July 7, 2007
F***, S*** and Other Typos
"Some may recall the days when the Li'l Abner comic-strip characters in daily newspapers blew off steam, not with a string of profanities, but with a babbling brook of crazy typewriter symbols: "Why you no good l!!#&+!%l!!"
Thus we were touched to see how the daily press covered the story of the Federal Communications Commission's losing day in court in the Case of the Fleeting Expletives.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has just ruled that the FCC lacked authority to punish the TV networks for the broadcast of unscripted profanity, or "fleeting expletives," specifically as articulated live on network TV by Cher ("People have been telling me I'm on my way out every year, right? So f*** 'em"); and by Nicole Ritchie ("Have you ever tried to get cows*** out of a Prada purse? It's not so f****** simple").
After the decision, editorialists and columnists in newspapers everywhere mocked the FCC's "moralists" and "language police" for its provably quixotic effort to suppress the most commonly used words--today--in our language." [RJ]
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The producers of Larry King Live thought a good substitute would be Ryan Seacrest interviewing Nicole Richie. The giant sucking sound was the brain cells of anyone who happened to surf by the intellectual black hole.
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