] effectively chills speech, because broadcasters have no way of knowing what the FCC will find offensive."

    Writing on behalf of the panel, Judge Rosemary Pooler pointed to the commission's inconsistency: while it found some commonly used expressions to be indecent, others, such as "up yours" and "kiss my ***", were found not to be patently offensive.

    "The English language is rife with creative ways of depicting sexual or excretory organs or activities," she wrote. "Even if the FCC were able to provide a complete list of all such expressions, new offensive and indecent words are invented every day."

    The judges said the rule placed an unfair burden on networks trying to second-guess the commission and in effect promoted self-censorship "of valuable material which should be completely protected under the First Amendment [of the constitution]".

    The policy had been challenged by Fox Television, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

    The US Supreme Court last year upheld the policy on procedural grounds, but sent it to the appeals court to test its constitutional validity.

    The appeals court judges said they thought the commission could yet craft a policy that did not violate the First Amendment.

    Tim Winter, the president of the Parents Television Council, said: "For parents and families around the country, this ruling is nothing less than a slap in their face."


    US court rules that when s--- happens on TV, it's not an offence


    So I'm wondering, this is a particularly 'cultural' difference (America's Puritan origins etc?) Stands to reason a nation mainly consisting of convicts initially wouldn't be really bothered.
     
  2. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    It's just the Nanny State protecting us all Zhuk. Abortion is okay though. :rolleyes:
     

  3. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    George Carlin had a classic bit about the 7 words you can never say on television...or post in a public forum. :D

    WARNING: Crude language

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFmRypAYz_E"]YouTube - George Carlin - Dirty words[/ame]
     
  4. pandamonium

    pandamonium New Member

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    Pretty pathetic right? I think it has a lot to do with lawyers, lawyers and sue happy ***-hats who can't take responsibility for them selves. They cry that
    " my 7 year old watched that show and heard the word sh!t, now he says it!"
    These people have to blame the broadcasters instead of being responsible parents and not letting thier children watch something that the parents feel may be offensive. Like Ca357 said, the nanny state, taking responsibility from the individual, look around , it aint working!
     
  5. Gojubrian

    Gojubrian New Member

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    I just wonder why people feel the need to add offensive language to anything. I don't want to hear it.
     
  6. DrumJunkie

    DrumJunkie New Member

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    That's a valid point. It's being pushed more and more just to see how far that it can get. It's not just about what kids hear. It's getting harder and harder to watch TV or see a movie where people act in a way that would make your mother smack the crap out of you if you did it. With subscription TV and the much more loose sex and language tolerances one would think that FTA TV could do more without it. But the sad reality is people flock to the cable channels and the FTA channels feel they have to keep up or go away.

    Truth be told I'm sure everyone here and find at least ten examples of Sex or language being used as a plot devise just to get people to watch it. And those that don't want to see it are just told to shut up and stop being so uptight. So many of the old valuses I hear we need in this country. Except when it comes to entertainment media. :confused:
     
  7. Gojubrian

    Gojubrian New Member

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    +1 I'm old enough to remember when "damn" was introduced to primetime. :eek:

    Now, what word isn't used? They push the limits more every year. I get alot of enjoyment from tv and movies, but it's all lost on me when they feel the need to say f*** and the worst of all g**da** I just have no use for it.

    You use to could rely on the movie ratings, but anymore PG-13 means 18+ imo. :)

    Don't even get me started on cartoons made for kids with an adult theme. :mad:
     
  8. DrumJunkie

    DrumJunkie New Member

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    PG-13 now would be rated R in the 80's. Wasn't Midnight Cowboy rated X for language when it come out?

    I'm no prude really I just have a problem with things like Blue language or sex is used as a plot device. In the movie Munich there is a scene where a woman is going to be killed and for some reason they had to get her out of her robe and runnign all over the place. Is that what happened in the real story? I really don't know. But you kill her with her robe on and she's still dead. It seemed to me that there was no reason for it other than pitching tents in the 18-24 group. They probably have no idea that the movie was based on a true story.

    I remember reading in TV Guide how Bonnie Franklin in One Day At A Time was getting the network in hot water for saying damn Heck, we had a black and white TV for the longest time. The first color box you could turn it on and go in the kitchen and make a sandwich and get back in time to see it finish warming up. :eek:

    Maybe I am a prude. If I want to see a naked chick I check out the Mrs. She's all soft and smells better than me :D
     
  9. zhuk

    zhuk New Member

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    It does become a reflex if overused, for some people. Our club vice-captain, almost every second word is 'f*ck/f*ckin'...but that's a personal quirk and we kinda love him for it. Wouldn't be him without that :D


    There does seem to be a whole lot more tolerance for swearing down under though.
     
  10. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    Why do movie and video game makers assume that just because I like a good action flick or game I want to constantly hear the F word and watch a bunch of naked people run around?
     
  11. zhuk

    zhuk New Member

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    A large number of crappy Hollywood-ised movies today are gratuitously contrived for supposed 'shock value' in this regard, but in some of the grittier hard-edged films like Brit Mike Leigh makes, it fits very well.

    Depends on the context, IMO.
     
  12. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    I'm with goju on this one. I don't want to hear the language people are using in movies and on tv. I don't want the government telling me what I can and cannot do but I would be scared to let my kid watch anything on TV without me seeing it first.

    Have you heard a conversation between a couple of young people out in public lately? Their language is terrible!!! I can't even stand in line at a the Brewster's for some ice cream with my wife without a bunch of kids coming up behind us an cursing like sailors. You should see the look on their face when you say something to them.
    Don't get me wrong, I've used some of those same words and still do on occassion but those occassions are becoming farther and farther apart and certainly aren't in the presence of women or children.
     
  13. Gojubrian

    Gojubrian New Member

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    I'm always getting that look from people. I'll say ,"do you mind the language? I have kids right here." Or, "little ears please!"

    :D
     
  14. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    I thought it was just me getting old, but some shows/movies just overuse the cursing for MY taste. I loved "knocked up" but hated that every third word was the F word (unfair portrayel of the hempified, IMO).

    My sister has or had this box on her TV that would filter & beep out the curse words; sometimes, i could see that being enjoyable. Goju, if they still make those boxes, you might consider one for family TV time.

    Rick, they have to make the naked people run around; they look silly just standing there. ;)