Fr*ck Da FCC

Fuck Da Eagles Chick There’s something about post-season football that inevitably leads to the discussion of indecency on television. After the lengthy national debate over Janet Jackson’s breast you would think that we would have settled this issue by now. Instead, we’re gearing up for a new battle over another kind of wardrobe controversy.

The latest indication that pro football is unraveling the moral fiber of our society came during Fox’s broadcast of the Eagles-Saints game on Saturday. The network briefly showed a Saints fan wearing a t-shirt that clearly read “Fuck Da Eagles”.

You would think that The Parents Television Council, James Dobson’s Focus on Family, and a few dozen other groups of conservative religious activists would be making an issue of this incident. Well they aren’t. At least not yet.

No, this time the complaint is coming from Frank Ahrens at the Washington Post blog. Ahrens, playing the part of class snitch, is appalled by what he saw. So much so that he had to re-wind his TiVo a few dozen times to make sure he really saw what he thought he saw. Then blog about it.

I’m not sure why Aherns thinks the right-wing religious zealots who monitor the media need help from the Washington Post — they’re doing a fine job on their own.

It’s ironic that someone at the Washington Post, a media outlet not subject to FCC restrictions, feels compelled to make the case that a television network should not have broadcast a printed word. And it’s telling that Ahrens felt obligated to add not one but two asterisks to the word “Fuck” in his post. I suppose that makes the word extra-safe. I wonder if that spelling is in the Washington Post Style Guide for Bloggers.

As luck would have it, I happened to be in New Orleans on Saturday. And as strange as this may sound, I actually ran into that young, er, “lady” in Jackson Square just hours before the game. Unfortunately, the FCC wasn’t there to protect me. As it turns out, the FCC can’t protect us from reality, only from television. Apparently it’s the Washington Post’s job to protect us from reality.

Ahrens argues that Fox was in clear violation of FCC regulations and that the broadcast was an insult to families around the country who were watching the game on TV.

Except that Fox wasn’t in clear violation of FCC regulations, because the FCC regulations aren’t clear at all. As Ahrens notes, Fox is in federal court right now seeking clarification on this very issue. That’s because, contrary to popular myth, there is no master list of dirty word that can’t be used on radio and television. If the FCC were to produce such a list it would likely be considered prior restraint, and would therefor be a violation of free speech.

Instead broadcasters are left to guess at what might be considered offensive and face increasingly stiff penalties for violating an unwritten standard. To make matters worse, groups like the Parents Television Council are whipping their members into a frenzy and urging them to file complaints at the drop of a hat.

If there’s an up-side to any of this it has to be that more content providers will likely respond to increased penalties by moving programming to the Internet where FCC restrictions do not apply.

In the meantime, Ahrens and others who were offended by that t-shirt on Saturday should remember that children who can read the word ‘fuck’ already know what it means, no matter how many asterisks you spell it with.

13 Responses to “Fr*ck Da FCC”

  1. D says:

    You got me thinking about the protocol for such things. According to the Associated Press Stylebook, “obscenities should not be included in a quote if there is no compelling reason for the offending language. In that case, use an initial letter (lowercase) and the rest of the word in hyphens.” (so, in this case, f— da eagles.)

    I’m paraphrasing there, but that’s the gist of it. I agree with you. though. It doesn’t make the word any more safe or obscene.

  2. Helen says:

    OMG you are totaly right!! I saw it live and my husband and I laughed and then saidhow long before somebody bitches about it.

    I am an Eagles fan (by marriage my heart belongs to the Seahawks) and even though I was upset we lost, that fan was in there home town supporting there team. If it had been in Philly I’m sure more than 1 person would be wearing a shirt like that. I mean Philly sells the “Dallas Sucks, T.O. Swallows” shirt.

    So I just wanted to let you know I completly agree with you!!
    Helen

  3. Anonymous says:

    SHE BETTER GET IN TOUCH WITH MAXIM MAGAZINE, THEY ARE LOOKING FOR HER….THAT’S HOW PAM ANDERSON GOT HER START 🙂

  4. Kirk says:

    Wait a minute, I thought Pam Anderson got her start with Borat.

  5. Kirk says:

    D – thanks for looking that up. You’ll note that we have no such style guide on Medialoper – not that we don’t need one.

  6. her agent says:

    hey just want to say that she already got in touch with maxim. they want to do a spread of her. she is VERY well aware of all the attention this is getting. oh yea, and her name is heather. thanks..bye now!

    go saints!

  7. Ron Baker says:

    Yeah right,
    So what if obscenities are tossed around like compliments…
    You should get your cranium out of your rectum so that you could understand that a civilized society requires certain constraints. Not many, but at least, a few….. Words have meanings, which is apparently a concept that is too complicated for you to understand.

    But never mind, because I know that a mental retarded (oops, I mean, ‘mentally challenged’ ) person like yourself delights in making ‘shocking’ statements and yes, believe it or not, actually has an orgasm when a T shirt is used in such a puerile manner.

    It is rather interesting to read comments like yours which enunciate such infantile attitudes but unfortunately, young people (8-13) see these things also and think that is the way society is, and should be. Too bad, but morons will always hide behind ‘freedom of speech’ as an excuse to be
    nauseatingly crude, vulgar and ultimately, stupid.

    Ron

  8. Jim says:

    Hi Ron,

    I’m also a certified retard, so I would like some clarifications on your post. Not so much about how you know that the two second shot of the girl in the “Fuck Da Eagles” T-Shirt actually got somebody off in the privacy of their own home — because you were obviously looking into their home (or most certainly want to) — but some of the other stupendously intelligent things you wrote.

    For example, that whole business about a civilized society having constraints (which I always thought were called “laws,” but then I’m a retard), the way I read it, we have to live by your constraints, because you are the only person smart enough to determine exactly what those constraints are going to be. Is that right? Enlighten me, o guru of the anti-puerile!

    Just as there are morons who hide behind “freedom of speech” (just check your AM dial), I’d personally rather have those morons and that freedom than kowtow to people who rail against it.

    What’s stupid and vulgar are people who use “the young people” as their excuse to try to censor speech — and therefore ideas, and therefore people — with which they don’t agree or find offensive.

    It’s also ironic that you call such pro-free-speech attitudes “infantile,” a word which quite literally means “of or pertaining to infants or infancy,” but want to keep those attitudes away from young people. So babies aren’t young people? Does that mean that it’s OK for a baby or a 7-year-old to wear a “Fuck Da Eagles” T-Shirt?

  9. kris says:

    alli can say is f**k the BEARS !!!!!!!!!!
    love, a saints fan

  10. Kirk says:

    Ron:

    I’ll try to respond to your comments, but as a mentally retarded moron I’m having trouble banging something out on my computer.

    If I understand you correctly you’re concerned about setting a good example for children, and you believe that name calling is a form of constructive criticism. I’m sure your kids are great to be around.

    Since our “civilized society requires certain constraints”, I suppose you think we also need a Federal Wardrobe Commission to review and approve t-shirts. You do understand that the FCC only regulates the airwaves?

    And what should we do about the Internet? Or worse yet, the school yard? In my experience 13 year-olds have filthy mouths. It would be fine by me if we just banned them from speaking altogether.

    The words our society chooses to view as obscene are totally arbitrary. Why is it that Frack is an acceptable substitute for Fuck? They sound similar. They’re frequently used with the same intention and emotion. Yet one slips by the FCC without an issue, while the other leads fine upstanding Americans like yourself to begin frothing at the mouth.

  11. anonymous says:

    I am a die hard Eagles fan, and I think its funny how a beautiful girl wears a “fuck da eagles” t-shirt and everyone finds it either sexy or hilarious. Now don’t get me wrong, I could care less about seeing the word “fuck” on national television, but when I am watching an obviously RIGGED game (YEAH THOSE LOUSY REFS GOT PAID TOP DOLLAR FOR THAT ONE SO THAT THE COUNTRY’S CINDERELLA TEAM COULD GET TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME) and see someone wearing a t-shirt that says fuck my team, I’m naturally going to be pissed. And, yes, I know there are going to be individuals who will read this message and say, “Cuz, take a joke”, and I know there’s nothing I can do or say to change what happened in the game nor say something to the girl in the shirt. But I will use this blog to vent my frustrations as a die hard Eagles fan. So in closing F*CK THE SAINTS, I’M GLAD THE BEARS SLAPPED YOU LIKE THE PROVERBIAL LOSERS THAT YOU ARE!

  12. Anonymous says:

    It is amazing what people will do for a little attention these days……and all those who support this, quite obviously do not as yet have children…..the vocabulary in this country is declining at an enormous rate, even faster than morals, and youth have no concept yet of mortality – the ‘religious right’ does, and to use such a word as a part of everyday language today insofar as what it actually means, desecrates the commitment and enjoyment of those who value the sharing of this bond between men and women.

    Yes, we do have ‘freedom’ of the press, but with that ‘freedom’ comes a responsibility. Maybe NFL games should now be broadcast after 10:00 p.m.

  13. Kirk says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more Anonymous. It is really terrible what our President has done to the English language.

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