June 8, 2001
10:38 AM   Subscribe

"Red" China? Communist Cuba? No kids, its America! Where the government has decided for us that we shouldn't listen to music that "contains unmistakable offensive sexual references. In this regard, portions of the lyrics contain sexual references in conjunction with sexual expletives that appear intended to pander and shock". Aren't you glad Big Brother is taking care of you?
posted by owillis (28 comments total)
I heard Howard Stern ranting about this couple of days ago, saying that he wasn't being paranoid when he accused the FCC of targeting him in violation of his 1st Amendment rights! I hate to agree with him, but he may have been right.
posted by Rastafari at 10:57 AM on June 8, 2001

In cuba, the wrong type of music can get you in trouble.(I know for a fact that Fidel likes the Beatles) Music is pirated and smuggled into these countries.(funny how one does not return with the CD's one came with) Alot of parents wont let there kids have M-man and others(my parents could not understand ozzys lyrics) so kids sneak them etc. This one is a Tuffy...if a mediums intent were to just shock and pander then the regulation should be evident...like.."turn that crap down".
posted by clavdivs at 10:57 AM on June 8, 2001

It's not just the FCC. Stern was aiming too low.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:14 AM on June 8, 2001

so, "i found my thrill, on blueberry hill" isn't an unmistakable sexual reference also? we need to shut down the oldies stations. Maybe the FCC is recieving funding from the Taliban?
posted by th3ph17 at 11:17 AM on June 8, 2001

damn, and Tipper's man didn't even win.
posted by jbelshaw at 11:21 AM on June 8, 2001

And do you know who the new guy in charge of FCC? Take a guess. He is the son of a major Bush play and his initials are C.P. (no. Not Snow the British writer).
posted by Postroad at 11:41 AM on June 8, 2001

True, Powell is pondscum - but the FCC has been overly activist in this manner before he was the head.
posted by owillis at 11:44 AM on June 8, 2001

owillis, I don't believe the FCC was activist in this direction before Powell became head. Now, it seems the new goal of the FCC is to stand by and let as many mergers happen as possible while trying to stop anything they consider offensive from airing. The FCC hasn't even been that concerned with activism since the guy who wrote "Talk back to your Television" was there.

When I used to work at a retail store, security told me I was supposed to ID anyone who tried to buy a cd with explicit lyric labels (my store didn't care edited versions, luckily). I nodded my head and whenever the prompt would show up to input someones date of birth, I'd enter mine, or some obscure combination of numbers.

There was no law to force us to ID kids buying the album, and I'm not about to prevent anyone from listening to any type of music.
posted by drezdn at 11:56 AM on June 8, 2001

As remiss as the FCC has been with watching out for America's interests vis a vis monopolistic tendencies in the industry, and as silly as such spotty enforcement is... I think that the censorship spin is a little off. The airwaves are a finite (and public) resource... people's rights to them are limited and calculated (ostensibly) for the common good.

I, for one, would rather not have this finite resource used to spew vulgarities... any more than I'd want someone to clearcut crop circles into the Tongass, calling it art. Though both can be construed as "speech" neither have a prima facie claim to public resources.

That said, I'd much rather have a cross-media, parent-enabling rating/enforcement schema than what is currently in place: a hodge-podge of vague/counter-purpose regulations that are left to the Drezdns of the world to "enforce".
posted by silusGROK at 1:20 PM on June 8, 2001

The fact that naked people can't appear on broadcast television should tell you that clearly the FCC needs to be reevaluated.
posted by Doug at 1:32 PM on June 8, 2001

I, for one, would rather not have this finite resource used to spew vulgarities...

Vis10n, the radio waves are a finite resource, but the song in question didn't use any of the officially off limit words the FCC has decided can't be aired on the radio. As someone who isn't a fan of Eminem's music I still think the FCC made a judgement call that wasn't right. They considered the edited version of "The Real Slim Shady" offensive enough that they fined one station for repeatedly airing it. It is within the FCC's powers to decide whether what the station did was in the public interest, but I believe they made a wrong decision. It's almost as bad as FBI agents trying to listen to "Louie Louie" backwards and forwards in an attempt to find the lewd message contained within.

As for offensive lyrics, including swearing and the like, if artists had any back bone they would refuse to allow their labels to release edited "clean" versions of their music. Sadly, they seem to be just as concerned with making money as the labels are.
posted by drezdn at 2:02 PM on June 8, 2001

The problem is the FCC wants to persecute "the suggestion" of indecency. That's as crappy as "community standards" is to porn.
posted by owillis at 2:09 PM on June 8, 2001

Drezdn... I'm not defending this FCC action: it seems fairly capricious on the surface. I'm reacting to owliss' rhetoric and Rastafari's comment... neither of which seemed aimed squarely at this action, but rather at the "hubris" of the government regulating the airwaves.

I guess that's one of the downsides of using hyperbole: reaction to one's statements can't always be germane to one's intent.
posted by silusGROK at 2:36 PM on June 8, 2001

In Chicago, 101.1 regularly plays rock songs with the s-word and f-word. I am fuming....ahhh, I have to go to a meeting. WHoops....
posted by Stretch at 2:44 PM on June 8, 2001

hey, relax. this is just the FCCs attempt to shield us...

...from shitty music.
posted by jcterminal at 2:52 PM on June 8, 2001

vis10n: my problem is with the government regulating the airwaves to a standard of "decency" that's in the minority, or at the very least not up to public review. The airwaves do belong to the people, you're right.
posted by owillis at 2:52 PM on June 8, 2001

I, for one, would rather not have this finite resource used to spew vulgarities
I, for one, would rather not have this finite resource completely UNable to come up with ONE halfway LISTENABLE radio station in the ENTIRE DC area.
posted by whuppy at 2:57 PM on June 8, 2001

I seriously question the "minority" idea... but I certainly believe that regulations have to be out in the open. The rule of law demands as much.

Whuppy... I'm sure there's at least one NPR station in your area.
posted by silusGROK at 3:01 PM on June 8, 2001

NPR stations do not automatically broadcast good music.
posted by darukaru at 4:11 PM on June 8, 2001

as long as their only banning eminem songs.... could care less
posted by Satapher at 5:22 PM on June 8, 2001

They ban Eminem first, then you next. To protect freedom of speech and expression, often you must support the speech you loathe.
posted by owillis at 5:24 PM on June 8, 2001

owillis hits it Exactly. Fining over a song that is edited already? Because they don't like what it Implies? That is right on the list with book-burning parties, and if they continue to do that by the time they start to go after music You like they will already have precedents.
posted by th3ph17 at 5:37 PM on June 8, 2001

I'm an ardent free-speecher, fan of Zappa for a long time, was against the PMRC, etc etc.

But I have no reaction to this. I could not care less about Eminem's music getting banned. If there were redeeming social worth, or artistic value, maybe. But I've listened, and it ain't there.

I don't think those who put stuff on the radio are *thinking* about what they're putting on the airwaves before they put it there.

And I'm at a loss to defend my position, but Eminem's music is crap. Owillis, I can't see myself testifying to the social or artistic or satiric merit of his work. I can't see it.

I must be too old.
posted by artlung at 5:40 PM on June 8, 2001

crappy music isn't the issue is it? The name of the artist/crap-maker is interchangable. The type of media is interchangable. This is a public place, if i type in the word *fuck* is matt going to get fined someday by some internet FCC?

Owillis, did you post this because you are a rabid eminem fan or because it was spooky that the FCC could really do this? Who knows. I'm not going to defend Eminem's music.
posted by th3ph17 at 6:07 PM on June 8, 2001

I could care less about Eminem. I'm an ardent believer in amendment #1 and hate to see it infringed upon - by anyone.

In this instance, yes Eminem is extreme and probably a bigot - but he has a right to say what he's saying, "artistic expression" or not.
posted by owillis at 7:42 PM on June 8, 2001

Hey, I like Eminem. He makes me laugh. But I don't see how they can pick out one station, when damn near ever station played the song right after the CD came out.

As far as I can tell, they're only being fined because they haven't updated their playlist.
posted by Jart at 7:43 PM on June 8, 2001

i mute his music, and just watch him move in his vidios. the music ain't happenin, but his persona is certainly unique. do you suppose he is a natural blond? doubt it, but it really works for him. i can see him singing some nationalistic germanic or austrian songs, possibly wearing lederhosen, and a little felt hat with a feather in it....how kool would that be?
posted by billybob at 9:08 PM on June 8, 2001

owillis...that is what i thought, just didn't want to assume what your preference was...

Jart...now fining for having a really really old playlist...THAT idea i could probably get behind.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:53 AM on June 9, 2001

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