Effing C.C.
October 8, 2003 11:37 AM   Subscribe

This is really, really f------ brilliant. The FCC says the f-word is OK on network TV, as long as it doesn't refer to the sexual act. Naturally, some groups don't like dirty talk. Is this a sea change in the level of discourse, or is the FCC finally acknowledging that it's useless to protect kids from our favorite four-letter word? (Second link is a .pdf file.)
posted by sixpack (104 comments total)

 
Let me be the first to say: fuck yeah!
posted by mathowie at 11:40 AM on October 8, 2003


. . . (but not in a sexual kind of way)
posted by dgaicun at 11:42 AM on October 8, 2003


So "fuck you" is okay, but "I want to fuck you" would be a no-no? Okay.
posted by bucko at 11:44 AM on October 8, 2003


fucking mathowie beat me to it. (that is certainly not in a sexual way)
posted by eyeballkid at 11:44 AM on October 8, 2003


. . . (but not in a sexual kind of way)

... not that there's anything wrong with that
posted by poopy at 11:45 AM on October 8, 2003


I hate all of you fuckers. (likewise)
posted by yhbc at 11:45 AM on October 8, 2003


About fucking time.
posted by thirteen at 11:46 AM on October 8, 2003


I don't get it. It's a word. A word that is losing its power and being replaced by "effing," which is okay to say and which everyone knows what it stands for.

So effing silly.
posted by archimago at 11:46 AM on October 8, 2003


The cruel forces of obscenity have notched a vitory. The moral fiber of our great traditional nation is now completely fucked.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:47 AM on October 8, 2003


Pretty fucking amazing if you ask me. Now please pass the fucking potatoes.
posted by a3matrix at 11:48 AM on October 8, 2003


being replaced by "effing,"

I always loved watching the Family Guy because they so often got to use "freakin'" which sounds closer to the actual thing. But with this new decision, it's (as Peter Griffin would say) "win, freakin' win, baby!"
posted by mathowie at 11:49 AM on October 8, 2003


I particularly enjoy watching the "Lethal Weapon" movie series on TV ... and hearing such things as: "I don't give a spit", or "Motherlover!" I had no idea people really speak like that.
posted by RavinDave at 11:51 AM on October 8, 2003


Man, don't any of you guys have kids?

This is a bad idea, but it was inevitable.
posted by kgasmart at 11:51 AM on October 8, 2003


fuck kids. (but not in a sexual way, of course. that would be fucking wrong.)
posted by shoepal at 11:56 AM on October 8, 2003


Naturally, some groups don't like dirty talk
Wow, wonder how this will go over in Louisiana. Found that folks there will say some foul things, yet watch yourself when around their children.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:57 AM on October 8, 2003


I yearn for the first time I hear Andy Sipowicz call a perp a fuckwit.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:57 AM on October 8, 2003


Is this letting-the-word-fuck-be-said-on-TV issue something I'd have to have a TV to care about?
posted by soyjoy at 11:57 AM on October 8, 2003


ravindave, I think the worst example of what you describe would have to be Scarface on TV.

THANK ME ?! NO! THANK YOU !!
posted by a3matrix at 11:58 AM on October 8, 2003


Oh, and by the way... fucking great first post, sixpack.
posted by soyjoy at 11:58 AM on October 8, 2003


I have to agree with shopal. Fuck kids.

The world is not a playground for your kids. The rest of us have to fucking live here too. And I, for one, am sick of being treated with the fucking kid gloves when it comes to what I am or am not allowed to hear on television or radio.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:59 AM on October 8, 2003


Does this extend to radio? How about the rest of the "7 words"?

When I was involved with college radio, we often had to either wait until after midnight, or be waiting by the mike/fader to "edit" great songs that weren't "air safe."
posted by antimony at 12:03 PM on October 8, 2003


And btw, who fucking cares about fuck ? I'd rather hear we're out of the so called "fucking economic depression".
posted by elpapacito at 12:04 PM on October 8, 2003


"The world is not a playground for your kids" ??!!

Actually, it is.
posted by kozad at 12:04 PM on October 8, 2003


So you can't say Fuck?
No.
And you can't say Shit?
No.
So you can't say I'm Eric Cartman the Fattest fucking piece of Shit in the world?
FUCK YOU!
posted by poopy at 12:04 PM on October 8, 2003


Actually, it is.

Actually, it's not.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:09 PM on October 8, 2003


the FCC justification was that the word "in the context presented here, did not describe sexual or excretory organs or activities"

that just confuses me. i don't understand why sexual or excretory organs or activities are so fucking unmentionable! it's not like society is going to descend into anarchy, is it, if they are mentioned? this is just needless repression! people need to chill out more!
posted by mokey at 12:12 PM on October 8, 2003


"The world is not a playground for your kids" ??!!

No, it's a playground for me! And I'm gonna write "Fuck" all over the monkey bars!!
posted by jonmc at 12:12 PM on October 8, 2003


the world needs more sexual fucking.
posted by poopy at 12:14 PM on October 8, 2003


my favorite f-word: fucknozzle
posted by shadow45 at 12:16 PM on October 8, 2003


WHAT.
THE.
FUCK.
FCC?
posted by fatbaq at 12:18 PM on October 8, 2003


That Bono, he's such a cunt.

(Not in a sexual way.)
posted by Blue Stone at 12:18 PM on October 8, 2003


Your kids are not fucking special. This is a good thing.
posted by angry modem at 12:21 PM on October 8, 2003


Well, you can prick your finger, but you can't finger your prick. Ah, George Carlin, you were ahead of your time.
posted by jon_kill at 12:24 PM on October 8, 2003


Besides don't you get kids by fucking?
posted by jonmc at 12:28 PM on October 8, 2003


I really hope this is on the daily show tonight.
posted by klaruz at 12:31 PM on October 8, 2003


This might make the "edited for TV" version of the Big Lebowski both more watchable and less funny.

given that some variation of the word fuck was used approximately 267 times, there really was no good way to clean it up. Many of the alternate phrases chosen for the clean version were quite humorous.

the fuck leader board (as of 04/10/2001):
1) Eddie Murphy Raw - 560 times
2) Do the Right Thing - 413 times
3) Casino - 362 times
4) The Big Lebowski - 267 times
5) Pulp Fiction - 257 times
6) GoodFellas - 246 times
7) Scarface - 206 times

I wonder how many of those fucks would fit the new interpretation, and how many would still be dirty.
posted by jester69 at 12:36 PM on October 8, 2003


Dirty words aren't obscene. The 6:00 news, now THAT'S obscene.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:37 PM on October 8, 2003


All this reminds me of that fucking South Park episode where they all wait around watching some fucking show where they are gonna say "shit" for the 1st time on TV.
Fuck.
posted by Nauip at 12:40 PM on October 8, 2003


I just hope they don't start censoring by content instead of words/nipples. Fuck.
posted by callmejay at 12:45 PM on October 8, 2003


Rude and/or offensive and/or violent? --- A OK! Show me more!!

Sexual? You fucking pervert!! --- Don't you dare expose me to that!
posted by eas98 at 12:46 PM on October 8, 2003


I think the fucking note that "[the fucking FCC] have previously found that fleeting and isolated remarks of this [fucking] nature do not [fucking] warrant commission [fucking] action" is probably more fucking important than the fucking obscenity analysis, and is why we probably won't hear more "fuck" on network fucking television. Fuckers. Incidentally, I've noticed some radio stations have stopped censoring "fuck" from music. Do any of you fuckers know if this is a recent development?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:47 PM on October 8, 2003


I prefer intercourse.
posted by ginz at 12:48 PM on October 8, 2003


It's not going to make any real difference for the average television show or prime time movie. It will make a bit of a difference for live television events since the networks won't have to be quite so uptight due to worrying about their licenses. Networks bow to their advertisers who in turn bow to consumers and they know that if the cast of everybodies favourite sitcom started spouting out "I'm going to fucking kill that fucking shit-headed asshole boyfriend of hers, I caught them fucking making out in the god-damned back of my fucking car" the consumers would revolt, advertisers would drop it like a bag of potatos and they'd be out of business. You might hear a few extra words in shows like NYPD Blue (is it still on any more?), but if your impressionable kid is up watching that show it's your own damned fault.
posted by substrate at 12:48 PM on October 8, 2003


Cunts.
posted by i_cola at 12:49 PM on October 8, 2003


I'm a big fan of Jon Favreau's show Dinner for Five, which is completely uncensored and puts it in perspective. It's just actors talking and a random fuck or shit doesn't really hamper the stories told or the show as a whole. If they bleeped them out, I'd probably notice it more.
posted by mathowie at 12:52 PM on October 8, 2003


Ahhh, my fellow Metafilter member - A fucking nice day to all of you!

"Dear FCC - Thank you so kindly and from the bottom of our hearts for the right to say FUCK on the public airwaves, as long as the use of the term FUCK refers only to things and acts which are FUCKED UP yet not sexual.

I commend your brave attempt to channel that stream - of the many meanings and connotations which FUCK has had over the course of the last several centuries - towards the nonsexual. FUCK shall heretofore be used only nonsexually and this, in turn, shall encourage the employment of more refined terms for the sexual and procreative act:

Making Love, we shall call the divinely splendiferous union of a man and a woman. We shall not refer to sex acts between members of the same sex - except in hushed whispers - and we shall furthermore refer to the more vulgar styles of the sex as "copulation, coitus, hank-panky, "getting it on", and so on.

It goes without saying that the wise - even Solomonic - dictates of the FCC have therefor banished to the furthest realms of the hell from whence they came, the terms "MotherFucker, FatherFucker, UncleFucker, Goatfucker, Chicken-Fucker" and so on. Good riddance, I say. We shall now turn disdainfully away from such ugly subjects and wield our right to employ the word FUCK (in moderation, as with all things) to refer to bad things - acts of violence, cruelty (sadism even), things and situations which are broken or dysfunctional, and so on.

Best regards,
Troutfishing in Blogdom"
posted by troutfishing at 12:54 PM on October 8, 2003


*sigh*
I guess this means no more Die Hard Comedy Gold like "Yippee Kay Yaye, Motherfalcon."
....
or would that be sexual?
posted by Espoo2 at 12:57 PM on October 8, 2003


The parent/nonparent thing comes up a lot on Metafilter, doesn't it. By asserting that the world is too a playground for my kid(s), I am not saying that it is not also a playground for adults. Just as parents can get righteous about making the environment safe for little ones, nonparents can get indignant about being asked to make allowances for the differing needs children have.

As per this discussion, I think it's about time we attached a little less importance to the F-word. As substrate pointed out, this doesn't mean that seven-year olds are going to be exposed to a shitload of obscenity, if parents do their job.

Some of my 11-year old's favorite artists have a penchant for words like "motherfucker," but it doesn't bother me. She knows she's not supposed to ask her teacher "Can I go to the motherfucking bathroom, bitch?"
posted by kozad at 1:07 PM on October 8, 2003


...the consumers would revolt, advertisers would drop it like a bag of potatos and they'd be out of business. You might hear a few extra words in shows like NYPD Blue...

Wrong and wrong.

Listen, man, this is how it happens. You might indeed initially hear the words on a show like NYPD Blue. Remember when that was such a big deal, when the show first came on the air and was saying all sorts of things... that you can now hear on the average sitcom.

So it gets on NYPD Blue and the taboo is broken. Give it a few years and it filters down to the point where at one time it might have been legitimate, used to make a storyline more realistic or even advance that storyline, but now it becomes gratuitious. Hey, it's already been done, no big deal, right, when folks on "8 Simple Rules" or whatever other pathetic sitcom is desperately in search of some sort of edge starts employing "fuck" in the manner in which "bitch" and "bastard" are now employed, which is to say cheaply, in an effort to afford street cred to a program where the writing and acting will afford none.

And the advertisers might be frightened if the audience hadn't been lulled into such a sense of drooling servility by television that they don't even think to change the channel.

Finally, kozad, I might say that your kid listening to "motherfucker" all the time might realize that saying that to the teacher can result in trouble, but don't you think that it increases the likelihood of her using the word in some context, and doesn't it bother you when your 11-year-old daughter does so?
posted by kgasmart at 1:17 PM on October 8, 2003


Reminds me of the mom who was sick and tired of the foul language her two young sons always used. She vowed that the next boy who swore would regret it.

Next morning at breakfast she asked the kids what they wanted for breakfast. "I guess I'll just have some fucking pancakes," replied the one.

Mom proceeded to beat the tar out of him, then picked him up by the scruff of the neck and tossed him out of the kitchen.

"Now," she said, catching her breath, "what do you want to eat?"

"Well," said the other son, "I sure as hell don't want any fucking pancakes."
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:22 PM on October 8, 2003


i encourage my nephews to say motherfucker around their elders. it's quite entertaining really.
posted by poopy at 1:24 PM on October 8, 2003


"Man, don't any of you guys have kids?"

Yeah, I do, and they're even of an impressionable age. Nonetheless I applaud this fucking ruling. If for some reason I were to decide that I didn't want them to hear a specific word coming out of a television perhaps I would -- you know -- take some sort of responsibility for the material I expose them to.

'"The world is not a playground for your kids"
Actually, it is.'


No, it's not. I would vocally characterize a parent expressing that view to me as being unfit. And privately, I would have far harsher things to say.
posted by majick at 1:33 PM on October 8, 2003


So this fuck... it vibrates? Er... um, excuse me a moment. *steps out of the room*
posted by snarkywench at 1:38 PM on October 8, 2003


SevenSix Dirty Words.
(Maybe five, if motherfucker is OK, too.)
posted by me3dia at 1:57 PM on October 8, 2003


I'm sorry if I'm derailing the conversation about the FCC ruling by getting into a discussion of parenting, but as I've just been called an unfit parent, perhaps I should clarify my position that "the world is a playground for my kids."

I mean that the world is the place we all live and learn. Kids don't learn about the world sequestered from the world.

I supervise my kid on the playground; I supervise my kid's explorations of the world. I made the statement in order to suggest that it's not too much to ask that nonparents accept children's presence in the world, notwithstanding the fact that some parents are assholes.

And as far as kgasmart goes, my daughter doesn't listen to profanity "all the time;" and if she grows up to use the f-word, well, I don't care. Some of my best friends say "fuck." As well as some of our worst presidents.
posted by kozad at 2:00 PM on October 8, 2003


So... I was thinking.

How many times a day do you use the word fuck? How many times a day do you hear the word fuck on primetime tv? Now ask yourself, how many times a day do you kill somebody? How many times a day do you see somebody get killed on primetime tv?

What's worse for kids, the word fuck, or killing people? Why don't parents make a stink about the other one? Their kids could learn how to kill...
posted by klaruz at 2:04 PM on October 8, 2003


[total fucking tangent]
I find that parentstv.org web site fascinating and entertaining in that car-crash kinda way, just like reading CAP reports.

Anyway, here's the crux of what they find wrong with The Simpsons:

"The show ridicules entrepreneurs, religion, educators, and law enforcement officials, and has occasionally incorporated foul language into its dialogue."

I knew there was something wrong with that fucking Groening character, lashing out at innocent people that... who... umm... think of new ways to, you know... make themselves rich... or not.
[\tangent]
posted by badstone at 2:07 PM on October 8, 2003


Look, kids see the world as a playground, so it is in some sense true to say the it is. That doesnt mean we have to sanitise it for them. However, having just spent several hours with a teenage boy who wants to play fuckin' M&M (BTW, does he know he's named after some shitty candy? Just asking) at top volume in my car, I have to say the fucking songs about sexually assaulting 15 y.o. girls are the more disturbing. Most of the rest of his obscenities - excluding classics like 'Stan' - are just tiresome. I don't have to put up with that, as it bores me.

Which won't stop me from uttering the odd curse, as & when. Just not in front of the vicar, I'd guess. Good ole english hyp-hop-crisy, I s'pose.

Fuckin' whatever.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:07 PM on October 8, 2003


Personally I'd rather watch violent fucking than fucking violence (but the latter not in a sexual way).
posted by ed at 2:14 PM on October 8, 2003


I must be getting old.

People who litter their speech with careless 'fucks', in my humble, are. But then, Americans.... ah hell, I'll just leave that fucking thought unfinished.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:15 PM on October 8, 2003


Well, after all these comments, I'm suprised no one seems to have mentioned that this is not going to set the precedent for sitcoms and other shows having the word 'fuck'. The FCC could have chosen to reprimand (penalize?) the broadcaster for allowing the word to be broadcast, but essentially said, "well, this once we'll let you get away with it 'cause you know, it was just really short, one occurence on a live television event and wasn't particularly gratuitous." I doubt we'll be hearing it all over the airwaves now. It still is taboo.

That having been said, when I was growing up, my father told me he didn't care what I said, "words are only words and can do no harm". I'm always reminded of the playground taunt, "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."

I told this to some of my friends, who then swore in class and told the teacher it was ok to swear. My dad asked us not to tell other kids it was ok to swear after that, but he still didn't care if we swore.

I myself think swearing is rather distasteful and a poor way to communicate. Nonetheless I do it much more than I'd like! I just can't understand what all the fuss is over.
posted by PigAlien at 2:18 PM on October 8, 2003


my daughter doesn't listen to profanity "all the time;" and if she grows up to use the f-word, well, I don't care. Some of my best friends say "fuck." As well as some of our worst presidents.

Listen, OK, apologies for "all the time," but you didn't answer the question: How would you feel to hear your 11-year-old daughter saying "motherfucker," not when she grows up but right now, at age 11?

And if it's not OK to say it, why is it OK to listen to it, to consume it?

Our pop culture has become this mechanism which packages and sells our most primitive instincts to children. You want sex? We got Britney and Christina. You want aggression? Check out the video for Limp Bizkit's "Eat You Alive."

Misogyny? You're soaking in it.

And then the hipper-than-thou turn around and prounounce in frosty tones, Well, it's foolish to try and think you can protect your children from hearing words like fuck, and maybe it is, but I don't see where we ought to shovel it at them or sit back and permit it to be shoveled out them with nary a protest.
posted by kgasmart at 2:19 PM on October 8, 2003


Welcome to the fucking 21st century, America.
posted by salmacis at 2:20 PM on October 8, 2003


Ok here's how I handled my kids and nasty language. From birth and up to the time I lost my power to exclusively control them(this would be around age 12 when outside forces become far too powerful to fight). I loved and nourished them, never allowed daycare to soil their souls, and kept the world around them very pristine. I controlled their every move and action monitoring school work, activities, friends, movies, television music, and a whole catalog of words including "shutup". They entered middle school as well rounded and disciplined pre-teens.

Enter puberty. Slowly your child cuts the cord and you are no longer what sustains your child's every brainfart so you better hope you did your job and did it well. Immediately start using the word fuck and any other word you don't want them to use. I promise your child has heard it long before he or she is going to hear it coming out of your mouth and you are about to make it a very uncool word. I promise it works. Plus have the word badmotherfucker tattooed somewhere on your body. That works great too plus it comes with a bonus regarding the tattoo and piercing issues that will come up down the road. They both turned out to be pretty fuckin' great adults if I do say so myself.
posted by oh posey at 2:21 PM on October 8, 2003


What's worse for kids, the word fuck, or killing people? Why don't parents make a stink about the other one?

"All right, marshall, we're gonna fuck ya now... but we're gonna fuck ya sloooowwww..."
posted by soyjoy at 2:26 PM on October 8, 2003


i don't understand why sexual or excretory organs or activities are so fucking unmentionable!

What's worse for kids, the word fuck, or killing people? Why don't parents make a stink about the other one?

Glimmers of sense in a senseless society.
posted by rushmc at 2:37 PM on October 8, 2003


Any parents who think their 11 (or 10, or 9) year old hasn't heard the word "fuck", or its variants, or other profanities: sorry, you are just fooling yourself. I sure know I had heard it at that age--like little Ralphie, from my father. But I also heard it on the playground, etc. Now, if I had uttered it in front of my parents at that age there would be hell to pay. And my father, although he, like Raphie's dad, "worked in obscenities they way another artist may work in oils," was the type who would definitely write a letter to the FCC and a TV station complaining about about it if it was heard on TV. Fuck, he'd call the station and cuss someone out for it. What I find has changed over the years since I was 10 years old (nearly 30 years ago) is that the kids don't seem to know (or care) that these words aren't socially acceptable, or at least they weren't in my generation. I hear kids this age walking home from school through my neighborhood using profanity among their friends that would (in my day) "make a truck driver blush." That day is gone.
posted by AstroGuy at 2:42 PM on October 8, 2003


What I find has changed over the years since I was 10 years old (nearly 30 years ago) is that the kids don't seem to know (or care) that these words aren't socially acceptable, or at least they weren't in my generation. I hear kids this age walking home from school through my neighborhood using profanity among their friends that would (in my day) "make a truck driver blush." That day is gone.

Well, and that's it, isn't it? And to what degree has pop culture caused this?

I think it's probably primarily to blame. I'm not naive enough to think a kid is going to get to age three, these days, without hearing the word. I mean, my own two-year-old son is destined, probably, to hear it out of my mouth before he hears it anywhere else. And my wife will scream at me to knock if off in front of the kid, and you know, she'll be absolutely right.

But I think there's a difference between a kid hearing a word that slips out inadvertently in a moment of pain or anger and a kid who consumes the word, has it in effect fed to him, via pop culture. I want my own kid to grow up knowing that it is a word he shouldn't say. Certainly his peers will tell him it's perfectly OK. But when a large corporation like Sony or Universal is giving the nod-nod, wink-wink, then I fucking resent it.
posted by kgasmart at 3:06 PM on October 8, 2003


Espoo2, in fact, my favorite is the TV edition of The Usual Suspects:
"Give me the flippin' keys, you Fairy Godmother."
posted by teradome at 3:06 PM on October 8, 2003


How would you feel to hear your 11-year-old daughter saying "motherfucker," not when she grows up but right now, at age 11?

Odds are good that the daughter-in-question, like most other 11 year olds, uses words like that all the time. Not in front of adults, but around her friends. Kids do that - swearing makes them feel grown-up especially because it's something adults disapprove of. Listening to Eminem doesn't teach them to swear, unless you're going to keep them in an everything-proof bubble, they're going to find out about it somehow. Better to be a reasonable parent who sets and explains rules about when and where it's acceptable, than an unrealistic parent who thinks that 11 year olds don't know and use the word "motherfucker". Swearing doesn't do them any harm, and most kids are surprisingly amenable to reasonable restrictions on their free speech.

I don't see where we ought to shovel it at them or sit back and permit it to be shoveled out them with nary a protest.

There's a simple solution - if you don't want your kids to hear swearing on TV, don't let them watch shows where there might be swearing. If you don't want it "shoveled at them", turn the shovel off.
posted by biscotti at 3:10 PM on October 8, 2003


What irritates me about obscenities is that they are trite. They replace more descriptive and imaginative words, reducing the speaker's ability to effectively communicate. ("Fuck you!" "Oh, yeah?!? Well, fuck you, you fuckin' fucker!")

Would you rather hear,"So this fuckin' guy comes in" or "So this single-helix mutoid shows up"? The latter is much more entertaining and evocative, IMO. Obscenities are the mark of the lazy and unread.
posted by joaquim at 3:10 PM on October 8, 2003


this thread is fucking stupid
posted by reality at 3:27 PM on October 8, 2003


So this single-helix mutoid shows up

Put down the 10-sided dice & back out of the [fucking] room...
posted by i_cola at 3:29 PM on October 8, 2003


My favorite TV edit was "Melon Farmer," from a repeat of Die Hard, I think.
posted by brism at 3:34 PM on October 8, 2003


There's a simple solution - if you don't want your kids to hear swearing on TV, don't let them watch shows where there might be swearing. If you don't want it "shoveled at them", turn the shovel off.

Exactly. I know many parents who do just that, and even listen to music in-store or online to see if it's too dirty for their kids. They take responsibility--it's a good thing.
posted by amberglow at 3:35 PM on October 8, 2003


I fuckin' love this fuckin' ruling 'cause it matches up with how people actually fuckin' talk. I think part of the success that shows like the Sopranos have had is due to the swearing that cable allows, which is more realistic than the Fairy Godmother dubbing you see on network TV.

swearing makes them feel grown-up especially because it's something adults disapprove of

It's also something adults are hypocritical about.

What irritates me about obscenities is that they are trite. They replace more descriptive and imaginative words

I am overfuckingwhelmed. I disagree.

"Fuck you!" "Oh, yeah?!? Well, fuck you, you fuckin' fucker!"

This could be a transcript of one of many phone conversations I've had with longtime friends.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:43 PM on October 8, 2003


"So this single-helix mutoid shows up"?

"So this single-motherfucking-helix mutoid shows up" is more evocative and entertaining still.
posted by biscotti at 3:43 PM on October 8, 2003


Obscenities are the mark of the lazy and unread.

yeah, like richard pryor and eddie murphy and many other famous (and not-so-famous, namely the poor/minorities) people who didn't have the luxury of sophisticated etiquette that you obviously possess.
posted by poopy at 3:47 PM on October 8, 2003


Bono can swear whenever he wants in my book.
posted by will at 4:06 PM on October 8, 2003


Regarding raising kids, television, and pop culture: garbage in, garbage out.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:12 PM on October 8, 2003


Next thing you know, cartoon characters will be droppin' F-Bombs on TV.
posted by Rattmouth at 6:47 PM on October 8, 2003


I fuckin' love this fuckin' ruling 'cause it matches up with how people actually fuckin' talk.

How some people talk. Not everyone speaks like a toilet backing up.
posted by rushmc at 7:23 PM on October 8, 2003


the FCC justification was that the word "in the context presented here, did not describe sexual or excretory organs or activities"

non swear words that describe sexual or excretory organs aren't nixed though - that justification doesn't make any sense even by its own standards.

As for the ruling, it seems likely to set a precedent. The idea that this won't really affect anything doesn't make sense to me; obviously this is a taboo that's been slowly eroding over the last half-century, and it only seems natural that after movies, then cable, eventually network tv would soften its attitude to the f-word. Maybe it'll never be used in a state of the union address, but only because it would serve no purpose and be too casual, not because it will remain inherently unsayable in any serious way.

I think there's a generational element. People my age use fuck all the time, but although I have liberal parents, who I have no problem swearing in front of, I'm not sure I've ever heard my dad say anything stronger than "damn" and my mom (who's british & a little younger) uses swear words only to express anger, ie, doesn't accentuate her speech with them (as in, 'that's fucking brilliant'). My parents didn't teach me to use swear words; I learned it in the culture I grew up in, and it seems like a necessary part of my culture somehow. Kids growing up now are probably even less sensitized to the difference of swear words from other words, and if they end up on TV and everywhere else, eventually they won't be differentiated. Maybe new swear words will arise, or maybe the only taboo part of language will be categorical epithets, or maybe language will truly be unable to offend us in untranslatable ways in the future.

I think I'm gonna expand my efforts to use old-fashioned exclamations like "oh, jesus, joseph and mary!" in place of standard swears... fuck has been getting boring recently anyway, and this seems like another nail in the coffin. We gotta get more creative. Although I will always have a certain affection for the word, somehow.
posted by mdn at 7:45 PM on October 8, 2003


"The world is not a playground for your kids" ??!!
Actually, it is.
Actually it's not.
Yes, It is.
No, it's not.
This isn't an argument! This is contradiction!
Look, in order to argue with you I have to take a contradictory position!
No you don't!
Yes I do---


If you kids don't settle down right this very minute I'm gonna turn this web page around! Don't make me come back there!
posted by ZachsMind at 8:18 PM on October 8, 2003


Best swear ever: "Oh, poopstains!"
posted by five fresh fish at 8:20 PM on October 8, 2003


My favorite TV edit was "Melon Farmer" ... "Give me the flippin' keys, you Fairy Godmother." ... "Yippee Kay Yaye, Motherfalcon."

These are hilarious. Does anyone know of a website that catalogues them.
posted by dgaicun at 8:29 PM on October 8, 2003


Wouldn't it be fun if tv producers go back and re-do everything to match the new rules? (a reverse of the bowdlerizing they do now)
"what you fuckin' talkin' about, willis?"
"kiss mah fuckin' grits!"
"shut the fuck up, ya fuckin' meathead!"
posted by amberglow at 8:37 PM on October 8, 2003


Favorite TV Dubbing: Planes, Trains and Automobiles
"Why don't you just blow it out your Kazoo!"
posted by fatbobsmith at 8:58 PM on October 8, 2003


Expletive infixation.
Get a strong-weak-strong-weak stress pattern of four or more syllables and infix your expletive: Alafuckinbama, Macefuckindonia. Different effects when used with fewer syllables: Ifuckinran, Yufuckinkon.

Open a six with a friend. Take out your atlas. Hilarity ensues. Or your money back.

>to play fuckin' M&M (BTW, does he know he's named after some shitty candy? Just asking)
Candy rapper?
posted by philfromhavelock at 9:01 PM on October 8, 2003


Does anyone know of a website that catalogues them.

Yeah. MetaFilter.

Fuckwit.
posted by yhbc at 9:04 PM on October 8, 2003


Eminem is a thin candy shell around a cheap fake-chocolate centre. Aptly named, he is.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:34 PM on October 8, 2003


Ok, someone explain this to me.

"Fuck" is fine. But you still can't say "GODDAMMIT." You can say "God" and "Damn", but combining the two is, what, blasphemy or something?

Fucking puritanical country.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:51 PM on October 8, 2003


"Fuck" is fine. But you still can't say "GODDAMMIT." You can say "God" and "Damn", but combining the two is, what, blasphemy or something?

Probably based on the same rationale as the policy of bleeping "mother" rather than "fucker" in "motherfucker".
posted by biscotti at 11:14 PM on October 8, 2003


"Fuck" is fine. But you still can't say "GODDAMMIT."

I was under the impression that they DID start using 'goddammit' on television somewhere in the late nineties.
posted by dgaicun at 11:36 PM on October 8, 2003


THREAD FUCK COUNT: 148

come on, guys! you haven't even beaten SCARFACE!
posted by jimmy at 4:59 AM on October 9, 2003


My parents didn't teach me to use swear words; I learned it in the culture I grew up in, and it seems like a necessary part of my culture somehow.

Reading that made me sad, for some reason. I'm glad my culture remains more flexible than that, I guess.
posted by rushmc at 7:01 AM on October 9, 2003


Yeah, I remember Archie Bunker using "goddamn." "All in the Family" pretty much started this taboo-smashing language - and should be held accountable for Bono's actions. All of them.
posted by soyjoy at 7:18 AM on October 9, 2003


I'm curious, why there exists an FCC? By what notion should I give power to some faceless group to dictate my morals?

This is what it's about, isn't it? Their so called moral standard, will shut down some entrepreneur's business based on their idea of what is or isn't moral? That being using swear words on air, dependant whether you are broadcasting through radio or tv, but cable [which you pay extra for?] has a different moral standard.

I think all networks can self police themselves enough to avoid prime time gaffes. Am I mistaken?

What's up with that? Why not just fire the lot of them. No more FCC, disbanded.

It's akin to that President dictating what the country's "so called" morals will be and everyone should just toe the line. Hmm?
posted by alicesshoe at 7:42 AM on October 9, 2003


I think all networks can self police themselves enough to avoid prime time gaffes. Am I mistaken?

Networks are motivated strictly by ratings (which translates into advertisers, who translate into revenue). Advertisers' direct input may be a secondary concern, but sufficient ratings will both deafen the networks to the advertisers' complaints (because new advertisers will rush to fill the void) and silence the complaints themselves. The idea is that there should be some consideration other than money in deciding what will air to a public heterogeneous in age, maturity, aesthetics, and values. You may agree or disagree with this view, but it is difficult to dispute that there are few criteria operative today that don't involve dollar signs.
posted by rushmc at 8:37 AM on October 9, 2003


Sometimes the word fuck can be funny...and in certain contexts, powerful....but I think so called "swear" words are losing their power and their importance, which I think is actually kind of sad.

It's not that the letter f u c and k strung together are actually damaging or evil. It that the word carries with it a soceitally agreed upon "rudeness". Which is to say, the word is rude. Shit is rude word too. So is cunt. Some people think cunt is really the worst word (but not the British, who think everyone's a cunt). There are some people I know that would rather be called a donkey raping shiteater than a cunt.

When I was younger, the very first Kurt Vonnegut book I read was Hocus Pocus. One of the things the protagonist of the book (if he can be called that) say can paraphrased as such:

You should never curse if you want people to pay attention to what you have to say - especially if it's something they may not want to hear. By cursing you give them a valid reason not to listen to it. If you can say what they don't want to hear in a polite and civil manner, then failing to take heed at your words is their own fault.

Like I said, I don't think cursing is necesarily bad. But, I do feel that our increasing comfort with it signifies a deeper cultural ill -- that we are becoming a ruder, more careless, less civil and more thoughtless people.

To put in terms you may understand better: we're turning into a bunch of fucking assholes.
posted by jaded at 9:27 AM on October 9, 2003


Reading that made me sad, for some reason. I'm glad my culture remains more flexible than that, I guess.

oh relax. "necessary" was probably too strong, but I think integral would be true - it's just part of the world I grew up in, the way the pixies, tarantino, and doc martens were. It doesn't mean I can't relate to people or places where those things are completely absent; of course I can, and regularly do. In fact, those things are mostly nostalgic at this stage, rather than part of my everyday life. But the point is, we all have connections to specifics within a community, and language has a great impact on that. The culture of my adolescence would not have been the same without "fuck" (that's not a value judgment; merely a statement).
posted by mdn at 11:24 AM on October 9, 2003


Fair enough! I'm still glad it was less integral to my own.
posted by rushmc at 4:57 PM on October 9, 2003


As other people have said, kids know about curse words. It's not some big secret that people are keeping from them and considering that it's often a "think of the children" kind of thing aside from a variety of different prudes most people don't really have a problem with it. I'm still amazed to see movies rated R or such merely for using... y'know... words. Still, getting back on track. I've been cursing for a long time, I never did it to rebel, or seem grown-up, it was just how I speak. I wasn't imitating something, I was just expressing myself as I saw fit in a particular context. Right now I'm 22 and I've never cursed around my parents. I can't rightly say why, but it just doesn't seem... well... right. They're not rigidly strict or anything, but I always got into the habit of self-policing myself for their benefit... although I'm not sure why, it just was one of those things you're not supposed to do or you'll get in trouble for.

I suspect most kids are like this. They know how to curse and they do for their own reasons. They actually have a fucking vocabulary and although they are probably smart enough to realize that their parents are going to be prudes until they turn 18 or some other random age when it's suddenly ok they watch themselves and change nothing.

There's no real reason to try and change the rest of the world. If you maintain that kids do it because it's taboo and grown up, then don't make it taboo. Don't make it a big deal and it won't be. Curse when you want, because you want to and don't let anyone else fuck with you about it.
posted by Belgand at 2:00 AM on October 11, 2003


[Bids to up the curse index...]

I reckon there's a fuckin element of the Irish culture in it, Bono's fuckin swearing on tv.

When I was 10 and living in Ireland, my aged Auntie May cursed like a fuckin trooper.

When I was a grown up, I was much less surprised when she was reported as saying to my brother: "...that Missus Thatcher - I'd shoot her feckin' hole out!"

Much more shocking was the implied mutilation - by then, May's mundane cursing was par for the fuckin course, mate.

BTW: I don't want to hear of any fuckin yanks over here on fuckin holiday making fuckin faux-pas , calling us fuckin limeys 'cunts'. Only my brothers, my sister and my lover can do that, mkay?
posted by dash_slot- at 1:55 PM on October 13, 2003


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