Alright kids, get ready. This is big. You should probably grab a chair, your favorite beverage, snack and maybe even TiVo. Yep, it’s that big.
You’re probably saying to yourself, “What the heck is he talking about?” But I won’t keep you in suspense any longer.
Big Bird is going to drop the f-bomb. Yes, Big Bird. That big, lovable and feathery friend that taught us our ABC’s, how to share and how to play nice with others. He’s going to start spouting expletives at will, simply because he can.
Or at least that’s what the solicitor general of the United States thinks, unless the Supreme Court and the Federal Communications Commission come up with stricter guidelines to combat the utterances of expletives on television and radio.
The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in the case of Fox et. al. v. Federal Communications Commission, which is just one of several cases to come before the federal court system involving expletive use in certain broadcast mediums. The current case started when U2 won an award at an awards show, and Bono got up on stage to speak. In that speech he dropped the f-bomb, which was completely unscripted and unexpected.
The premise of the lawsuit is that the FCC is trying to prove that it has the authority to punish not only vulgar language, but even single usage of said language whether scripted or not. Specifically, the FCC is trying to punish the usage of two words that have been deemed indecent. One of those words is the f-word. Since 2004, even one-time usage of the word has been illegal in broadcasting.
Once again, the FCC is attempting to protect society from what could be viewed as indecent or offensive. But honestly, what does the commission think it is protecting us from? What do they think is so horrible?
Expletives are common in today’s society. Nearly everyone uses them, and many people use them fairly frequently. Even I’m known to drop a few expletives now and then when I’m angry or upset, or even in everyday conversation. I’m watching a movie as I write this, and I’ve already used the s-word several times in response to some crazy events. I think it’s just a common method of expression for our generation.
Is the FCC trying to protect children from these horrible words? I’m sure most children already hear these words on a regular basis from their relatives, probably their parents. I know I did. Now, my parents didn’t go around spouting swear words just because they could, but they definitely used them when they were angry. I heard nearly every word in the book: the f-word, the d-word, the s-word, and any combination thereof.
But let’s back up to Big Bird for a second. Does anyone REALLY believe he’ll start dropping the f-bomb just because he can? Will Dora the Explorer start teaching children swear words in Spanish? What about Bob the Builder? I’m sure there is any number of ways the writers could manipulate his catch phrase. But will they? I highly doubt it. Parents would inevitably get upset because God forbid someone say something offensive around their children, even though they probably already do it anyway, and ratings and viewership for the shows would drop off. And something tells me the producers of those shows just wouldn’t allow that to happen.
I really think the people fighting for such strict regulation of language need to come up with a better argument than the fact that Big Bird will start dropping the f-bomb. Because in my book, at least, that just doesn’t hold up.