ABC censors "Christ"?
May 19, 2001 12:23 AM   Subscribe

ABC censors "Christ"? Very odd. On the 5/18 broadcast of Politically Incorrect on ABC, a word was bleeped (either "Christ" or "Jesus") and Bill Maher's lips digitally obscured when he was making a joke/observation that Christ/Jesus (it wasn't clear which he was saying) would be compassionate to someone who needed the drug to ease their pain. Does anyone know more on this?
posted by owillis (46 comments total)
Also thanks to Tivo for giving me JFK/Zapruder quality back and forth to examine the moment...
posted by owillis at 12:28 AM on May 19, 2001

I'm glad someone else saw this, I thought my meds were starting to give out.

I like how he network accredited with showing us all Dennis Franz's ass is now worried they might offend someone.

While we're at it, when did "goddamn" stating getting bleeped? I remember them saying that as often as they wished when they aired movies only few years ago.
posted by dong_resin at 1:38 AM on May 19, 2001

I thought I heard him say Jesus and thought something was bleeped out that was part of a reference to pot, but I guess I just imagined that. Oh well.

I recall watching a movie recently on either ABC or NBC and they changed "goddamn" to "golly darn" which still was not as bad as some of the Die Hard edits from when it was on network TeeVee a while back. Such as "yippy-ky-ay, motherfu**er" being changed to "yippy-ky-ay, little doggie" or something like that. Although the latter did sound pretty funny.
posted by bargle at 2:11 AM on May 19, 2001

"Based on the context of the remark and later comments in the show, I think he referred to Jesus lighting a joint for a sick person as an act of compassion."

Legend has it that this swarthy, curly-headed Jesus fellah not only took a certain stupefying substance, but that he made his own stuff and freely distributed it to a like-minded rabble of long-haired sandal-wearing unmarried men and women who traveled around together. And they didn't need the stuff because they were sick. It was just that Jesus and his pals were invited to a local wedding that was so shittily planned that there was nothing to drink. But everyone's bud Jesus came through with the hooch. I'm sure a guy like that would have been ready with the 420 for a friend in need. Probably would have lit it with X-ray vision or something, too.
posted by pracowity at 3:00 AM on May 19, 2001

In films, Jesus Christ is quite okay when someone is making a direct reference to the man. If it's said as a swear, it's usually edited on tv to say something like "Jesus Wept." or something else along those lines. Saying "God Damn" also falls under that category. It's considered a swear word and that's usually changed too on tv.
posted by Cavatica at 4:33 AM on May 19, 2001

bargle: That was the least of the edits, IMHO. What was *reallY* stunning (we're talking about Die Hard 3, right?) was how they wrote out any explicit evidence of the racial subtext. Someone in the movies scrawls "I Hate Niggers" on Bruce Willis' chalkboard or something, and the network changes it to "I Hate Everybody" -- which, of course, makes no sense in the context of the film. Oy.
posted by cortex at 5:51 AM on May 19, 2001

Just the fact Bill Maher's show is broadcast from a network owned by Mickey Mouse -- that alone is offensive to me. Politically Incorrect should be an hour long, with no commercial interruptions, and no people who are only there to hawk their latest book. And cussing should be mandatory. The premise belongs on cable -- not ABC.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:52 AM on May 19, 2001

I was cracking up the other day at Letterman who kept showing a live clip from a live performance of On Golden Pond in which an apparently tough kid in a leather jacket said "bullshitting." As Dave explained, that was okay and could go on air unedited, un-bleeped. But Dave himself couldn't say it "bullshit."

So Dave would show the clip and we'd hear the kid clearly say "bullshitting." Then Dave would say "bullshit" and the network would bleep it. Over and over. Naturally, he ran it in to the ground, but it was still nicely done. Hypcrocisy in action, network bullshit.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:06 AM on May 19, 2001

I like it when they censor the "god" in "god damn". That one makes me laugh until I cry...
posted by frenetic at 6:42 AM on May 19, 2001

I don't know if it was Movieline or American Cinematographer magazine I read this in, but some movies tend to re-film scenes like that while it's in production. The first time I ever noticed that was in the beginning of Back to the Future: Part 2, in the scene where Doc returns from the future to pick up Marty. In one version, Michael J. Fox says.."What happens to us in the future? Do be become assholes or something?" In the re-shoot, he says airheads. Pretty Woman has done this as well. The shot in Die Hard 3 could have been a reshoot, but I've never watched the televised version.
posted by Cavatica at 6:53 AM on May 19, 2001

When PI moved from Comedy Central to ABC, I wondered if the show would be able to maintain the edgy quality that drew me in to begin with and was pleasantly surprised this remained. But, in the past year, Mr. Maher has made at least two (that I recall) on-air apologies for saying something that apparently upset the masses and was dismayed to see what I believe to be corporate pressure to appease the aforementioned throngs.

Apparently, calling Clinton a sleazebag was okay, but referring to Dubya as a steaming pile of dung is worthy of spending costly airtime to apologize.
posted by sillygit at 7:08 AM on May 19, 2001

My favorite swear-change was when USA showed Scorsese's "Casino." The censors changed Robert Deniro saying "Fuckin' asshole" to "Stinkin' momo."
posted by amyscoop at 7:58 AM on May 19, 2001

The Die Hard overdub was not "yippy-ky-ay, little doggie". It was "yippy-ky-ay, my friend". So, of course, his lips perfectly matched the sound. Very clever. In the network TV version of Repo Man, they used "melon farmer". Flip you, melon farmer.
posted by pixelpony at 8:36 AM on May 19, 2001

I really wish that PI was on HBO, I think it could make it a much better show. On that note, is it just me or does PI have commercials more frequently than any other show on TV? And frenetic, another good one is when they bleep "hole" in asshole.
posted by untuckedshirts at 8:59 AM on May 19, 2001

the really ridiculous thing is that we ALL know what they really said. even when i was a wee little tyke, i still knew what they were saying and snickered at their attempts to protect our "virgin" ears. speech is such a silly thing. when i lived in provo, utah, everyone would say "oh jeez, that's frick'in great!" and other perversions of the real stuff. but does it really make a difference, i mean, it's not what you say, it's what you mean. i have tried many times to substitute all "bad" words with "smurf" (in honor of good ole papa) purely to draw MORE attention to the phrase but allow listeners to use their imagination and insert whatever "dirty" word they feel best fits the situation and to show how silly it all is.

one more thing...

a few months ago, my roomie and i were at a protest at the capitol here in austin (protesting the inauguration of bush) and one of us, in conversation, let slip "fuck" and immediately one of the officers said "hey, watch your language". we looked at each other and started laughing and asked him if it was illegal to curse and he said "yep" and then proceeded to explain that there is an official list of "bad" words that are illegal to use in public that you can be arrested for saying. ever since then i have been making mental notes as to which words you CAN say in public that are borderline "evil" so that next time i can use those and when the officer tells me something i can say - "but officer, i just heard bart simpson say that word on public tv last night".
posted by ggggarret at 9:11 AM on May 19, 2001

Euphemism is hypocrisy.
posted by rushmc at 10:43 AM on May 19, 2001

Another example of the re-shoot is in Ghostbusters. Bill Murray calls the mayor's assistant "dickless" and when asked by the mayor if the allegations about supernatural activity are true, says, "Yes, it's true, this man has no dick."

In the version aired on network TV, he calls the guy "Wally Wick" (whatever the hell that means) and answers, "Yes, it's true, this man's some kind of rodent, I'm not sure which." Of course the assistant's response to being called a rodent is exactly as violently angry as to being called a eunuch, which makes the scene make even less sense. One of the worst.
posted by kindall at 11:22 AM on May 19, 2001

untuckedshirts said: is it just me or does PI have commercials more frequently than any other show on TV?

Jesus, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks so. Not only the most, but the most poorly placed. They'll play a commercial block, come back, talk for 45 seconds or a minute, and then go to another commercial block. Some nights the show is borderline unwatchable because of it.
posted by RylandDotNet at 11:37 AM on May 19, 2001

bargle: That was the least of the edits, IMHO. What was *reallY* stunning (we're talking about Die Hard 3, right?) was how they wrote out any explicit evidence of the racial subtext. Someone in the movies scrawls "I Hate Niggers" on Bruce Willis' chalkboard or something, and the network changes it to "I Hate Everybody" -- which, of course, makes no sense in the context of the film. Oy.

Actually I was talking about Die Hard 2 and I guess it was not "a while back" but actually quite a long time ago that I saw it, but I saw part of DH3 on TV too. So yeah, I know what you are talking about. The whole point of that was that he was going into Harlem with that scrawled on his chalkboard so someone would kill him for his good buddy Simon. But they changed it and then that entire part of the movie made no sense. Heh.
posted by bargle at 12:58 PM on May 19, 2001

Just try watching "Get Shorty" on a plane, with all the profanity either bleeped or dubbed. It's really nightmarish.
And, about Maher: I agree with Zachsmind, PI really belongs to cable. I mean, try and imagine South Park broadcast by a network instead that by Comedy Central. They'd have to turn it into Peanuts (which I love by the way). Wouldn't that be a much different show?
posted by matteo at 1:53 PM on May 19, 2001

ggggarret wrote: ... there is an official list of "bad" words that are illegal to use in public that you can be arrested for saying.
I 'spect the officer was making it up as he went along. An official list? In which states? Is this a federal (or only FCC) list? Is 'bush' on the list? How about if it's capitalized?
Anyone know where we can look to find all these laws? Officers?
posted by Twang at 3:22 PM on May 19, 2001

I'm quite sure that I've seen a dub of Die Hard 2 where McClane says, "Yippie ki yay, mister dork guy."

Though it had a certain je ne sais quoi, a certain campy charm -- I'd rather hear a bleep.

Some movies do create G-rated dubs for the soundtrack with the original actors, and something like Back to the Future, being a prime candidate for eventual prime time, would be a logical place to do it. But it costs money, and some directors/actors/etc. hate the practice, and leave it to later distributors. The differing needs of a network evening broadcast vs. a mid-afternoon WGN-TV in terms of commercial breaks, scene curtailment, even speeding or slowing the video, mean that it is done more than once by different people with different resources and goals.
posted by dhartung at 4:09 PM on May 19, 2001

when i lived in provo, utah, everyone would say "oh jeez, that's frick'in great!" and other perversions of the real stuff.

aaagh. i hate people saying fricking. but that's only because it reminds me of my Economics teacher, this stupid racist football coach asshole.
posted by dagnyscott at 4:36 PM on May 19, 2001

The director of The Sopranos films a lot of scenes twice with different dialog etc. The logic is that when it inevitably gets picked up for network syndication, it won't have so many cheesy dubs and edits.
posted by bonzo at 4:41 PM on May 19, 2001

If I read this conversation right, I take it that I'm the only person who thinks that Bill Maher himself should be edited out of Politically Incorrect. Right? Ok.

Watched the show for a while and thought he was very funny. Then I went to a live taping and it just looked like he was a middle-aged angry asshole trying to pass himself off as young and hip. And trying way too hard to look sexy. Plus.. PLUS.. When Harry Knowles was on the show and disagreed with him, making what I think was a valid point, the only thing Maher could think to do was call him fat. The noive!
posted by Hildago at 6:16 PM on May 19, 2001

For some reason, I have trouble taking Bill Maher seriously, even when he's addressing serious issues. I'm not sure why.
posted by jpoulos at 6:26 PM on May 19, 2001

I saw a stand-up special he did for HBO or somewhere. It was all right, but he's always come across as kind of a tamer version of Dennis Miller to me. In fact, putting PI on HBO before DML, as kind of a warm up, might work.
posted by kindall at 6:33 PM on May 19, 2001

I like Miller and Maher, but Miller has always struck me as too quick to pander to audience applause vs. Maher's more controversial stances...
posted by owillis at 8:16 PM on May 19, 2001

an official list of "bad" words that are illegal to use in public that you can be arrested for saying

in Oklahoma, there's no "Official List of Words You Can't Say", but there is a law on the books that makes profanity illegal. it's punishable by a fine of one dollar, unless you swear in front of a woman or a child under 10 in a public place. then, the punishment is $100 and/or 30 days in jail. this would be laughable had a man not been arrested for it a few months ago.
posted by tolkhan at 9:01 PM on May 19, 2001

oops. that should read "in front of a woman, a child under 10, or in a public place."
posted by tolkhan at 9:03 PM on May 19, 2001

Well, lately it's been handgun-talk that's been getting deleted, even when put-down-gentialia-references are okay. There's this Wheatus song that goes "her boyfriend's a dick, he brings a gun to school" guess which word is bleeped out in the east coast version of this song?
posted by jessamyn at 10:40 PM on May 19, 2001

You're joking. "Her boyfriend's a dick, he brings a bleep to school"? Jesus Rice on a rotisserie.
posted by kindall at 10:53 PM on May 19, 2001

This is something very much in the way of a diversion, but Jpoulos' last comment made me wonder about this, and now I can't get it out of my head.

Is there a word for when you say something on a web forum, and then include a hyperlink in your text that points to something which serves as the punchline to your setup?

Because there should be.
posted by Hildago at 11:25 PM on May 19, 2001

Is there a word for when you say something on a web forum, and then include a hyperlink in your text that points to something which serves as the punchline to your setup? Because there should be.

If there's not a pre-existing term (I haven't heard of one), I suggest "punchlink."
posted by kindall at 11:57 PM on May 19, 2001

dangit!!! now i am starting to think that frick'in cop lied to me! i'm gonna call the APD and settle this little matter.
posted by ggggarret at 12:39 AM on May 20, 2001

well... i didn't find anything about texas law but...

although there is hope.

would that be considered a "punchlink"?
posted by ggggarret at 12:44 AM on May 20, 2001

Dagnyscott: Don't you mean "airhead?" :-)
posted by Redgie at 1:44 AM on May 20, 2001

I live in Oklahoma, and if that law is true, than about 95% of the residents should be arrested/fined.

Myself included. :blush:
posted by Redgie at 1:46 AM on May 20, 2001

Cursing canoeist gets fine, four days of community service
And this is a blue collar town! I may be less inclined to tell someone what's what if I might incur thousands in legal fees. Fuck it - sue me!
posted by roboto at 4:23 AM on May 20, 2001

Drug references in songs are often bleeped
"...he's too stoned" from Flavor of the Weak by American Hi-Fi (this was in an in-store display video, Wal-Mart or their ilk)
The radio version of Everlast's What it's Like deletes swearing (of course), a gun reference (which doesn't glorify violence in the least), and the line "... smoked the finest green", which, I imagine, might encourage the children of America to rush out and roll themselves a joint.
posted by Octaviuz at 10:18 AM on May 20, 2001

Ditto Third Eye Blind's "Semi-Charmed Life". They even butchered their own lyrics to say "doing crystal myth", ostensibly to avoid saying the bleep-worthy "crystal meth", but to no avail. *sigh*

At least some bands have fun with it, though. Butthole Surfers bleeped out completely innocous words like "leg" and "head" in "Pepper" for no apparent reason.
posted by youhas at 6:09 PM on May 20, 2001

There's always the new Weezer song, "H*** Pipe" which can be said, but not chyroned on MTV. WTF?

Oh, and in the edited Die Hard 2, (which I watched this afternoon out of sheer boredom) when Bruce blows up the plane, he says "Yippie kay-ay Mister Falcon." Throughout the movie, the terrorist base is the Falcon's nest, and there are a bunch of "bird" codewords, so it actually made sense.
posted by Dreama at 9:10 PM on May 20, 2001

This happened right down the road from here a few years ago. Not speaking in public, but close enough. Is this different? Would you find a shirt more offensive than a spoken word, which is uttered and then over with?

Oh yeah, there was a Sublime song that had "daddy's got a new .45" with the .45 bleeped out, but in another verse had "got something for his punk-ass" complete, on Mtv, and then, on the radio, it was reversed, with the exact opposite phrases bleeped.
posted by Espoo2 at 10:51 AM on May 21, 2001

blah - i'm in agreement that pi should go back to cable. i went to a taping of the show about 3 or 4 years ago after it had moved to abc ... one of the guests was little richard (that's another thread) ... it struck me that bill was drunk off his ass, probably to handle his self-hatred for allowing his baby to turn into shitshow littered with commercial breaks ...

i think we can all agree that it takes several exchanges for people to draw their lines in the sand before a substantial dialog can occur. what i saw was a bill maher who had to watch a little clock telling him how soon the next commercial break was coming, and then interrupt as soon as the conversation really got going. while the commercials were rolling, the guests said the best stuff, but to preserve some type of continuity, bill would take 'em back with a pre-cogent-conversation cue.

one more thing ... these guys, bill and dennis, they were a lot funnier when i was high ... now, they strike me more as pandering whiners with no significantly radical or relatively significant points of view whatsoever.
posted by dukejohnson at 11:10 AM on May 21, 2001

"I am the God of Fuck"

posted by dukejohnson at 11:19 AM on May 21, 2001

Watching High Fidelity on a plane, with its "freaking air holes", was deeply depressing.

Of course, these days on BBC2 and Channel 4 you can say "fuck" after 9pm and "cunt" (more rarely) after 10:30pm. In proper context, of course. And as for religious satire? Well, how about Father Ted?
posted by holgate at 5:27 PM on May 21, 2001

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