Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In Defense of Expletives and the Weiner Nation

One of the greatest gifts our Founding Fathers gave us was the Bill of Rights, those ten Amendments specifically designed to secure our natural rights, especially from the power of the federal government. And one in particular, the freedom of speech is one that faces constant attack by those who want to silence dissent.

In other countries, it's not this way. Take the example of the latest list of people that the United Kingdom has banned from coming to their country. They've banned terrorist types, extremist hate mongers and one Michael Allen Wiener (AKA Michael Savage, AKA the Antichrist). Now while I'm not a fan of his, I have occasionally listened to a little of his show (mainly because I didn't get around to turning the dial. That was the case Tuesday night. Except that I did listen to his first segment, where he talked about this issue. And on this, he's right to be pissed. I'd be ready to bounce off the wall if my most virulent comments put me in the same category as people who advocate acts of terror and murder.

Now here's something to think about. I'm hesitant to label anything as "hate speech" because it's easier to justify not allowing people to preach hate. And as pissed and ridiculous as I've heard Savage get, I've never heard him say, or read transcripts of anything that crosses that line. And that goes quadruple for every radio talker I do listen to.

Now in this country, we have had many attempts to attack free speech. From the Sedition Act of 1798 (the darkest of stains on the Adams administration, to Nixon's attempts to have John Lennon deported, there have been attempts by those in political power to hobble their opposition.

But no one politician or no one party, or no one government agency has been more responsible for the destruction of the freedom of speech than the antithesis of the First Amendment known as the Federal Communications Commission (AKA the Federal Communist Commission, AKA any combination of expletives starting with A and C and the word Communist).

From their thrice-damned site:
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.
In other words, soulless government hacks are empowered to to control every known form of electronic communication. And while there is some degree of necessity in protecting the rights of one individual or group in their use of certain airwaves, the FCC has never really limited itself in that way.

From the ever-misnamed "Fairness Doctrine" that crippled radio to puritanical decency codes enforced by edict and fine, the FCC has ridden herd on diversity in radio and on TV, creating pablum and stifling serious discussion.

And even today, when there are many people screaming about the breakdown of society because of the decadence of television, they're debating charging networks for someone uttering the word "fuck" once during a live show or a well-Tivo'd glance at a tit.

Again, this is the danger of allowing government control of something that can otherwise develop in the free market. With the advent of cable, it became possible for channels to program to their audience. And while we're not to the point where ABC is going to run double penetration orgies up against NBC's donkey show hour (wait, that's MSNBC's prime time), we're approaching a point where people will finally be able to watch what they want.

Case in point, here's the best example of quality shit (162 times) on TV. And I'm linking to this because it aired as you watch it, and makes the point as to why quality trumps pure obscenity for the sake of it.

And thankfully, a dedicated bunch of people have worked to keep the government away from the Internet so we can all write the most horribly wrong, perverse, and entertaining things on our blogs before visiting that 2girls1cup site (no I'm not linking to that shit). Strangely, the newest media is the closest thing we have to the newspapers which our Founding Fathers protected with an Amendment.

So in dealing with forms of communication I'm always going to err on the side of broadcasting it no matter the content, then let people vote on it the old fashioned way. With their remote controls and radio knobs.

And since I can't find a perfect clip to sing us out (and it's after 1am), I'll leave it at that.


Name: Soapboxgod said...

Thanks for not adopting the whole "hate speech" thing Patrick. Good post. You'll get no argument from me.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

You know the FCC does do more than just the things you mentioned, right?

They do things like manage the Emergency System and make sure that people know wtf they're doing before they get a license to operate a radio station (I have one of these).

I mean, not that any of that shit matters to you, but it's important just the same. Do you want someone who doesn't know what they're doing running a 100,000w transmitter?

Toad734 said...

This is probably one of the only things we can agree on. I think there should be certain channels where you can predict the type of content which may be on them and then let the viewer decide. So if SciFi Channel wants to actually air Caprica, with its titty sceneds and all, it would probably have to change its rating or at least the rating of that show.

I don't think God Bobs with 12 kids should have to roll the dice on a show not knowing what type of content to expect nor do I want a pervert to start watching some Lifetime show which he things will end in a lesbian orgy when in fact it just ends with someone getting a new kitten and moving on with their life. Maybe even the consumer should just be able to purchase which types of packages they are willing to watch. So the Jesus family only has to buy Jesus friendly channels and I can get the ass and titty channel package which may or may not include all the Jesus channels. After all, sometimes it is fun to watch 700 club when I want to see extreme paranoia in action.

And the FCC does need to set some standards on broadcasting fequencies and the power behind those signals and possibly even monitor the said rating system to make sure they are honest but we could pretty much reduce that agency to about 10 people.

The accidental nipple things are real life. Are they going to try to censor nipple slips at the beach every time some chick gets hit by a big wave? Shit happens and kids do live in the real world and you cannot shelter them from everything so why try.

That all being said, if you don't want tits on TV or want your kids to see violence, don't have a TV, don't have cable or set the lock on your tv and don't let your kids have a TV or the internet in their bedroom.

Dr. Funkenstein said...

It's about fuckin time you took a stand on the right side!
You've been licking those lefties boots long enough!

Patrick M said...

Soapster: I've always had a problem with the term hate speech. it allows a psychological justification for taking rights away.

Saty: Yes, I know a good deal of what the FCC does. And while some of them (like the licensing of use of certain frequencies) is a necessary evil and certain other functions (like the emergency systems) do fall withing government purview, the FCC has been a massive force for censorship. That'll keep them in my crosshairs until they cease to exist.

Toad: You're sounding so free market on this, it almost makes me smile. Almost.

Free nips for all!!!

Dr Funk: LOL. Whose boots have I been licking?

In this post, I have one libertarian, one socialist, and one liberal Democrat type. The socialist disagrees only because she misunderstood my issues with the FCC. The only group that really would disagree would be the hard social conservatives and Democrats who want to silence talk radio.

I'm on nobody's "side."

Toad734 said...

I mean, I think there should be some limit on the lies and misinformation spread by people like Rush and Hannity. I think they should be free to lie about themselves and say "I hate America and want it to fail" but when they tell straight up lies about a particular person/administration/group of people, etc. thats where lines should start to be drawn. I'm not even saying it should be censored but when Hannity comes on and say that the Stimulus Package failed and has done no good for the economy at all, that is a flat out lie and the administration should be able to sue him for that because it isn't true and is essentially slander. All he has to do is look at his 401k statements and the stock market to know that shit is getting better. If he wanted to say the stimulus package wasn't worth the money, thats debatable but that it has done no good at all isn't.

By the way, I am not a communist. There are things that are appealing about the free market and we should always practice some sort of free market to a degree. You don't want a completely free market either, no one wants monopolies or wants corporations to be able to just police themselves, dump lead in the water, etc.

With regards to GB, they don't live under our constitution and our constitution would never allow something like that to happen. I don't know who this guy is so I don't know what kinds of things he says but it probably isn't as bad as Bin Laden if he is actually on the radio. Although radicals come in all colors, shapes and sizes and religions. The KKK burns crosses in front of peoples houses to promote Christianity, Islamic fundamentalists burn American flags to promote Islam. Same difference really. Maybe he is a cross burner or something. Again, I dont think the free market or the FCC would allow either of those groups to broadcast on the radio so it probably is a moot point as far as we are concerned.

We can also thank the FCC for all the impending HDTV this summer.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I wasn't necessarily disagreeing, I was pointing out that they do more than just make lists of dirty words.

KIND AND GENTLE101 said...

Sensible regulation of the airways is a good idea my friends. And I know that if Patrick were watching network TV with his children and all of a sudden a character began throwing out the F word, he would be angry and demand government did something about it.

Arthurstone said...

Couldn't happen in this country?


There's a lengthy history of folks denied entry into the US based on their politics. They tend to come from the left of the political spectrum. Cold war reflexes I guess

Can't say I'm much bothered by the UKs standards. Nice to to have a 'conservative' enjoy a little taste.

BB-Idaho said...

So, the Brits were wrong in banning
Rev. Fred Phelps as well?

dmarks said...

Toad said: "I think there should be some limit on the lies and misinformation spread by people like Rush and Hannity"

What you are really referring to is difference of political opinion, and that is protected by the First Amendment of the constitution.

Your "Hannity comes on and say that the Stimulus Package failed and has done no good for the economy at all" is a perfect example of a expression of a political opinion.

The effect of the stimulus package is wide open for debate, and is not a matter of "truth or lie". Simular to the much older subject of what good Reagan's tax cuts did. Such speech should be entirely be protected, and not be subject to the FCC censoring. Such censorship would be based not on whether something were true or not, but whether or not the opinion being expressed is "politically incorrect" in the eyes of whatever party controls the FCC.

I don't even see a need for the FCC to get into censoring blatant lies. Dan Rather's claims of Bush going AWOL, based on forged documents, are an example of a clear-cut lie (as opposed to opinion). That problem took care of itself without any government involvement whatsoever.

Likewise, if Sean Hannity comes on the radio tomorrow and tells us that Obama is really a citizen of Jupiter, just turn the ##@!?#@ knob.

As Patrick said, the acceptible way to limit those whose political speech you disagree with is to "then let people vote on it the old fashioned way. With their remote controls and radio knobs"

Patrick M said...

BB: I REALLY hate to say it, but if the insipid scumbag Phelps has not actually advocated violence illegal activity, then yes. But I'm sure there's something on this bastard's record they could use to keep him out.

Patrick M said...

101: And I know that if Patrick were watching network TV with his children and all of a sudden a character began throwing out the F word, he would be angry and demand government did something about it.Actually, I'd change the channel and address any expletives my kids have picked up. And I usually keep a tight leash on what the kids watch, and I generally know the content of every show and channel (as if Disney is ever going to introduce the Mickey Mouse Fuckhouse any time soon). And my main concern is content and context of the stories, not specific words.

Of course, they've already heard me while listening to an Obama press conference, so they've heard worse. Believe it or not, I tone down my language severely on the blog. :)