I know that the primary focus of this blog is an atheistic viewpoint, and I truly want to keep it that way. However, there’s only so much one can say about the topic, that others have not already said, with far more clarity and erudition. So, I’m going to strike out a little farther into other topics of interest to people of like mind, such as our culture, books, politics, etc. Actually many of my previous posts have touched on one or the other topics, with religion, or the lack thereof, being only a peripheral point. So I’m not sticking my neck too far out.
With that in mind, Onward (Un)Christian Soldiers!
For those of you who get even a little pleasure out of seeing Bush’s policies smacked down a peg or two, you might like this recent story. (NB: It’s a New York Times story, so if you aren’t subscribed to the website, you might have to join. It’s free and worth it.) Apparently, the Federal Communications Commission has imposed a tougher policy on what it decides is obscene content going out over the airwaves. This case involves content known as “fleeting expletives”, those words people say quickly, sometimes out of frustration, like “Jesus fucking Christ or “holy shit!” (maybe this story IS appropriate to this blog after all). The FCC deemed them obscene. The 2nd Circuit said, nope. To quote the story
But the judges said vulgar words are just as often used out of frustration or excitement, and not to convey any broader obscene meaning. “In recent times even the top leaders of our government have used variants of these expletives in a manner that no reasonable person would believe referenced sexual or excretory organs or activities.”
What the Court was referring to were instances such as the time Bush was caught on tape using an expletive with Tony Blair, and the time Cheney told Senator Patrick Leahy to “fuck off”. (OK, that’s not an accurate link, but it was too funny not to link to.) The court’s reasoning was that the use of these expletives did not rise to the level of sexual or excretory content, and hence could not be obscene. Again, to quote the story
If President Bush and Vice President Cheney can blurt out vulgar language, then the government cannot punish broadcast television stations for broadcasting the same words in similarly fleeting contexts.
The appeals aren’t over, but the Court ordered the case back to the FCC to rewrite their policy, noting that it doubted that the policy could be rewritten to take into account the statutory and constitutional objections. If it’s not obscene, then there is that little thing called the First Amendment.
Me? I’m looking forward to the day when Al Franken can say “Fuck off, Bush!” on live TV. Or maybe on the Senate floor.