The US Second Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the FCC’s indecency policy that proscribes, and fines offenders for, fleeting expletives, like the one Bono lit slip during the Golden Globes in 2003. In a unanimous decision the court ruled that the indecency policy was unconstitutionally vague.
As these examples illustrate, the absence of reliable guidance in the FCC’s standards chills a vast amount of protected speech dealing with some of the most important and universal themes in art and literature. Sex and the magnetic power of sexual attraction are surely among the most predominant themes in the study of humanity since the Trojan War. The digestive system and excretion are also important areas of human attention. By prohibiting all “patently offensive” references to sex, sexual organs, and excretion without giving adequate guidance as to what “patently offensive” means, the FCC effectively chills speech, because broadcasters have no way of knowing what the FCC will find offensive. To place any discussion of these vast topics at the broadcaster’s peril has the effect of promoting wide self-censorship of valuable material which should be completely protected under the First Amendment.
This will probably go back to the Supreme Court, but in the meantime, George Carlin (R.I.P.) would be proud.
Christianity Today is reporting a new software blocking tool for your computer that supposedly spares the kiddies from the online violence and profanity of religion. Better yet, it also protects them
from being indoctrinated into any religion before they are of the age to make such decisions
I find the latter function to be far more useful. If the FCC says it’s OK to drop the F-bomb, then a little sex and violence in the holy texts, while worse that the occasional ‘fuck’ (it’s only a word, after all), is still part of life, and with proper parental guidance, the damage can be minimized. But religious indoctrination, that’s pretty bad. It actually causes such things as abortion protests ( a total waste of breath), Sunday church attendance (1/7th of your life down the drain), and the occasional war. Oh, and let’s not forget suicide airplane rides and hypocrisy.
Of course, the whole thing could be a hoax, designed to make religion look silly, but how silly can you make something that is already inherently silly? In any event, if it is a hoax, it’s still a good idea, and perhaps an enterprising software coder will create the real thing.