Tuesday, March 28, 2006

FCC Indeceny Fines Expose Government Hypocrisy--What's Next: Illegal Wiretaps and Stifling Dissent?

Naturally, I'd prefer to be talking about music today like the really great stuff that has been released like the super double CD just released by Hank III, the amazing Dub 911 CD by the Scientist, or the long overdue US 2CD comp of Ananda Shankar, the cool new Pearls and Brass CD on Drag City, etc. I might even throw a bit in about George Brigman's 4 star featured review and full page pic in the April Mojo or a few words about our greatly anticipated CD comp of the Left which is almost ready. But no, as I feel I need to make some comment on the absurdity of our government, specifically the FCC, and their simply incredible actions which basically make a mockery of our democracy and amount to nothing more than censorship. In fact, it took about a week for the "chilling effect" (or the proper word: censorship) to commence. When the government tries to control our speech, they are doing nothing more than using the Contitution for toilet paper!

Attempting to draw a line in the dirt which one may not cross from 6 AM--10PM, the FCC has become tangled up in its own syntax, failing to realize the preposterous nature of trying to regulate a language (and images) that are always changing and label such indecent according to some top secret list of dirty words and even thoughts.
Case in point: A half second glimpse of a bare breast nets a $500,000 fine. Thats the human body we are calling indecent, yet when a guest on Oprah describes a "tossed salad" as "oral sex with the anus" that is not indecent?? Reportedly one of the FCC staff said they couldn't go after Oprah cause she was "beloved"! Another case, it was ok to say the f word in Saving Private Ryan, but it was indecent when used in Martin Scorcese's blues documentary! Clearly little guidance and anything resembling sanity is coming from the FCC. They have perverted the democratic process so they only act when there are complaints. Yet, far from the majority, a very vocal minority make up most of the complaints. Threatening stations with fines due to a tiny minority who want to control what everyone sees and also being in a position to revoke or prolong license renewals gives these appointed officials undue power which has no checks or balances.

Am I the only one appalled at our tax dollars being used to split hairs over which words are indecent? Where's the outrage that govt. employees even sit around discussing a tossed salad or whether nude cartoon characters are indecent? And what is wrong with seeing a glimpse of a human breast? If the FCC is so concerned that we might be corrupted, let them make a list of the indecent words or images so we know what is banned. FCC chairman Kevin Martin says "I think that's more guidance than there was before the order...There's inherently lines that end up being drawn".
Sure Mr. Martin, please explain where that line falls and why "Dickhead" is fine, yet "Bullshit" is not. And where does "blumpkin " fit in? And exactly when is it ok to use the f word, or is it just OK in Steven Spielberg movies?

This discussion is quite shocking that its even taking place in the Land of the Free. I guess lately it seems we live in the land where those in charge are free to do want they want. The perception is that no longer do we live in a land where free expression and open discussion is the norm, but it's increasingly a hostile environment that is chipping away at our freedoms and steering our country down a slippery slope. There is no easy solution, but as long as I have a voice, I will tell anyone who listens and I will vote as well. We have too many other problems with our country now to waste any more time and money arguing about what is literally "bullshit"!