FCC vs FOX: The Case of Vulgar Language on TV

So the Supreme Court is set to hold a hearing over the word FUCK and if the FCC can/should charge networks when that word is uttered on their shows, rahter on accident or on purpose. I’m sorry, I know it’s a bad word, I know we don’t want our children to hear and use this word, but really…

What the fuck? This is ridiculous to me, this focus on keeping “bad words” off of televison and the radio. There is only one reason for it, and it always reminds of Helen Lovejoy on the Simpsons: “Won’t somebody think of the children!”

Look, kids are going to hear this, whether or not it is on television programs that they are watching. And sure, children’s programming shouldn’t have this kind of language because it is specifically aimed at children, just like shows aimed at adults shouldn’t use kiddy language. In one instance (children’s shows) the intended viewership won’t understand it, and in the other case (programs intended for adults) it will just offend them and keep them from watching.

I know I don’t have children so I am unqualified to talk about this, at least in terms of children, but I am an adult and I know the power of words. I also know that words lose their power the more they are uttered, and if we use fuck more and more, the less taboo it will become. Sure, it will always be offensive to some (but to some the color orange is offensive–ridiculous as it sounds but it’s true, I had an elementary teacher who would shit a brick if anyone used the color orange for anything other than to color an orange. In faact, fall was her least favorite season because of all the orange), but why should the rest of us have to suffer?

And beyond that, why should networks and stations have to worry about being fined hundreds of thousands of dollars because one of these so called “bad words” slips past the censor and gets aired. I’m sorry, but this technique only encourages fear and takes the impetus off of parents to educate their children. We often wonder what is wrong with kids these days, but then we rely on television and censors to raise them. I say, let the kids hear all these words–and by that I mean make these words available–then have the parents educate the children as to their meaning and appropriateness.

Sure, the children probably won’t listen to you, and they will use these words they heard from television instead of their schoolyard friends, but at least parents would be more encouraged to take an active role in their children’s lives than they are presently (my apologies to the parents out there who do take the time to sit down with their children and educate them about these words and their usage).

Furthermore, doesn’t the Supreme Court have more important matters to attend to? Do they really need to spend their time and effort on the issue of bad words on television when there are other, more pressing matters they could deal with, like the mistreatment of prisoners in Gitmo or any other issue of law that is facing our countries high courts. How about the number of appeals criminials are allowed–that seems like a more pressing issue for the Supreme Court to hold hearings on.

Lastly, I will end with my thoughts on what I think censorship is. I think censorship is a system put into place with the intention to “protect” us from ourselves. I say this because if we didn’t need protection, we wouldn’t have censors in place, and this protection starts with children because they grow up to be adults, and the sooner we can get people used to the idea of censorship, then the easier it is to censor.

Think about it for a moment, if someone tries to tell us we can’t say or see or read something when we are older we cause a fuss and fight against that censoring, but we are also less likely to fight back because we have been inundated with these ideas that tell us what is being censored is bad and should not be seen or heard. We accept this, for the most part, because we are used to it.

When we are children, however, we are more likely to accept the censoring because we don’t know any better, and we rely on those who are older/more experienced than us to guide and protect us. There is nothing wrong with that, in theory, but the issue should not be decided by some kind of Morality Police, it should be decided by parents who must start taking an active role in their children’s lives.

Okay, rant over. Let me hear your thoughts, and please, if you feel like it, use the f word or any other bad word. If I don’t like the comment I simply will unapprove or delete it because I have the power of censorship on this blog. I can’t fine anyone, but I can keep you from having your say.

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3 comments on “FCC vs FOX: The Case of Vulgar Language on TV

  1. Adrienne says:

    I admit, I’m not a fan of my 6 and a half year old using the word, but I also realize that he’s getting to the age where he will hear it on the playground, and then we’re going to have to talk about bad language and what have you. I mean, I say fuck. Most everyone does. I have no problem with it being on tv, but I guess I would prefer it to be on tv after the kidnicks have gone to bed. So, maybe shows that air in the 10pm and after slot. But then of course, I usually do sit and watch stuff with my son (if it’s the first time viewing something) just to make sure it is fine for him to consume. I don’t really censor what he watches, but I also make sure he’s not watching something that I know will upset him. I know my kid, I know what he can take.

    I think a main worry I have with the word fuck being used willy nilly on tv is that it may lead to lazy writing. If writers can suddenly use this word with abandon, will they? I don’t know. I don’t think it should be kept off the air in its entirty though.

  2. I agree with the lazy writing part because it is true that puns and vulgar expressions are the two laziest forms of writing ever. And yeah, there is the problem that everyone on television would start saying fuck and shit and whatnot because that’s what the writers are writing and consider “real.” I say to hell with “real” and just get some clever shit on the air. If it happens to contain vulgarity, so be it, but vulgarity for its own sake should rarely be tolerated.

  3. Evan says:

    Wait a minute here. Exactly what network tv shows are saying fuck? Because I am completely missing out and recording the wrong fucking programs then.

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