Tuesday, September 20, 2005

This Post is Rated M for Mature

There's a nice article in the NYTimes (free reg. req.) about swearing. There's a good overview of some work done on what parts of the brain generate curses and how it is a fixture of human speech ever since the dawn of homo sapiens. But I was rather disturbed at a passage near the beginning of the article:

"Incensed by what it sees as a virtual pandemic of verbal vulgarity issuing from the diverse likes of Howard Stern, Bono of U2 and Robert Novak, the United
States Senate is poised to consider a bill that would sharply increase the penalty for obscenity on the air.

By raising the fines that would be levied against offending broadcasters some fifteenfold, to a fee of about $500,000 per crudity broadcast, and by threatening to revoke the licenses of repeat polluters, the Senate seeks to return to the public square the gentler tenor of yesteryear, when seldom were heard any scurrilous words, and famous guys were not foul mouthed all day."

If ever you doubted the good old US of A was actually the US of Puritanical Manicas, now is the time to repent. Cast away those doubts and come to the light! Suggesting that profanities be limited on pukishly wholesome family programming is one thing but putting it into law is, frankly, fucking ridonculous. While we're on the subject and since I can say what I want: fuck fuck fuckity fuck fucking FUCK ass shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit! Suck it, Senate!

And it's not like the censoring measure reallys work either. The infamous bleeps on TV or radio are almost more profane and titillating than the actual swears themselves. If swearing is bad enough as it is, why wrap it in more taboo? Add to that the fact that most bleeps cover only the vowels and you have a farce of a cover up. Think about the last time you heard somebody say shblipt on the Radio or seeing Jon Stewart say "cobleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepck". Lewis Black also brings up a valid point: Bono never said "Fuck". He said "fook". What is "fook" anyway?

In the end, curses aren't specific words. There's nothing about about the sound or the words per se that makes them curses. If congress wants to ban specific words, they will have to revise the bill every few years to keep up with the current fashion in profanities. But what happens to the old words? Are they desanitized? And if they do not pursue this irrational course of action and instead aim for the more retarded but logical goal of prohibiting a context of swearing, then they are really out of their fooking minds.

So which is it going to be, you puritanical crazies? Do we arbitrarily designate certain words as swear words and forbid them (can I still say "Vaseline"?) or do we disallow swearing altogether, because it certainly doesn't seem like you are going to leave us alone.

Now everyone all together, say it with me:
(Try it. You'll like it.)

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