This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Ten percent of nuthin' is...let me do the math here...nuthin' into nuthin'...carry the nuthin'..."
11945 members | you are not logged in | 25 November 2014




Tweet







January 25 2005

FCC rejects PTC's complaint that Angel was indecent. Spike's line "You're still a dick" in 'Why We Fight' was deemed to be "not patently offensive". For a full round up of this and other complaints rejected by the FCC, read this Word document.

Good to hear Powell's still a dick.
Heh... some of the things the PTC found indecent are laughable.
Good. Someone should really teach this PTC crowd how to use a remote control.
Well that was good for a laugh. I'm with Madhatter -- the PTC folks need to learn how to exercise their right to change the channel.
These are always funny.

These guy's must have gone crazy when 3rd Rock was still on the air, one of the characters was called Dick.

Isn't there a watershed in the States, 'cos if there is surely all complaints about content after 9pm sould be void anyway.

[ edited by Ghost Spike on 2005-01-25 14:46 ]
That only works if people are sensible GS. We still get loads of complaints about things broadcast after the watershed over here. I really don't understand the point, there's plenty of stuff that I'd rather do backbreaking labour than watch and so you know what? I don't watch! Simple as that, if only other people would understand that the easiest way to avoid offence is to avoid the offending material. Of course the type of program that offends me (soap opera, reality tv etc.) is unlikely to offend most people :)
The people who complain know exactly how to operate a remote, how could they otherwise linger over the offending items and replay them over and over again ;)
For those who might not be aware - for better or for worse (it remains to be seen) Michael Powell has announced he is stepping down as the FCC Chairman. Actually I'm more surprised that they didn't complain a about Spike's language in the episode "The girl in Question" when he screamed "Son of a B*TC*", upon finding out the immotal had been with Dru, cause it was about the same time as all the complaints over any use of any colorfully language before 10pm or even after was reported to the FCC. So man they are slipping, cause I do believe this episode aired right after the FCC changed they regulation on acceptablity of language during what was deemed "Family TV time" ie anything before 10pm. I know this cause that week I think a singer got introuble for saying shit (mind you it was under her breath and barely audible) on 60 Minutes, which someguy complained about and CBS was getting find for. So when Spike let loose with that curse I thought for sure the PTC itchy lillte finger were more on their phones keypad than on their remotes.
Socially questionable, even juvenile references to the excretory and reproductive systems of the human body have been around as long as there have been words. Restricting profanity from the airwaves on the misconception that doing so protects young minds is counterintuitive. Young people should learn what the words mean early, and how they can be used in artistic expression to reflect reality. In captain dummy talk: Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.
Turns out that a lot of the PTC are actually Spangels and could not bear to watch an episode where Spike and Angel try to find Buffy. That's probably why they didn't complain about it.
lol, nice one Simon :)
I was actually in a conversation with a woman the other day who said, "I only watch "xyz" news so I can laugh at how biased it is, no wonder Bush got re-elected..."

True or not, my first thought was, if it bothers you why are you "supporting it" by watching it? The same applies to these people, if it bothers you, stop watching it, your supporting it by watching. Yeah, yeah, I know, the Nielson boxes, etc. but I'm sure the advertisers still love these people.

My second thought was, aren't there more important things to worry about in the world than whether Spike calls someone a dick?

..Spangel, that's funny Simon!
ZachsMind, that is really good. Heh heh.
There was a report not long ago that found that most of the people sending in the complaints hadn't even seen the so-called offensive material. Instead, someone reports that something offensive happened on a show and rallys members of the PTC to complain. I think something like 99% percent of complaints come from this one group. It was also found that members of this group used multiple email addresses when sending complaints so they could make it appear as if more people were offended.
killinj, I read that report too. Wish I could remember the link, it was an interesting read. I recall that nearly all of these complaints from the PTC are dismissed. I bet the FCC is growing tiresome of this group as well.
Yeah, we had a situation here a couple of weeks ago where the bbc showed Jerry Springer - The Opera, after the watershed mind. There was protests and tv license burning going on even before it had aired. The bbc website was full of complaints but a large proportion of them were from people who hadn't even seen it but just heard it was blasphemous and so therefore must be evil. The thing I find amusing is there's plenty of much more offensive things shown on the tv but they don't have the publicity and so no-one cares.
I got into Buffy late and consequently saw episodes out of sequence for a while...I thought it was outrageous that Buffy called the big snake "Dick" until I realized that Mayor Wilkins was named Richard...d'oh!

And what about the evil puppet calling Groofus "dickwad" in Smile Time? No complaints about that one? Jeez...
Well, I'm surprised they don't complain about the name 'Spike' because it's obviously just a euphemism for male genitalia. And calling Winifred 'Fred' may blur gender roles/lines. And isn't the name 'Lindsey' just a bit...girlish? And calling Charles 'Gunn' brings to mind violence...And when a male vamp bites a female, isn't it really just a less graphic way of showing a man penetrating a woman?? Oh my god! This show IS indecent!!...

I say three bloody cheers for it!
I don't think I've ever considered anything "outrageous" in my entire life.

People are far too easily offended nowadays. I think sometimes people just have so few real things to complain about that they focus all their energy on individual four letter words on TV.

It also strikes me as an oddity that we trust people to make choices which effect the governing of our countries through democracy, yet we don't trust them to make their own choices about what to watch on TV.

As for the Jerring Spring Opera fiasco. They had 45,000 complaints before the thing was even on TV, and they had 350 calls afterwards - over half of which were supportive.

I think I'd respect these complaints more if they were from people who had seen the show and knew what they were talking about. As it was they were just trusting what other people had told them rather than making up their own minds. Not to mention the fact that the BBC air plainly religious programmes like Songs of Praise, yet you don't see atheists getting up in arms about how their views are being offended by the horrible differing opinion of others.

I'm all for tolerance, but not when it's just a front for bigotry, ignorance, and a general tipp-exing of all opinions, viewpoints and discussion.
Nicely said Gonnas. i'm like you in that it takes A LOT to offend me. Words just don't seem all that important to me so it doesn't matter how bad the language gets on a tv show, i'm not going to worry about it. I watch Deadwood and The Sopranos regularly and barely notice the language so i'm not going to lose any sleep from the occasional "bitch", "piss" or "dick" on Buffy or Angel am i? Hardly the worst examples of swear words in the world. More than that i have no problem with my young nephews hearing them either. The truth is that words such as that, and much worse to be honest, are being spoken in school playgrounds every single day so why pretend otherwise. It isn't going to change anything now.

Quite honestly these PTC people need to grow up and realise that this world has far greater problems than words. If they dedicated themselves to helping to feed starving children in the third world countries or some other cause that was actually worthwhile then maybe they really could make the world a better place. As it is all they are doing is wasting their own time and annoying those of us who enjoy a little reality in the language of our shows.
To the PTC:

Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always be the last resort of the boob and the bigot.
--Eugene Gladstone O'Neill

Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.
--Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart

In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas.
--Alfred Whitney Griswold

A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to.
--Laurence J. Peter

Censorship, like charity, should begin at home; but unlike charity, it should end there.
--Clare Booth Luce

Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds.
--Thurgood Marshall

Restriction on free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.
--William O. Douglas

Every burned book enlightens the world.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions.
--George Bernard Shaw

Fear of corrupting the mind of the younger generation is the loftiest of cowardice.
--Holbrook Jackson
killinj and Madhatter: the mediaweek article you were referring to was previously linked in this thread about PTC/FCC shenanigans.

Although I agree with your position, Gonnas and Gothic, I'm not entirely sure that telling people they're too easily offended is an effective strategy. I'd focus on (a) choice and freedom in broadcasting and viewing, and (b) the viewer taking and exercising responsibility over content at home, rather than telling people that their own philosophy or ethical belief system is misguided.

And showgirl: that's a great assembly of quotations. But I'd guess that every single one of those quoted, and (perhaps) every single one of us would agree with "censorship" in some extreme instance. The question becomes not whether but where you draw the line.
Oh good grief, I just noticed that they complained about Gilmore Girls...GILMORE GIRLS!! It's on freakin' ABC Family, for God's sake!! Nothing even remotely controversial is on ABC Family....
" I'd guess that every single one of those quoted, and (perhaps) every single one of us would agree with "censorship" in some extreme instance. The question becomes not whether but where you draw the line."

Other than parents personally 'censoring' young kids from adult content I can't honestly think of a case of censorship I would approve of. I could be wrong...

Personally I couldn't care less how easily offended people are. If they have to faint and gasp and grab their chest when they hear the word 'dick' on those shows, then I suggest the obvious; that they don't watch it. I have no wish to change their minds on the slightest thing except that they leave the rest of us alone.

It bugs me when they feel that they should be able to tell others what they shouldn't watch. I don't go around telling them they SHOULD watch shows where they cuss a lot do I? Most of the shows in this list are the type of show where violence and harsh words are to be expected on some level, and each of those shows it the type of show you can bet your fanny people of the PTC would hate. So apparently they look them up in order to complain about them.

And more and more articles I read say that the 'big decency surge on the media' that's all over the headlines is practically always a small fanatical group of people filing the same complaint a zillion times to drive the numbers up. The pendulum swings and the frantic decency crusaders are as loud again as they were in 80's.

It'll pass again too, I'm sure...

MOOO....
Ah, thank you SoddingNancyTribe. I thought you linked that article, but I wasn't quite sure. Thanks again for pulling a rabbit out of the hat :)
Other than parents personally 'censoring' young kids from adult content I can't honestly think of a case of censorship I would approve of. I could be wrong...



How about cases where parents don't have much control? I mean, if someone painted two people shagging on the side of a building, I think I'd appreciate some censorship. Not for me, but for people who don't want to see, or don't want their kids to see, such things. There are some things kids don't need to see, like sex and violence, and if parents can't have control, then someone should.
I don't know, Rogue Slayer. I'd say if I didn't want my daughter to see the building, I'd drive elsewhere.

It's hard to find the line between art and offensive, but my fear is that every time we draw it, it will get closer and closer and closer to that which I love and farther from that which I find offensive. I find it easier then to censor my daughter from what I deem offensive then to ask the world to censor her potential input on my behalf.
SNT, I couldn’t agree more that the parents should use their responsibility as parents to decide what is appropriate for their own children. In the previous thread linked to, Firefly Flanatic describes how she always knew what her kids were watching or would watch with them and was there to talk to them about it. Well, gosh, that seems to suggest that some parents know kids can’t raise themselves and they can and should set limits for them.
If you are raised with a good foundation, I think it’s going to take more than a few ‘obscene’ words to send you down the road to ruin. That’s not to say I would let a kid watch “Deadwood” (with its prevalent use of the word c*cksucker), but I would already know it was inappropriate since HBO details the content before each show. And it's not so much that I wouldn't want them to hear it, it's just cussin' is a bad habit to get into (I should know).Commercial TV has those cryptic content letters and most televisions have the V-chip, so if a parent can’t make decisions based on that, maybe they shouldn’t be breeding. If some parents just don’t care what their kids watch, I think the problem is bigger that what they are watching.
SNT, normally i'd agree 100% with what you say there. I try to never tell people that their viewpoint is wrong or that they should believe what i believe. If they let me live my life the way i want to then i grant them the same respect.

However in this case, as EdDantes pointed out very nicely above, these people spend a great deal of time and energy trying their hardest to inflict their narrow viewpoints onto the rest of the world. I think in a case such as this it is appropriate to fight fire with fire. It's not as if they are the kind of people that will ever listen to a rational argument or be willing to find a middle ground. Trying to ban the word "dick" on a show that is meant for a grown up audience is proof enough of that.

When the PTC respect our rights to make up our own minds then i'll be more willing to listen to their position. If they had their way they would control the content of every television show we watch, i think that says a lot about how much they respect our freedom. As long as they attempt to be the conscience and morality for the whole world i don't see any reason to treat their beliefs with any more respect than they treat ours.
I don't know, Rogue Slayer. I'd say if I didn't want my daughter to see the building, I'd drive elsewhere.

What if it's next to your kids school? What if there's not an alternate route? And why should you have to go out of your way?
What if it's next to your kids school? What if there's not an alternate route? And why should you have to go out of your way?

Well, in that case I'd probably discuss it with my daughter ahead of time and talk about it. I'm not against censorship in all cases, I just think that censorship, in general, is a decision best left to the individual and not the government. What I fail to understand is why my government wishes to protect me from someone saying "dick" or a mural of two people having sex when I can turn on the television at any time of the day and have my daughter see murder, violence, the subjugation of women and minorities and two men named Dick and Bush are in the business of bombing strangers half a world away.
If censorship was an easy concept, there wouldn’t be so many diverse points of view. I’ve read some compelling arguments for censoring the media during war - and some equally compelling arguments against it. However, the kind of censorship being demanded here - censorship of TV shows - is not, in my opinion, defensible, because one can simply change the channel or turn the TV off.
I just think that censorship, in general, is a decision best left to the individual and not the government.

I agree, in the cases that the individual can actually make a decision. I don't want to feel pressured into discussing sex with my child before it's necessary because of something that I have no control over.

What I fail to understand is why my government wishes to protect me from someone saying "dick"

Well, to be fair to the gov't, it was the PTC that brought the complaint. The gov't actually didn't think it was a problem, so I guess that's something I can say I'm proud of the gov't about. It's *some*thing...

My ideas about the PTC aside, it's usually the extremist groups that feel you need to adopt their standards and morals. I think trying to take the choice away from someone in the form of the PTC or the guy who paints a sex mural on the interstate is just wrong, but to me, there should always be a *choice* to watch, see, read, hear, etc...
“two men named Dick and Bush”

Huh, I had never thought about it that way before, but if that isn’t a completely obscene description of male and female private parts…

(I say, there isn’t any hanky-panky going on between these two in the White House by any chance? Just checking.)

Now only question is, whom do we complain to? I suggest the American voters.
I suggest the American voters.

Well, I didn't vote for them. So don't complain to me. ;)
If parents have a problem with what their kids watch it is known as a V-Chip. Other organizations should not decide what is appropriate it should be up to the parents or that particular individual to decide what they are able to watch on television.



How about cases where parents don't have much control? I mean, if someone painted two people shagging on the side of a building, I think I'd appreciate some censorship. Not for me, but for people who don't want to see, or don't want their kids to see, such things. There are some things kids don't need to see, like sex and violence, and if parents can't have control, then someone should.


Well in that case, lets keep all those scultpures by Michaelango with a penis showing out of school books and TVs while we're at it.
Okay, I think there's a big difference between Michaelango and say a pornographic painting painted on the side of a building. Nothing wrong with the nude body or with people having sex but I wouldn't think it was okay for children to have access to porn just because someone doesn't think anything should be censored. That's just taking it a wee bit too far and the line does have to be drawn somewhere. So if it's okay for pornagraphic paintings on the sides of buildings should we allow x-rated movies in the kindergarten classroom? As a parent you could just sit and calmly explain what's going on! To me, this kind of thinking is just as overboard as the ones who want to censor everything. There has to be a middle ground.
Firefly Flanatic, I agree with you. Censorship gone crazy is harmful but to suggest that there should be no censorship at all is not the way forward.
The FCC clearly has guidelines, and it's too bad that groups or individuals who submit complaints that clearly don't fall within the guidelines can't be fined or something to discourage complaints that are pushing an agenda.
There will always be groups of this nature objecting to many things on television. Desperate Housewives is a huge target for these groups as well, as are many other shows.

I absolutely abhor the idea of a group of people thinking their own views should be the standard for deciding what other people should watch.

But there is always a middle ground. Most anyone in the United States heard about the firestorm that the Nicolette Sheridan (from Desperate Housewives) commercial at the beginning of Monday Night Football caused. (For those not familiar - she was in the lockeroom, in a towel, and seduced a player into skipping the game and having sex, and dropped her towel - they showed her bare back - and then jumped into his arms.) I didn't personally find anything inherently offensive in it and I wouldn't have been all that disturbed if my kid had seen it. Having said that, I feel for a family who sits down with their kids to watch a football game and has another sex ad thrown in their face. And I am respectful of the opinion of any parent who didn't want their child to see it. Even Janet Jackson's Nipplegate affair. We saw a boobie. Big deal. But...

It's tough to apply the very valid in other situations "change the channel" argument to something like either of these examples. MNF viewers were hardly expecting that sexy advertisement as the opening.

The middle ground should be open and reliable information about the content of a show so that parents know what to use the V-chip on, know when to change the channel, etc., while then not fussing about that which they don't find interesting/appealing/appropriate.

Groups like the PTC will never go away. They will always attempt to push their own sense of morality on others. But their influence, and ability to recruit new, pissed off members after a surprise, shocking advertisement in a program not suited for such an advertisement, would diminish if networks made a few minor changes to their practices, not their programs.
Now Ruadh, I think you're onto something. Definitely.

And Rogue Slayer: My ideas about the PTC aside, it's usually the extremist groups that feel you need to adopt their standards and morals. I think trying to take the choice away from someone in the form of the PTC or the guy who paints a sex mural on the interstate is just wrong, but to me, there should always be a *choice* to watch, see, read, hear, etc...
I want to be clear - I don't disagree with you. I don't believe that censorship in all forms is bad. I just think we have to be careful where we draw the line and I wish groups like this one would pay attention to more important things. And where were they the 8 billion times Spike told someone to "Sod off" or called someone a "wanker"? Or are they just too 'Merican to figure out what that means?

And you're right - like my Daddy used to say "Never trust a zealot." Zealots in all forms are frightening.
Well in that case, lets keep all those scultpures by Michaelango with a penis showing out of school books and TVs while we're at it.

Yeah, I have to agree with Firefly Flanatic, there is a big difference between nudity and flat porn. Ok, Ashcroft doesn't see a difference, but I certainly do!

And where were they the 8 billion times Spike told someone to "Sod off" or called someone a "wanker"? Or are they just too 'Merican to figure out what that means?


I think you hit the nail on the head. Kind of how Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me was nothing scandalous here, but I've heard that some Brits thought it was a pretty tasteless and inappropriate title. Probably similar to if it had been called The Spy Who Fucked Me.

Groups like the PTC will never go away. They will always attempt to push their own sense of morality on others.

Hey, as much as I hate it, I'd still rather they worry about what's on tv than what's going on in my bedroom! But I'm sure they do that too...

And if they have nothing better to do than watch raunchy tv...maybe I wanna be a part of that group! ;~P
SoddingNancyTribe: I mentioned your a) and b) too, and I agree those are the most potent arguments to make when trying to convince people. However, people being too easily offended remains my opinion. Effectively: "Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you." We tell it to kids; perhaps adults should heed the advice.

Rogue Slayer: If someone were to paint such a thing on the side of a building, in plain public sight, then yes - that could be an issue. However, it is not the issue we are discussing here. It's irrelevant to the discussion because we're referring to the FCC, and to television. As far as I know, the FCC don't dictate what can and cannot be painted on the side of buildings - that would be down to public decency laws, laws on public artworks, and I'm sure there is some other commission that deals with such things.

Television and radio are different from this scenario because they can be turned off. Viewing content on a television or hearing it on a radio is avoidable, controllable - it is an elective medium, where people choose to expose themselves to it, or choose not to. Something on the side of a public building is not. So while they both fall under "censorship", they're different issues.

I quote Frederick Douglass, "Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want rain without thunder and lightning."
Rogue Slayer: If someone were to paint such a thing on the side of a building, in plain public sight, then yes - that could be an issue. However, it is not the issue we are discussing here. It's irrelevant to the discussion because we're referring to the FCC, and to television

I was actually responding to my hubby's comment:

"Other than parents personally 'censoring' young kids from adult content I can't honestly think of a case of censorship I would approve of. I could be wrong..."

And I've also been responding to GrrrAargh's response to my comments.
I apologize that my comments aren't germane to the conversations you were following...
Well said, Gonnas, although even so I'm not sure I totally agree that words can never hurt. If words didn't retain some potency, I don't think we'd be as moved by Joss's use of them, to take one obvious example, as we are.

And in Rouge Slayer's defense (sorry, RogueS, couldn't resist), I think the censorship discussion was broadened beyond just the PTC/FCC/TV arena by both showgirl and me before she posted. And even if the building painting analogy isn't perfect, it can still be useful to illustrate the more general point, which I think RS was making, that censorship *in some instances* may be socially desirable. The distinctions you make about TV are compelling, and I tend to agree with you there, although (how many more fences can I sit on? hundreds . . .) I also see the force of the observations about inappropriately-placed content on TV made by Angela in her rather classy and thoughtful post (ahem) above.

But really, another great discussion. Stop it now so that I can actually do some work. ;)
And in Rouge Slayer's defense (sorry, RogueS, couldn't resist),

AAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!1 ;~p

And even if the building painting analogy isn't perfect

Well, SNT, I obviously meant a painting of YOU and (insert Buffy gal of your choice) shagging...then it would be perfect, eh? :D

[ edited by Rogue Slayer on 2005-01-26 01:05 ]
Maybe using the image on the side of the building as an educational opportunity is one way to handle such an issue, Rogue Slayer? Explaining in a calm, logical way to your kids -- if they even notice what's on the building at all -- that it isn't something your family approves of, and that other people have different ideas about things? This lets them know there are other ways of being without being condemnatory, specifically. Parents who get in an uproar over things just make the children more interested in whatever it is that's causing such an intense reaction, in my personal experience.

Honestly, parents can't police input from the entire world for their children (though some do try, with often tragic impact on their families), but parents can give them a system of values they will take along with them for the rest of their lives. Someday these parents who object so stridently to the world not comforming to their personal reality will be gone. Who will protect their children then? Isn't raising them with a strong foundation and then trusting them to make good decisions as they mature into adults what parenting should be all about, instead of wasting that time trying to proscribe what others should and should not be allowed to do?

My parents are very strictly religious, morally upright folks, and they tried hard to keep me away from everything they considered 'sinful' or otherwise offensive. I'm glad they didn't entirely succeed, because if they had I wouldn't have been able to function as an adult, dealing with real people and real issues outside that protective little bubble. I still have that moral, ethical foundation to draw upon, but I'm also well aware and grateful that there's room in this world for everyone's point of view (especially since I did disagree with some of what I was taught, even from an early age). It's not necessary that others' worldviews, etc. conform with mine for me to live my life the way I choose to. I have not lost what I was taught; I have only enriched it with a broader perspective as I've grown up.

(Sorry this falls so far after your original post, Rogue Slayer, but I was trying do actual work while posting and the conversation obviously carried on without me. And I wasn't meaning to single you out, either. What everyone else above me said about censorship. Yeah. ;)

[ edited by Wiseblood on 2005-01-26 01:12 ]
Here in Britain, TV networks don't help themselves one bit when it comes to the censorship debate. Last November, we had a terrestrial channel showing a live public autopsy on the telly. Despite the channel's claims that it was in the interests of the public, it stank of sensationalism and a very cynical attempt to grab ratings and headlines.

It will get the point where someone in government will say "enough is enough" and you will get far stricter laws come into force. Our networks have to be aware that somewhat voluntarily censorship is needed. Fair enough, make ground breaking drama which challenges society's conventions but don't have someone saying the C word just so it can get a headline in tomorrow's Daily Mail.
I dunno Simon, "Cheney" just doesn't seem that offensive to me.

And Rogue Slayer: basic modesty dictates that I must decline to respond to your last post. (But if you know a good artist, I'll commission the thing today . . . )
So SNT - I can use the word "boobie" and still have my comment be deemed classy and thoughtful huh? Quite generous of you. :)
The problem with the PTC isn't that they don't know how to use a remote. It is far more insidious than that. If they find something offensive, they want to make sure no one sees it. And that is something that I find offensive. I am an adult. I have worked years on getting here, and I think I have earned the right to watch whatever the hell I want. And as for my child, I know what he watches (well, he's three, so it's easy...). I plan to be involved in not only knowing what he is watching, reading, and doing until he is 18, but have frequent discussions with him should he see something when I am not around. It's called parenting, and it's my job, not the PTCs. Thank God their tactics are well known, and for the most part, the FCC doesn't take them too seriously.

To address the other point about naked people painted on walls... well, you can't always control what offends you and when you might have to have that conversation with your child. I know someone who was horrified when she saw an (obvious) cross-dresser at the mall. She was angry because she wasn't ready to have that conversation with her four-year-old. She thought those "pervs" shouldn't be allowed to dress in such a way in public. I know it is a bit different, but my point is, potentially offensive material is all around us. As a parent, I would much rather have an age-appropriate conversation with my child than try to take away someone's rights.

I'm also work in a library and am a writer, so I might just be the "free speech" zealot that has been spoken of. :)
Maybe using the image on the side of the building as an educational opportunity is one way to handle such an issue, Rogue Slayer? Explaining in a calm, logical way to your kids -- if they even notice what's on the building at all -- that it isn't something your family approves of, and that other people have different ideas about things?

Very true, and that may well be how I would handle the issue(though I don't disapprove of sex, I rather vehemently endorse it!). But I don't think the educational opportunity should be forced on anyone. You should be able to teach your kids about such things at your own pace, even though I know that's not always possible.

There will always be people who are raising their kids in a way I don't approve of, but that's their business. I shouldn't be able to dictate how someone raises their kids, just as they shouldn't be able to dictate what I watch in the privacy of my own home.

Like I said before, censorship should always come down to choice(and consent, of course). If I want to see a four man gang bang, I should be able to watch that at home. But equally, others shouldn't have to see it randomly in their daily lives, with no choice in the matter.

And Rogue Slayer: basic modesty dictates that I must decline to respond to your last post. (But if you know a good artist, I'll commission the thing today . . . )

Well, I think as long as you pick Eliza Dushku, I might be able to persuade hubby to do it! He's got lotsa source material, unless you wanted to pose for it.... ;P

"Cheney" just doesn't seem that offensive to me.


I shouldn't have to be subject to such language....it's quite offensive to me! :D
I know it is a bit different, but my point is, potentially offensive material is all around us.

I guess that's why we have commmissions that will tell us what is too offensive to have in public. I mean, you have to have *some* kind of general societal standard. Or, I guess to rephrase, some kind of general American/Western societal standard, because as we all know, what is considered 'not a second look' worthy here could be very offensive in other societies.

Though I do wonder why it's okay to have nude statues but we can't walk around nude...couldn't it be considered to have 'artistic value'? Funny, you can look at fake goodies, but not real ones... Interesting how some of those standards are set.
Angela: oops, missed that. Your post has been downgraded to "tawdry" and "licentious." That's what you get for flashing them boobies . . .
As so often happens, I should have kept my mouth shut. (Tawdry joke or no? You decide, blueman.)

Tawdry and licentious hmmm? I suppose I need a spanking. :)
Well, much as I'm sure the other 2390-odd Whedonesque members are enjoying the cozy discussion several of us have descended to, I think we should probably, um, rein it in . . . or the PTC will be monitoring us next, and nobody wants that now do they.
hey, I remeber Arpu (sp?) saying about Marge "What a b*t*h" on The Simpsons, when he seees the cops take her aways after accidently robbing him
I don't know the name of the episode
I laughed my tits off!
The language in The Simpsons has gotten worse over recent years, I don't find it at all offensive, I'm just surprised when I hear it, funny though. Most recent bit I can remember was Willy shouting about something being shite, can't remember what though, was hilarious.

[ edited by Ghost Spike on 2005-01-26 02:28 ]
I laughed my tits off!

heheh...you said tits....

What was that about discussion descension, SNT?? :P
Pecs....I meant pecs!! LOL
And your right Ghost Spike, Willy does say shite a bit now!
Yeah, RS, guess I'm going to have to get the big stick out - wait, you know what I meant . . . damn that Englishman's curse of the oh-so-tempting double-entendre!

I guess it's my moderator duty to step up and say, with a straight face, that while we're all - or almost all - adults here, tolerance to cursing may vary. So, unless there's a real linguistic need for it, let's exercise some self-restraint. Anyway, euphemisms are so much more fun . . . If things get too out of hand, and I don't think they have so far, I may have to use some blue pencil (meaning: delete words/posts).
Sadly, I have no time to be pompously verbose on the subject of free speech, however just to respond to someone (Gonnas??) who wrote about the difference between a public building and television and radio which can be switched off: the idea behind the FCC is that wavelength/bandwidth is a limited commodity which should be used to the public good and that is why the government regulates it. This idea used to bear much more weight, of course, before the era of cable tv, but it still exists today - in essence, Liberty, Fraternity and the right to be a couch potato!!
Got to go, perhaps I will bore you with my ideas on free speech tomorrow.
Sorry Rogue Slayer, didn't mean to sound snippy.

SoddingNancyTribe: While I agree that words have potency, and while I agree that the phrase is something of a fallacy, I can't help but feel that there is a double standard. Sure, this partially stems from my lack of understanding in regards to how people can get so offended by words on TV (Spike says "dick", it's not like he's calling me a dick, and if someone was to call me a dick then it still wouldn't bother me because it's a general insult that's not personal enough to truly grate), but at the same time (can you even remember what I was saying before the brackets?) we teach our kids not to listen when people call them names, yet get so up in our arms about those same words being said in a fictional universe. Considering the number of actual grievances in the world, a few naughty words said by fick-shun-al characters seems like a very odd thing to be be genuinely offended by. If people got quite as passionate about, say, poverty or starvation, then perhaps the world would be a better place. Equally, if people got as passionate about the news medias continued failure to raise the level of debate in our countries, to inform people better, then perhaps TV would be better too.

I guess I just think there are bigger fish to fry. But again, that's because I'm more interested in protecting free speech than I am in protecting people from such a shocking word as "boobies". Whatever happened to "While I don't agree with what you say, I'll defend to the death your right to say it"?

When Jerry Springer - The Opera was shown, the head of the Christian association that was so offended about it said he was going to sue under the common law offence of blasphemy. My brother pointed out at the time that while there should not be a law against blasphemy, there should be a law against bigotry. Bigotry is intolerance, and intolerance is what creates censorship. While society has a right to protect itself, there is some question as to what it should be protecting itself from.

Wiseblood raises a decent point about how by protecting our children entirely from such offensive elements, we in fact hamper their ability to function when they reach adulthood. The most obvious analogies is vaccinating a child against disease; through limited exposure, you build immunity against viruses. If everything is too clean, well, you get a rapid growth in child asthma rates.

And WWBD: I'm aware that te FCC was set up for those reasons, just as I'm aware that cable television isn't regulated by the FCC. On that same topic: would HBO have been able to produce the hits they have if they were FCC regulated? Sex and the City would be right out, and I'd imagine Band of Brothers would be too - especially since an airing of Saving Private Ryan was pulled in the States recently, reportedly due to the language.

The truth is that, even aside from cable television, wavelength and bandwidth are hardly limited commodities today. As we move more and more towards digital stations, and given the popularity of mediums like the internet, this is a fairly poor argument for the relevance of the FCC.

Equally, it's up for debate exactly what "the public good" actually is - as we've seen over the course of this thread. To take such power and control, and to give it to people who are not publically elected, seems inherently dangerous to me.

Democracy is based on the idea that the best way to protect liberty is to spread it among the people - to put the power to decide in the hands of everybody. At the moment, people have the ability to decide what they watch and what they don't, but ultimately there are other people in charge behind that. People who are deciding what is best for you and your children, and people who may have their own agendas and drastically different views from yourself. I agree that there is a need for a regulatory body such as the FCC, to make sure that a watershed is maintained, to make sure that children do not stumble across things that may rob them of their innocence at too early an age. But at the same time, if such a body is to truly act for the people, then surely such a body should also be by the people.

I guess I've got loads of time to be pompously verbose on the subject of free speech.

It's a big fish.

[ edited by Gonnas on 2005-01-26 06:28 ]
"tolerance to cursing may vary. So, unless there's a real linguistic need for it, let's exercise some self-restraint.

Soooo I hear you folks are talkin' 'bout girly bits???

(I know. Rotten to the core....;-)
Actually, the whole discussion started with talking about boy’s bits!

This is just the kind of offensive sexual innuendo we must legislate against forthwith. I am sorry EdDantes, but I must now levy a fine on you, please make the cheque payable to me, not the FCC. ;)

Topical on the subject and in the Hollywood Reporter today:

Legislation hiking indecency fines returns

”Some lawmakers are hoping to begin pushing legislation that exponentially increases the fines broadcasters and performers face for indecency violations within the next two weeks. The legislation, which died at the end of the most recent Congress, would raise the maximum fine for a broadcast license holder from $27,500 to $500,000. The fine for a performer would jump from $11,000 to $500,000, and the FCC regulation that requires an individual to receive a warning first is repealed. Quick passage of the legislation in the House Commerce Committee would signal that congressional interest in the issue isn't going away following the election. “

Good morning America!

(hope I am not breaching copyright, but it is too early here to mess about with linking)
Good thing the PTC isn't in my car when I am driving in rush hour. I'd also love to hear their opinion of the film "The Commitments" if they are worried about swearing.

It has always astonished me that "we" (as a culture) are far more accepting of violence than sexuality. Expressions of anger and hatred are more tolerated than nudity and physical expressions of love. How wierd is that?
There's a relevant news article for this discussion here.
"Actually, the whole discussion started with talking about boy’s bits!

This is just the kind of offensive sexual innuendo we must legislate against forthwith. I am sorry EdDantes, but I must now levy a fine on you, please make the cheque payable to me, not the FCC. ;)"


Hey now, I ain't payin' fer no boy-bits!

It has always astonished me that "we" (as a culture) are far more accepting of violence than sexuality. Expressions of anger and hatred are more tolerated than nudity and physical expressions of love. How wierd is that?


That is an aspect of america in particular I've never understood. The Janet Jackson incident was a prime example. We have war planes flying over, the same type that are bombing Iraq as we speak, we watch a sport where huge guys slam the tar out of each other for a few hours (modern day gladiators?) and that's all fine. We WANT our kids to watch that. But a tenth of a second of a boobie?? That has us up in arms! Shocking!

My wife tells me the superbowl is considered a 'family program' (which still leaves me scratching my head), so you can expect this sort of a reaction, but it still says something strange about our culture.
I'm not going to debate why football is different because if you aren't a fan I'm not going to convince you but the Janet Jackson nipplegate thing I will debate.

It wasn't just a wadrobe malfunction that happened. It was a pre-planned stunt to draw attention to her sagging career (and I could pun about something else sagging but I won't). The whole performance was a very over the top sexual dance that also came across as a girl saying no and a guy saying he was going to have her no matter what, as he's ripping off her top. That's very close to acting out a sexual assault. And if it was on MTV I wouldn't care but they knew what the audience was all about and went with it anyway. If people were sitting down, knowing what they were most likely going to be seeing and were okay with that, no big deal. But that wasn't what people were expecting. It wasn't the time or place for it. I really enjoy Nip/Tuck but I wouldn't sit and watch it with a five year old.

And yeah, more of a big deal should be made about the violence shown on tv. I remember watching BtVS on F/X when it first started airing and they were showing promos for The Shield that were very violent and very graphic. I was upset because my kids were younger then and this was being shown at six o'clock at night. This same footage would come with a warning when the show aired but here they were showing it for the ads.

Now, I don't consider the actions on a football field as violent as you do Ed, but it would be your choice not to watch it if you choose and if JJ wants to flash her booby during a performance she should do it with an audience who wants to see it. On the other hand, I consider hockey very violent and Wrestling very violent and I wouldn't want to watch that with or without my kids but some do, it's their choice even if I don't agree. But that's the key word, choice. Janet Jackson's superbowl show didn't give us a choice. If it was an accident that would be another thing but it was so obviously staged.
In terms of Janet Jackson's breast, I find myself agreeing with EdDantes, although I do appreciate the point that Firefly Flanatic is making.

I have to admit that I didn't see the 'incident'. My daughters, on the other hand, did see it, and were completely underwhelmed by the whole thing. They immediately recognised it for what it was, a publicity stunt, as Firefly Flanatic says, and thought it to be very tiresome. They don't seem to have suffered any lasting traumatic side-effects. I think they are more traumatised by my antics when I show them up in front of their friends.

I can't really comment about American football. I do admit to be somewhat concerned about what goes on amongst the crowds at British football matches (and also in Europe), where racism and violence continues to be a problem. However, that's getting off the point.

Censorship is one of those contentious issues where it is very difficult to achieve any kind of sensible middle ground. The likes of the PTC are frankly ludicrous, although rather dangerous, in my opinion.
I've seen the Janet Jackson thing, and I'm not sure why everyone is so certain that it was staged. They said it was an accident, and aside from our own cynicism, we have no evidence to the contrary.

Regardless, while I appreciate that her breast was an unexpected event pushed upon people who were given no choice as to whether they wanted to see it or not, it still seemed like a complete over-reaction. The media got up in arms about it, but that didn't stop every one of them having a picture of the moment in their papers and on their websites. It may have been on screen for a few seconds, but that few seconds was replayed a million times on a million screens across the world - all while people spoke about how horrific it was. All while lawsuits were filed, huge fines were handed out, and so on. If it was so horrible, why did they keep showing it?

On top of this, it's a breast. I'm a man and I can go topless on a beach, or in the street if I really wanted to. If it's hot, no one would say anything other than "Look at that pasty-skinned white boy." I have breasts. All men do.

Equally, all women have breasts as well. And a lot of children spend the first few months of their life sucking on them.

Yet: disgusting.

Go figure.

And while racism can be a problem, violence in the crowds of British football matches is overblown by the media too. I don't know if you're from the UK, but it's really not that bad here. 99% of games go off without a hitch.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.



joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home