Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reason #219: Fleeting Expletives and Momentary Nudity

The Supreme Court ruled today against the FCC and its fining of Fox and ABC over brief moments of naughty words and body parts, respectively, on the two networks. While skirting what would have been a very interesting stance on whether the FCC has to power to determine indecency in the first place, the ruling simply found that the FCC had failed to give the networks proper advance notice that "fleeting expletives and momentary nudity", in the words of Justice Anthony Kennedy, were finable offenses--as opposed to, y'know, good old-fashioned family entertainment.

Time was, things like that would've been instantly identifiable as offensive to the overwhelming majority of Americans, so it's actually very encouraging that seeing a lady's butt on NYPD Blue, as was the case regarding ABC's fine, now requires specific delineation as indecent content.

It's still silly, of course, but it seems to me that the further down the rabbit hole the FCC has to go in listing the exact things that aren't allowed on prime time television--and in what contexts and quantities--the more those things will start to seem silly to the rest of us, and maybe that will be lead to some relaxation of our utterly outmoded notions of indecency. And in the meantime, there's always FX and AMC.

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