Monday, March 17, 2008

Court will examine profanity rules

From The Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Monday stepped into a legal fight over the use of curse words on the airwaves, the high court's first major case on broadcast indecency in 30 years.

The case concerns a Federal Communications Commission policy that allows for fines against broadcasters for so-called "fleeting expletives," one-time uses of the F-word or its close cousins.

Solicitor General Paul Clement, representing the FCC and the Bush administration, argued that the decision "places the commission in an untenable position," powerless to stop the airing of expletives even when children are watching.

(full article)
It seems to me that the Federal Communications Commission should concern itself with the practical matters of standardization and bandwidth allocation that are its primary charter and stay out of the business of trying to regulate "decency". It further seems to me that our government in general should not be trying to legislate in so subjective an area as "decency". If parents find it useful to selectively "protect" their children from a handfull of vocabulary words at which some people choose to take offense, they have the option to turn off the TV, or select channels oriented toward children.

The fact is that children always learn all available words and add them to their vocabulary, despite parental efforts to the contrary. And why not? Words are not inherently good or bad - they are just words.

Perhaps people should spend less of their time taking offense at things and more effort fixing our political system.

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