Okay, censorship questions have been in the news as everyone freaks out over Don Imus. Yes, his "nappy headed hos" comment was offensive, racist, and dumb--not even Imus is disagreeing with that. Yes, he's built a career and been very successful with that shtick. And yes, rappers use that sort of language all the time. I don't really care what happens to him (although I suspect he'll be hired somewhere--possibly satellite radio--pretty quickly). I understand those who think he shouldn't be fired, and I understand those who think he should have been fired long ago. Whatever.
What I do want to talk about is something I actually watch--"Futurama" on Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim". A couple of nights ago, both episodes featured Professor Farnsworth saying the phrase, "sweet zombie Jesus!" Except both times, it was edited into "sweet zombie [silence]". WTF!? People, I've always thought society is too sensitive, but now in less than 8 years we've become so thin-skinned that something that used to be acceptable on network TV (Fox, specifically), is now too offensive to be said on cable! With all due respect, FUCK THAT! Fuck that over and over again, in whatever hole you can find/make, with all sorts of foreign objects, until it fucking bleeds to death!
Seriously, this isn't so much a matter of the specifics of this edit. I just hear and think about censorship and societal norms so much, and I don't have much of a sense of whether our skin has gotten thinner or thicker. Sometimes I think we're allowed to speak more openly now about some subjects, and sometimes I think just the opposite. I certainly don't think this one incident is conclusive, but it's interesting to see such a specific, clear cut example on the thin-skinned side.
I typically don't watch the re-runs of Futurama as I have all the DVDs. And thank the Sweet Zombie Jesus for that! All I can say is that I second that advice to shove everything into that censorship hole until it f*$%ing bleeds to death (times 2). Apparently the public's skin is thicker when it comes to killing people, sawing body parts off, et.al. than it is with a zombified pseudo-deity. It scares me to think that our "fair and balanced" FOX network is more "liberal" than cable. WTF, WTF, WTF...and I DON'T mean World Trade Federation.
Eh, adult swim buckling to wackos who might get offended over their own stupidity (ahem, "people who are too serious about their own beliefs").
Don't forget Boston. "Ooooh, LED lights like a light-bright! Must be terrurists!"
Ooooooh, this is allowing anonymous comments now? Helloooooo blogspam!
Interested in c1@l1s? We have deals here!
Yeah, I have the Futurama DVDs, too. But when I got Comcast cable, I got a DVR, so I set it to record in case there's nothing else I feel like watching on.
And yeah, I'm allowing anonymous posts for a while, until I see how much spam I get. Just an experiment. Perhaps I'll keep the anonymous posts but force the funky word recognition. Depends on what's least annoying.
Censorship is actually one of the most important arguments in America today. We're not even close to our ideal goals if we don't have real 1st amendment rights. I like to use the smoking in a restaurant analogy. In my state smoking has been banned everywhere. Even in bars. Here's the thing. We're supposed to live in a society that is going more towards being free, not more towards being socialist, according to the founding fathers. We made a republic as a compromise to pure freedom. Still smokers are trated like evil people in my state, almost like they have the plague. Which plague I'll let you choose. The state has even forced PRIVATELY OWNED restaurants and bars to ban smoking. I believe that non-smokers have a right not to inhale smoke, but no one is forcing them to go out to eat. The smoking thing works both ways when it comes to marketing. Establishments could advertise as non-smoking, smoking, or both like they used to. You know when we used to be reasonable. I believe that establishements should do something reasonable like post a sign saying yes we do allow smoking here or not we don't, but that should be a decision of the individual owners of the restaurants, not that of the state. If you're up front with someone about allowing somking in your restaurant and they decide to come there anyway that's there own damned fault for choosing to come. So now I'll tie this in to censorship. Imus has always been some what of an idiot. He was the original shock jock. You shouldn't listen to him an expect not to be offended. Sure what he said was stupid, but it's not the first time he's said something stupid. I almost feel like there are some groups that listen to offensive people just to make a stink. Here's something I find offensive. In a nation that should be past problems with race and focusing on the fact that we're still at war and one kid a day is coming home in a body bag, and we're still not sure why the hell we're over there, well Bush changes his mind every month, we spent at 48 hours covering Don Imus and it's not even over yet. Do we really have that thin of a skin. Don sealed his own fate by being an idiot. It was a financial decision for CBS right after he opened his idiot mouth. There was really no need to cover it for 48 hours when the far more important topic about extending emergency funding in Iraq was on the table in the same week. We really need to focus on what is important in America and I kind of think that dead soldiers should be more of a priority than Don Imus and the Rutgers basketball team. I've been called offensive things before and you know what I got on with my life, and marked the person that said them as an idiot. At any rate how lame is censorship when people have the choice to change the channel anyway, and have listened to that idiot make offensive comments for years anyway? It just seems to me like when things heat up in Iraq we are always arguing some fundemental rights topic. Kind of like the media is working hand in hand with the government to distract us. I kind of remember gay marriage being huge when things got bad in Iraq, then abortion, now this. Wake up guys they're distracting us!!! At any rate it's a personal responsiblity thing. I find people that are nuts about race topics offensive, so I don't pay much attention to people that pound the crap out of race like Al Sharpton anyway. I don't look at my friends in terms of race and I'm sick of there being groups in the US that are pounding the crap out of it. It's time to move on. Don Imus does not represent even a large portion of white people just like Al Sharpton is not the spokes person for all black people. Also, what fucking right do they have to demand censorship anyway? Just because you don't agree with someone doesn't mean you should demand they be shut down, etc. You simply don't agree with them. You can give your opinion on it. You can boycott them if you like, but not respecting their right to say just about anything, including things you don't want to hear, is the most un-American thing that there is. They should respect your right to speak freely and you should respect theirs. That doesn't mean you have to agree with each other. There is a sort of natural selection with this anyway. Even without AL Sharpton getting pissed, etc. CBS would have lost sponsors and shut the show down anyway. Imus would have been punished without some huge rant from old people about how we haven't really progressed in the field of race. Fuck you Al Sharpton. America is not as racist of a country as you think. Our generation has learned from yours. I am offended by both you and Don Imus and it's time that we all moved on from this pig headed meantiality and got the fuck on with our lives. There are far more important things going on. Like the fact that the gap is getting wider between rich and poor for all Americans black, green, white, and whatever. We need to come together as Americans period, and leave the race dinosaurs and their idiot mentalities behind. There are more important things going on and we need to get our priorities straight. Our nation is at war. We don't really know why. We are the international bitches of Middle Eastern countires with big oil reserves and therefore they really control our fate. Need I go on. Anyway, end rant.
p.s. Jason - where are you comments on 300? My page is waiting :)
I realized that I kind of went around my main point. My overall point is that truly being free is a double edged sword. Real freedom can only occur in a society that has citizens that are willing to be personally responsible. I am willing to accept that fact, within reason, pedophiles should still have their organs harvested and fed to zoo animals no matter what society you live in, but making restaurants refuse smokers and not even letting the owners decide... The owners that bust their asses to pay high taxes so big corporations don't have to... Making people appologize for what they've said. You can say it was suggested, but let's be realistic. Anyway, we are further from our goal of being a free society than we ever have been. You can't say what you want, you can't run your own business the way that you want, the governement can and is spying on many Americans without search warrants. Sigh, if you want to be free you have to be willing to accept that from time to time people are going to say and do things that you don't agree with. A line should be drawn when it directly violates your rights, but no one, as far as I know, has ever forced anyone to watch adult swim, or listen to Don Imus. You can change the damned channel. Actually, if you do that often enough the person you don't like won't be on the air anymore anyway. It's called supply and demand. The thing that is really annoying about adult swim, howard stern, Don Imus, etc. is that people have known for a long time that they're offensive and some people watch to be offended. Just look at some of the wackos that watch Sotuh Park just to pick out what is wrong with it and try to get it banned. Light to moderate censorship is the first step down the dark path that leads to an Orwellian society. This bring me back to a newsletter I wrote about censorship a long time ago where I highlighted a band called Body Count who was forced by the government to remove a song from their album called "Cop Killer". I have heard the original song and the song they relaced it with. The lyrics from that song, entitled "Freedom of Speech" go something like "Freedom of Speech, Just Watch What You Say." I think that about sums up the lame position we're in right now.
Thanks baceman, I'm right with you. My comments on 300 will be up tomorrow, I just saw it today (just before Sleazy Sundays). But here's a little sneak preview: good point--the look/style; bad points--bad CGI, dialogue, plot, point. Review in a nutshell--Wait, am I really supposed to be rooting for Sparta?
So once I flesh that out into a post, I can finally read your post on 300.
So I have become a little obsessed with this topic as of late because it pisses me off so much. Today I tried to find out exactly what was censored. I found out that there are only strict standards for one thing nation wide, as there should be, and that's explicit things involving children. As for everything else there is a test called the Miller test that each state, or even locality, can use to determine if content is or is not considered obscene. I was, of course, not able to find my state's Miller test results or that of 3 other states. I also found that since the Miller test is subjective the society's attitude towards any particular issue can change in an instant and all of a sudden your content can be illegal. Since I intend to work on a reasonably offensive stop motion film I was hoping to find some guidelines of what was acceptable. Not that I really want to push the envelope, but it would be nice to know. It turns out that there is and is not censorship. No one wants to say that there is because of the first amendment, but if you don't use the MPAA system you probably won't get your film shown in major theaters. I am not really concerned with that so I tried to find state laws for my state, and a few others. Let me tell you it's no picnic. This information is hard to find at best. Kind of like how in 1984 there were so many ministries that no one really knew what happened to any content about anything. Anyway, it's really frustrating to know that there is censorship, but not to be able to get a clean cut definition of what the government really means by obscene. They say if the general public would consider it obscene, but it's not like anyone is going to ask everyone in their communities what is obscene and that is different to every person anyway. At best you may ask, let's say, 10 of your friends and of course will get a very distorted view of what not to use. Of course your decision may be totally wrong, but since the only guideline, and I use the term loosely, is the Miller test, whose results are very difficult to find , I guess you're just supposed to release content and hope that a bunch of neo-conservative jerks don't move into your neighborhood and make it illegal. Shit there are groups that consider naked photos obscene period. The state of Utah tried to put a ban on it totally. Could you imagine just having normal pictures of nudes legally in Utah one day and having the cops bash in your door the next. Anyway, that's what the Miller test really gives us. Constantly changing standards that no one can follow and that can change in an instant. That keeps the government out of legal hot water all the way around, but it's kind of lame.
Great rant baceman, but you missed a perfect chance to use my new acronym--WADRFT!
Sorry Jason but what the hell does that mean? :) I guess I'm getting too old to know all of the online acronyms.
With All Due Respect, F--- That! You'd have to have read my later post on splitting "Grindhouse" into two movies. I just invented WADRFT, and I'm hoping to popularize it. So learn it, live it, love it!
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