Tuesday, June 5, 2007

FCC smacked down

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the second circuit in New York has dealt the FCC a big blow. Although I don't think this story will get major play with main st. America, it is a big victory for freedom of speech over government bureaucracy.

From the people who may disagree with me I ask one question: define decency? What is decent to you may be indecent to me and visa-versa, so who gets to decide? Some guy who is appointed because his daddy is a general?

If somebody miraculously did present a concrete definition of decency that was specific enough as to not infringe on freedom of expression, it would be subject to change. The FCC decided that "fleeting expletives" were all of a sudden a burden on the moral creature that is an American. Their reasoning?

"the commission had found that the mere utterance of certain words implied that sexual or excretory acts were carried out and therefore violated the indecency rules."

WTF! I wouldn't have used the acronym but the actual words may have implied a sexual act?!

To those of you who are of the opinion that TV is "out of control" or crude language is now "acceptable" (or whatever) I would suggest watching movies from the 80's. This weekend I saw the original Ghostbusters movie again. Released in 1984, the movie has several expletives and an overt sexual innuendo. The rating: PG. Today it could be fined over $300,000 if it was shown on network TV.

1 comment:

BillT said...

"concrete definition of decency"

As you mention - not possible. And, in the interest of liberty, it is improper to try to narrow it down.

Public morality - unfortunately, this is true of public education - should aim to provide the bare minimum of guidance to individual actions and expect the least from each individual.

It is the individual's responsibility to aim to be better than bare minimum, but society can't make that demand. We're built solidly on Locke's concept of the social contract, so we evolve and adapt, but maintain that standard which is least intrusive.