Make My Day
WHAT DOES $%&*! MEAN?
by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- "This is really, really f---ing brilliant!"
Bono, lead singer of U2, caused a national uproar after using the F-word at the 2003 Golden Globe Awards. Citizen groups were outraged, politicians were apoplectic, and Jerry Falwell was reportedly found curled up on his living room floor, sobbing hysterically.
But despite the outcry, the Federal Communications Commission, which is made up of two Democrats and three Republicans, voted 3-2 not to fine television stations for airing Bono's little slip.
Their reason? Bono used the F-word as an adjective, not in a sexual context. As a result, it didn't measure up to the FCC's standard of indecency, which gave broadcasters the green light to push the envelope a little more.
That's why Nicole Richie, of Fox's "The Simple Life," said "Why do they even call it the 'Simple Life?' Have you ever tried to get cow s--- out of a Prada purse? It's not so f---ing simple," at The Billboard Awards show last December. Fox failed to bleep out Richie's f---ing language, despite the fact they were on a five-second delay to catch these verbal gaffes.
"Hey, we're only f---ing human," whined a Fox spokesperson. "What the h--- do you want me to do? I can't deal with this s--- right now!"
The FCC has yet to act on Richie's statement, but given the outrage expressed by many conservative and family groups after the Bono decision, they may hit Fox with a double-whammy.
Besides, Richie should know not to put cow s---- in a f---ing $1,000 purse in the first place!
Bono's slip-up, and the FCC's failure to lop off his head, prompted Congressman Doug Ose (R-Calif.) to take action. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Ose, and Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduced a bill to remove obscene language from the airwaves. HR 3687 lists the latest "seven dirty words" they want banned from tv and radio.
The list includes "verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms," as well as "hyphenated compounds" of the words ----, ----, ----, ----, --------, -----------, and --------------. (Clever readers should make their own jokes about "dangling participles" to see if they can get on Ose's list.)
Actually, the San Francisco Chronicle tried to helpfully list the words: "S -- ; piss; f -- ; c -- ; a -- h -- ; c -- s -- and m -- f --" (and yes, that is exactly how the list appeared). However, they didn't use the appropriate number of dashes, so don't count them to figure out the words. You'll have better luck figuring out what $%&*!, *@#(, and #&^@$ mean.
Like most people, you're probably dying to know what the offending words are. If so, visit thomas.loc.gov and enter the bill number, HR 3687, to see the list in its entirety.
As a responsible journalist and mature adult, I decided to read the bill, and made two very important observations...after my giggling fit subsided.
First, the very words that offended Ose are the same words he spelled out, letter for letter, in a Congressional bill. And, if the bill gets passed, these words will become a part of the U.S. Code, where they can be seen by any impressionable child with access to federal law books.
Second, Ose's list very nearly matches George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say on Television." However, Ose added "a--h---," and removed "t---s," thus avoiding any copyright infringements.
In other words, if Ose's bill gets passed, it's a T-word free-for-all on television.
The original "seven dirty words" grew out of a 1978 Supreme Court decision (FCC v. Pacifica Radio) that upheld the FCC's authority to ban them, after Carlin's original monologue was played on Pacifica Radio in 1975.
But his list never contained "a---h---." Ose's new word may have been inspired by President George W. Bush calling New York Times reporter Adam Clymer "a major league a--h----" during the 2000 presidential campaign.
But the protests and lobbying may be having an effect, as FCC Chairman Michael Powell is seeking support from two other commissioners to overturn the previous Bono decision. They would also increase the fines for violations of obscene language.
As a journalist, I'm opposed to censorship and violation of the First Amendment, regardless of whether I'm offended by the language or not. Instead of letting the government decide what our children, and ultimately we, can watch, we should leave that decision up to the parents. As parents, we're responsible for feeding our children, educating them, and giving them a safe and loving home.
So we should also be responsible for the s--- they watch on tv.