Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What the . . . ?! Fleeting Expletives May Be on the Radar Again

Radio Ink reports that Diane Keaton's dropping of the f-bomb on Good Morning America last week may stoke the FCC fires on so-called fleeting expletives. Members of the activist group the American Family Association have reportedly lodged thousands of complaints to Keaton's slip-of-tongue.

A previous FCC attempt at regulating the occasional heat-of-the-moment cursing was overturned by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. However, according to Radio Ink, bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate that would "
specifically allow the FCC to set a policy that single words or images can put a broadcaster in violation of the indecency rules."

Apparently the impetus for the expletive was lip envy:
"Keaton said that if she had lips like GMA host Diane Sawyer's, Keaton wouldn't have had to work on her 'fucking personality.'"

One might hope that the profanity causing such a dust-up would be worthy of the reaction. Unfortunately, Keaton's utterance is no more exciting or taboo than the Super Bowl Boobygate. If ultra-conservatives want to express outrage over nudity, why not wait until an actual boob is exposed and remains visible for more than 1/20th of a second? And if they're britches are going to get bound up by a naughty word, why waste their energy on such a casual utterance? (Wouldn't it me more effective to go after full frontal in a sex scene where the female participant repeatedly instructs the male participant as to how hard he should do what he is doing? At least that would be a twofer.)

To seek to control fleeting expletives - or really any modest amount of "bad" words - is puritanical on a level way out of proportion with the rest of American culture.