Firstly, the <insert positive adjective here> Neil Gaiman posted an entry dealing with profanity. And in particular he mentioned that a bill has been introduced before the House of Representatives which seeks to ban seven specific nasty words and phrases that should be deemed profane. Now I'd heard about this bill a couple of weeks ago on the excellent The Daily Show, but when I'd looked for it online I couldn't find it anywhere. Seemingly Mr Gaiman has better sources or googling ability than me. And I guess because the bill has all these naughty words in it, I didn't get to read about it in the mainstream press.
Here's the full text in all it's glorious... um glory.
To amend section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, to provide for the punishment of certain profane broadcasts, and for other purposes.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
December 8, 2003
Mr. OSE (for himself and Mr. SMITH of Texas) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To amend section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, to provide for the punishment of certain profane broadcasts, and for other purposes
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
(1) by inserting `(a)' before `Whoever'; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
`(b) As used in this section, the term `profane', used with respect to language, includes the words `shit', `piss', `fuck', `cunt', `asshole', and the phrases `cock sucker', `mother fucker', and `ass hole', compound use (including hyphenated compounds) of such words and phrases with each other or with other words or phrases, and other grammatical forms of such words and phrases (including verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms).'.
I find this list just fascinating. The exclusion of crap, bollocks, bugger, bastard, cock (when not associated with sucker), wanker and arse.... yes I just wanted to write some rude words. But I do wonder if I could get away with saying 'arse' on television, if this bill was ever passed. And how taking the piss out of someone is the same as calling him a cunt. I'm also amazed at the lack of racial slurs from this list... but more on that later.
Then I read this story about CBS showing images of the dying Diana Princess of Wales, and I thought hmm showing someone dying that's not obscene. I don't really give a shit that she was Princess of Wales (in a small confession, I have to admit I didn't much like in her life), but whoever she was it ain't nice to show piccies of her bloodied dying body (do you like the cow by the way). But I'm sure this broadcast received very few complaints as we here in America we all love blood and death, but when we don't see Janet Jackson's tit 200,000 people complain. To my mind at least there is something wrong with.... well a lot of things.
Today my third link decided to get in on the act. As Football365 reported on Ron Atkinson getting sacked/resigning for making racist remarks whilst he was still being transmitted live to the Middle East. Now when I first read about Big Ron's indiscretion it was from a Yahoo news feed that (I think) came from Reuters. It reported Big Ron as saying: "...f****** lazy nigger" and I thought how strange they aren't sensoring the word that actually got him sacked. Cause, truth be told you can say fuck this and cunt that all you like and no-one will bat an eyelid, however if you say the n-word (nigger... just wanted to say it) then you can get yourself in some serious shit. Well you can if you are white... or in Ron's case some strange reddy colour. But now if you look at any of the stories on Yahoo, Ananova or the above Football365 story they've worked out that nigger is an offensive word, and in fact it's the offensive word that got Ron sacked. So now the quote is reported as "f***ing lazy thick ni**er".
Not that I ever saw the point in sensoring words like this. I mean what else could ni**er be? According to Merriam-Webster: nibber, nicker, niffer, nigger, nigher, nimmer, nipper, nipter, nither and nitter.
Oh and in case your thick like me. A nimmer is a thief..... I got bored and didn't look up the others which I didn't know.