Brent Bozell is obsessed with the f-word!
And now you can be, too! Just check out his Parents Television Council
(PTC) web site, and look at the myriad items there, all about the f-word.
Specifically, Bozell and company are upset about the FCC's refusal to punish NBC stations for not censoring Bono's use of the phrase "f---ing brilliant" on the live broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards earlier this year. Bozell believes that the FCC has failed to use its authority to punish "obscene" or "indecent" content by letting this incident slide.
You know what I find obscene and indecent? The fact that my money is being forcibly taken from me, so that the FCC can quibble with this guy over a singular
use of one
word (in its least literal, least offensive sense) on a live
, unscripted broadcast.
And is it the NBC stations' fault that Bono is used to appearing on TV in countries that don't employ f-word police, and is used to saying what he feels like without other people having to pay fines for it?
This sort of censorship is an especially strange business, given that kids (the ones whose ears we are supposedly protecting ), tend to have the filthiest mouths of anyone, starting before their age is out of the single digits. That was true when I was in elementary school (before one could even say the now-ubiquitous a-r-s-e-word on TV), and I don't have trouble imagining it was so in previous generations, as well. Just whose ears are we protecting?
I'm not crazy about the proliferation of profanity in the media generally. (I am, however, crazy about South Park
, which had a great episode about TV profanity, in which the use of the "s-word" on a TV cop drama actually did
precipitate the apocalypse). I don't use profanity in everyday conversation, myself, because it generally strikes me as uncivil and unnecessary. But there are many things I don't like to hear or say, but they're out there, and I deal with them without running to the feds.
It should also be pointed out that the focus of Brent Bozell's obsession in life isn't the f-word or profanity, per se. It's TV.
Apparently, he loves it.
Familes in Bozell's world must have something
to put their kids in front of from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. each night. (Ironically, this hour that kids should be free to stare at the tube to their fragile little minds' content is called the "family hour.") The concept of persuading parents not to have TV's at all, regardless of what's on them, never enters the picture at the PTC.
And what would Bozell like to see during the family hour? Anything
without profanity. Doesn't matter what, just as long as there are no bad words.
Thus, we see the PTC recommending, on its main page, A Flintstones Christmas Carol
. Now, anyone with a modicum of taste or class knows that The Flintstones
is, and has been since its inception, the absolute bottom of the cultural barrel. In his important book, Class
, professor Paul Fussell identified it as the
TV show most exemplary of low-class taste.
Still, other low-points in TV quality have come along since Fussell published his book about 20 years ago, and, Bozell and his outfit heartily endorse many of them. Thus, we have seen praise for, and wishes for more shows like, Full House
, Family Matters
, and Touched By An Angel
And if you don't like The Flintstones
, the PTC has a few other suggestions for upcoming viewing, like A Barry Manilow Christmas
, Lady and the Tramp 2
(not to be confused with Lady and the Tramp
), and The White House Christmas
. They'd better hope President Bush refrains from using one of his favorite words starting with "f" during that last one.
The PTC is a bizarre creature, fighting a losing battle that will ultimately be pointless as other technology makes broadcast TV obsolete.
In the meantime, I will continue to keep an eye on them, in disgusted fascination with these people who are so obsessed with controlling other people's mouths and minds, but apparently even more obsessed with watching TV.
- posted by J. H. Huebert at 4:56 PM