What's next? Banning gays from TN?
March 18, 2004 5:45 PM   Subscribe

''Complaints should no longer be denied because of a lack of tape, transcript or significant excerpt''. Evidence? We don't need no evidence. Indecent use or not, the FCC will now crack down on all uses of the F-word. I can only assume this will give Stern even more fodder for his new liberal radio show.
posted by FreezBoy (47 comments total)

 
It is a shame that Mr Stern is not allowed to speak his mind. It is also a shame that Mr Stern has so little to say about anything.
posted by Postroad at 5:49 PM on March 18, 2004


FUCK!
posted by Shane at 5:58 PM on March 18, 2004


This is sort of OT, but what happens exactly if the radio stations, no joke intended, tell the FCC to go fuck itself?

Does the government actually have the technological ability to make a radio station stop broadcasting? Can a station hit with a fine refuse to pay? Or, on a lesser scale, start threatening to broadcast statements against the FCC or something?

I'm thinking of the Echostar/FCC and TimeWarner/ABC deal here... can't Infinity or Clear Channel just start playing "George Bush is trying to censor your radio" messages until they back off? What does the government do to that- have the army fire rockets at dishes or something?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:09 PM on March 18, 2004


Well XQUZYPHYR, the FCC drags the broadcast companies, asserts jus\risiction and obtains a legal judgement. If they broadcast after that its essentially contempt of court.

Now if they ramp up the stand off as you envision, well thats approaching civil war.
posted by BentPenguin at 6:24 PM on March 18, 2004


This is sort of OT, but what happens exactly if the radio stations, no joke intended, tell the FCC to go fuck itself?

The FCC pulls their license. And if they continue to broadcast, I would assume they would be arrested, the same as someone running a pirate radio station.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 6:25 PM on March 18, 2004


The government has the same technological ability to make a radio station stop broadcasting as they have to make an habitual reckless driver stop driving: revoking the license. A station can refuse to pay a fine as simply as they can refuse to pay taxes. If you broadcast with a revoked license, the government can seize you broadcasting facilities. If you fail to pay fines the government can seize assets in lieu of those fines.

Or are you advocating that corporations need not follow the law? I disagree strongly with the ruling, but cheering corporate civil disobedience is unconscionable if you really begin to think about it (environmental regulations? Occupational safety? C'mon Uncle Sam, try and make me follow your unjust laws!).
posted by dchase at 6:27 PM on March 18, 2004


I'm not advocating violating the law in any way; just curious. It just seems that with all the talk about corporations having all this political control it's funny that these media companies seem to make no threat in regards to using their media power to harm those threatening them financially- even in legal ways.

I guess in the long run the big companies don't care about the censorship of network airwaves- after all, AOL-TW and Viacom and Murdoch all own their respective shares of cable and satellite services, and can make as much money as they want off premium content while pretending to adhere to the mandated moralism of the FCC. Why argue over not being allowed to say a word on CBS when you're the same company making 12 cents everytime someone orders a porno?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:33 PM on March 18, 2004


''The time has come for the commission to send a strong message that it is serious about enforcing the indecency laws of our country,'' he said.

But, why? Why has the time come?
posted by jaronson at 6:40 PM on March 18, 2004


But, why? Why has the time come?

Wardrobe-related malfunction activities.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:02 PM on March 18, 2004


Election time, need to appeal to Puritanical base to make sure they understand you're still "with them."
posted by The God Complex at 7:04 PM on March 18, 2004


But, why? Why has the time come?

cuz we have to show those dirty terrorists how fucking free america is.
posted by tsarfan at 7:06 PM on March 18, 2004


an expletive uttered by rock singer Bono on NBC was both indecent and profane.

In.fucking.sane.

When the hell did we step into this dystopian theocratic nightmare? I mean, was there a memo, and I missed it? It's language for god's sake. Remember as a kid learning "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"?

I think we should form a march, encircle the FCC and just chant "fuck" at them for awhile. If they don't explode, their ears don't fall off, they remain intact throughout...then I think we've proven that the word has no power to hurt them...so could they please put the Puritanical Judge robes back in the box. And even if they don't, we still get the joy of participating in the Million Fuck March. ;)

well thats approaching civil war.

You know, one wonders just how totalitarian the government would have to get before there would be an uprising?
posted by dejah420 at 7:21 PM on March 18, 2004


Personally I'd prefer that the radio be unregulated and then let the market determine what they broadcast. However that isn't the case and since the FCC is required by law to regulate them they should do it. I think the only thing worse then unnecessary laws is lax enforcement of them. Think about the electronic copyright law (I can't remember the name, but it was passed in congress in 1997) and not a single case was prosecuted until last year. When there is ample disobeying of the law without enforcement it basically means the laws do not exist (think about signaling laws for cars which police only use when they want to search someone for drugs). It's not fair to pass a law and then not enforce it; the government sends a message that it's ok. Then if they selective pick out someone years after the law is passed, that's entirely unfair. So I think that since indecency laws do exist the FCC should enforce them vigourously.

So to tie up my little tirade with the actual post I think that it's unfair to require that all stations record all of their broadcasts, but I also think it's unfair that someone should be required to have a recording of it to report and have an indecency violation stick. It's unreasonable to think that Joe Average is gonna tape record the radio broadcast he listens to in order to report any language he might hear, but if he does complain (especially if someone else can corroborate it) it should be taken seriously.
posted by BackwardsHatClub at 7:30 PM on March 18, 2004


I can see how the commission could feel that the word "fuck" would be profane and obscene, but this is what I fail to understand:

...[T]he commission previously equated profanity with language challenging God's divinity.

There is no god. Apparently I just swore.

Oh, and "fuck" is not in MetaFilter's dictionary.
posted by botono9 at 7:37 PM on March 18, 2004


I am glad that Howard is taking this stand. Many have pegged him a conservative over the years, but he is quite the libertarian and fairly populist, the two most redeeming political values in my book. On the other hand, oh what a political friend. I will never forget the first time I heard Howard on the air. He had just come on in the afternoon in NYC and that afternoon he was encouraging people to call in and discuss their experiences having sex with animals. One caller admitted (who knows whether truthfully) that he had fucked his best friend's dog. Howard asking him whether he felt guilty at all about this incident was just too much. I wonder how Powell would feel about that. Powell is such a dork. I bet he keeps a stack of Playboys in his bathroom.
posted by caddis at 7:39 PM on March 18, 2004


I just heard Bill O'Reilly say the f-word. TAKE HIM DOWN!!!
posted by hammurderer at 7:53 PM on March 18, 2004


One problem with this is that some people have faulty hearing. For example, didn't many people think "Louie Louie" was obscene for years and, it turns out, it was just dumb?

If Ol' Man Tucker hears the word "fuck" when somebody is singing about their "duck" or "truck," is the station out of luck?
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:18 PM on March 18, 2004


I resent the fact that the air waves are censored at all. Anything that can be said in the privacy of your own home, or in any private forum should be fair game on the air waves.

The human ear does not come standard with a radio reciever. YOU MUST INTENTIONALLY PURCHASE A RADIO TO LISTEN TO THE RADIO.

Same as with a tv, or cable, or a book. And if you don't like it, it can be easily switched off. I don't see how prudes can be so fucking stupid.

these people need to stop sanitizing the world. we're heading the way of the taliban.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 8:34 PM on March 18, 2004


This is fucking ridiculous.

What a bunch of paternalistic assholes. Big government is great, so long as it's policing our language and morals, and not trying to redistribute wealth to help people.
posted by Dasein at 8:54 PM on March 18, 2004


Tell Powell to go fuck himself.

I sure did.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:12 PM on March 18, 2004


well thats approaching civil war.

It'd be about bloody time, too!

I understand that screeching about the daily hammerfalls that seem to push America further and further back into the dark ages becomes tiresome and chicken-littley after a while, particularly to those who have their fingertips buried in their ears and are chanting 'everything's fine everything's fine' to drown out the growing turmoil, but by the downy balls of the teenage jesus, something's got to give.

I have a suspicion that the next successful attack from Al Qaeda on American soil, which is inevitable, if massive enough, may be the trigger that either tips the balance into some kind of theocratic rule-by-decree nightmare, or sparks off war on the streets.

Or maybe not. Sure be interesting to watch, though. From a distance.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:19 PM on March 18, 2004


Another American Taliban. Gotta protect the proles from those nasty MaGiC wOrDs!

Canada should set up a bunch of radio towers along the border, broadcasting the seven deadly magic words into the US, 24/7. It would be too laugh.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 PM on March 18, 2004


c/too/to/. Damn. I mean, gosh-darn.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 PM on March 18, 2004


Kerry would drop F-bomb on unsuspecting world, Bush warns
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:54 PM on March 18, 2004


On the Yeastie Girlz 7" from 1988, they had a great short ditty called FCC. Look around for the mp3. Here are the lyrics (it's an acapella rap song):

We're the Yeastie Girlz, we're on the radio now
We wanna talk about sex but we're not allowed
'Cos the FCC is crackin' down hard
They want everything to sound just like a Hallmark card.
They won't even let us talk about number two
But I wonder what they call it when they get it on their shoe.
We know what word they're usin' but we can't say it
'Cos the FCC is full of bull____!
We're the Yeastie Girlz and we're here to say
That you'd better do somethin' and right away
Yeah you better wake up and start usin' your head
Because your first amendment rights are just about dead
Well the FCC will tell ya, or haven't ya heard
They think that freedom of speech is a dirty word
Well the Yeasties got a message from the people who agree
With the stupid regulations of the FCC
You think your kids will be corrupted if they hear about poo
Well there's nothin' wrong with them we think the problem is you
Biology is neat we like out bodies just fine
If your tellin' us it's dirty, well we say you're lyin!
They call it a free county but it feels like a prison
So write the Federal Communications Commission
Get your pen and paper ready 'cos here's the address:
1919 M Street North West
Washington DC 20036
Just tell 'em that they're stupid year tell 'em that they're di-
stroying our expression 'cos they think it's outrageous
Tell 'em that they're livin' in the dark ages
We're the Yeastie Girlz and we're here to say
We want the FCC to go away, yeah go away!

posted by gluechunk at 12:00 AM on March 19, 2004


"It is also a shame that Mr Stern has so little to say about anything."

Pot. Kettle. Black.
Eat flaming dogs***, you c*cksucking, Streisand loving, m*therf*cking ___hole!
Hit the road, postchoad.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:54 AM on March 19, 2004


The human ear does not come standard with a radio reciever. YOU MUST INTENTIONALLY PURCHASE A RADIO TO LISTEN TO THE RADIO.

Apparently not. ;-)
posted by shepd at 1:00 AM on March 19, 2004


I invite you to a convivial chat in Metatalk, dear friends.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:24 AM on March 19, 2004


I have a suspicion that the next successful attack from Al Qaeda on American soil, which is inevitable, if massive enough, may be the trigger that either tips the balance into some kind of theocratic rule-by-decree nightmare, or sparks off war on the streets.

Or maybe not. Sure be interesting to watch, though. From a distance.


stavros, you make me weep.
posted by timeistight at 1:32 AM on March 19, 2004


Why do people think that Stern should have something to say? He's a comedian... why is that so hard for the blunt of mind to comprehend. Vote Bush out of office. Donate to Kerry.

Stern was fined for a July 2001 broadcast. Insane. This is the religious right hijacking our government, pure and simple. It is all politics and the Bush camp of religious zealots really goofed big by messing with Stern. Watch and see...

Stern hasn't paid a fine ever. And he hasn't been fined in the last 10 years. They thought this would be a good detractor from the mess that is the Bush administration... oops. Miscalculation... buh bye, now, one-termer.
posted by internook at 3:58 AM on March 19, 2004


One lousy breast (nipple covered, mind you) and a couple of cuss words, and the witch hunt begins.
posted by alumshubby at 4:52 AM on March 19, 2004


Heh. In the UK you can say "fucking cunts" at 8:30 in the evening, and even with a *handfull* of complaints, get away with it.

Is it now commonly accepted as redundant, to say " 'America' is so reactionary"?
posted by Blue Stone at 5:58 AM on March 19, 2004


What the fuck are people talking about when they say "the F-word?"
posted by nofundy at 6:14 AM on March 19, 2004


"we still get the joy of participating in the Million Fuck March. ;)"

I would LOVE to see the media coverage on the 'Million Fuck March'! The newscasters would have to refer to it as the Million f-word march and all of the video would take ages to blur each one of the protestor's 'fuck' signs.

I wonder how they would dance around that journalistic quagmire.
posted by PigAlien at 6:16 AM on March 19, 2004


My question is: "F-word"? Which word do they mean? I mean, why don't they just say the word? Oh, they can't cuz that would be violating the FCC rule.


OK -- just nod then. Do they mean "FRIG"? "FART?" "FLIPPIN"? "FARGIN"?
Or is it "FREEDOM"? "FARCE"? "FRITTERING"?


Oh fuck me. It's just too much.
posted by mooncrow at 7:25 AM on March 19, 2004


but by the downy balls of the teenage jesus

Oh, you glorious superfowl....Best. new. phrase. ever. I'm so stealing it. ;)

And now, I give the words of Rush...who seem prescient now...

They say there are strangers who threaten us,
Our immigrants and infidels.
They say there is strangeness to danger us
In our theatres and bookstore shelves,
That those who know what's best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves.
posted by dejah420 at 7:37 AM on March 19, 2004


OK -- just nod then. Do they mean "FRIG"? "FART?" "FLIPPIN"? "FARGIN"?
Or is it "FREEDOM"? "FARCE"? "FRITTERING"?


"FCC", evidently.
posted by Vidiot at 7:56 AM on March 19, 2004


"we still get the joy of participating in the Million Fuck March. ;)"

I don't know about you, but I had a completely different thing in mind when I read this. Now that would be a fun protest!
posted by me & my monkey at 8:10 AM on March 19, 2004


If it was a real Million Fuck March you wouldn't even be able to stand up when it was over.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:48 AM on March 19, 2004


The Yeastie Girlz 7" is my nomination for the worst record of all time. Like gluechunk says, it's an acapella rap. Done back when most left field attempts at rap came out sounding more like Dr. Seuss.
posted by bendybendy at 9:30 AM on March 19, 2004


If that address in the Yeastie girlz rap is accurate the FCC is just down the street. Maybe I should stroll down there at lunch and flip them the fuckin' bird ;)
posted by terrapin at 9:41 AM on March 19, 2004


Obligatory Canadian comparison:

"You were fucking Tessa Campanelli?!"
scroll to #1 at bottom
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:54 AM on March 19, 2004


five fresh fish Canada should set up a bunch of radio towers along the border, broadcasting the seven deadly magic words into the US, 24/7. It would be too laugh.

Similiar regulation exists in Canada though it is much more liberal. Plus at least 35% of the words would have to be spoken by a Canadian.
posted by Mitheral at 10:12 AM on March 19, 2004


The Yeastie Girlz 7" song reminds me of a NOFX song...
"Please Play This Song On The Radio"
We wrote this song, it's not too short, not too long
It's got back-up vocals in just the right places
It's got a few oohs and ahhs
It takes a little pause
Just before I sing the F word
Please play this song on the radio
Almost every line is sung on time
Almost every verse ends in a rhyme
The only problem we had was writing enough words
But that's okay, because the chorus is
Coming up again now
Please play this song on the radio
Please play this song on the radio
...Right about this time
Some shit head will be drawin a fat fuckin' line
Over the title on the back sleave
What an asshole!
So Mr. DJ I hope you've already made your segway
Or the FCC's gonna take a shit right on your head
Can't play this song on the radio
Can't play this song on the radio

On another interesting note, while googling up these lyrics, more than one lyric-engine left out the last big part of the song, and all in the same place.
posted by jmd82 at 10:53 AM on March 19, 2004


I heard "shit head" on the news Wednesday night - twice. I've seen topless women on the news several times.

Welcome to Canada. I'll leave the light on for you.
posted by deborah at 11:55 AM on March 19, 2004


There is, of course, the Monty Python "can't play this song on the radio" song. Not a vulgar word on it, natch.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:16 PM on March 19, 2004


On blumpkins and balloon knots and David Copperfields
posted by amberglow at 1:31 PM on March 19, 2004


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