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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Obscene language is not acceptable

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Well it looks like the Federal Communications Commission is about to reverse itself and start getting tough on obscene language hitting the television airwaves. That will come as welcome relief given the current state of our social decline.

The brouhaha over the filthy language began when singer and political activist Bono used the f-word on a national network awards program. In what was viewed as an unbelievable ruling, the FCC said the word was not obscene because it was used as an adjective instead of a reference to a sex act. That shocking ruling was widely condemned from all sides of the political spectrum. And now the FCC is finally coming to their senses.

The FCC on Wednesday said they want to increase the fines for foul language tenfold from the current maximum of $27,500 to $275,000. That should get the attention of broadcasters.

Everyone in this national debate agrees that the days of "Ozzie and Harriet" are long gone. But the question is just how far are we willing to go before we recognize that enough is enough.

Legislation has also been offered on a different front that would disallow seven obscene words from being broadcast in any format or context over the airwaves. Combined with the FCC proposal for higher fines, surely change will be coming soon.

Part of the decline of our society - and I firmly believe we're in a social decline - is the result of this language being "accepted" in some quarters. I have written before that I am by no means a prude and I am as guilty as the next person of using inappropriate language on far too many occasions. But there's a difference between office humor or personal shortcomings and the acceptance of this language as part of our entertainment culture.

I would suggest the FCC consider a fine 100-fold the current rate. You get a network executive looking at a million dollar fine and I believe they'll get the message.

Regardless of the avenue of change, we must make every effort to rid our culture of additional erosion. One starting point is our language.

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