Obscenity Ruling Will Keep America’s Children Safe - NBC New York

Obscenity Ruling Will Keep America’s Children Safe

If our youngsters don’t hear naughty words on television, they’ll never learn what they mean

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Meeting Veterans’ Special Needs in Hospice
    Getty Images
    These children are learning a whole bunch of indecent terms from this television show about the weather.

    Around the world, other nations know America as a civilized and genteel county. We are among the most polite, well-mannered and gracious people in the history of mankind, and we have vocabulary to prove it. Many Americans go to their graves never letting a swear word pass their noble lips, because they have simply never learned to pronounce those foul phrases.

    For those who do decide to teach their children naughty words, they instruct them not personally -- for what right-thinking adult would ever utter an obscenity in their own home? -- but rather by sitting them in front of a television between 8 and 11 p.m.

    These hallowed hours, known as "prime time," very occasionally showcase a celebrity saying a bad word on a live broadcast, like the time the Irish musician and New York Times columnist Bono said “[effin’] brilliant” during an awards show.

    During these special occasions, millions of American children finally learn how to pronounce these bad words. Otherwise, they would never know.

    Sure, sometimes you can catch a celebrity saying the "c-word" on daytime TV, or you hear stories about elected officials tossing around the "f-word" or the "bull manure" word at each other, but only when they really deserve it. And sure, most prime-time television features horrific gore, tales of brutal humiliation or groups of unmarried idiots competing to have sex with one very special unmarried idiot. In other words, it’s all pretty wholesome fare, with nary a swear word to be heard. (It’s all bleeped out.)

    The point is this: Thank goodness we have a Supreme Court that is willing to uphold the right of the FCC to fine networks when people spontaneously say naughty words, because it robs millions of impressionable American citizens of their innocence every time this happens.

    The linguist Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette.