The Federal Censorship Commission

Yahoo! News - Fox Blurs Cartoon Rear End on FCC Worries

Networks are rolling over in front of the gestapo-like FCC. O.K., maybe that is too harsh, but this is getting ridiculous. I also read in Time magazine that Fox is refusing to air a commercial during the Super Bowl that shows Micky Rooney's backside flesh. As Rooney himself said, "there is nothing sexy about that!"


tjirwin said…
I don't know about you, but I just as soon NOT see Mickey Rooney's 84 year old hiney...EVER. That said, it's a little nuts to blur a cartoon posterior. I've been watching “The Simpsons” for years and have been regularly exposed to cartoon bottoms. To this I have no objection.

This should all be put into context...when I turn on a TV program I do so with the understanding of what I am watching. I can choose to watch "The Family Guy" knowing there may be some offensive humor (and cartoon cheeks). I can choose to watch "NYPD Blue" knowing I may see Sipowicz's hairy so-on-and-so-forth. I can choose to watch any HBO program knowing there will be "offensive" language and/or nudity. However, when I choose to watch the Superbowl I do so with the expectation that I will be able to watch football without seeing Andy Rooney's butt or Janet Jackson's boob. These things in there place do not offend me, if I choose to expose myself to them. However when they are forced upon me without my choice, I object. To this end, I am happy to see some more attention paid to the "decency" of what hits the airwaves. Of course, now we are seeing a reaction to the extreme. I would almost believe that the networks are intentionally going overboard to provoke public outrage toward the FCC, much like Howard Stern has done (don’t get me started on that subject).

I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t believe censorship is binary. In other words, I want the Superbowl to be a family show suitable for all viewers. If the network isn’t able to make that happen without outside influence, then who will? I also don’t believe that the FCC has the right to censor all programs. There is a place for everything…as long as we as consumers maintain the right to make an educated choice about what we choose to watch and listen to.
Eric said…
Point well taken regarding context. I definitely have different expectations on what I will see when I tune in to watch King of the Hill than when I tune in with Dominic to watch Dora the Explorer. Your reference to the Simpsons reminds me of the controversy that swirled around that show in its first few seasons. Many people complained that by tuning in to watch a "cartoon", there was an intrinsic expectation of a decency standard. Of course, this all becomes rather subjective. Personally, I tend to laugh when I see Janet's boob pop out, or Randy Moss fake-moon the Lambeau field faithful. I can also understand how some people would be offended. However, different things offend different people. This gets into the whole moral relativity question, which is an extended discussion. Some people might be offended by the gigantic, sweaty guys hitting each other during a football game. Others might be offended by Donald Trump's hair. To me, the question boils down to, "who decides what is offensive." In a micro-sense, the answer to that question is the individual person decides what is offensive, by turning off the television when necessary. In a macro-sense, the market can and will decide, which brings me (sort of) back to your point about expectations. The networks indeed are in the best position to enforce decency, but that enforcement should come from the impetus of the market as opposed to a Federal agency. I'm not trying to go all libertarian here, but the FCC, with less than a handful of commissioners that are appointed rather than elected, should not be in a position to determine what is broadcast over the airwaves. If anything, our elected representatives need to draw up some decency laws that clearly define what can and cannot be broadcast. However, I clearly favor a market based solution on this issue. If people are that upset about Janet's boob, they should stop buying Pepsi, Chevy's and whatever other products are advertised during the big game. If those companies start holding back their dollars, the networks WILL listen.

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