Monday, April 22, 2013

FCC Tacitly Acknowledges That ‘Fucking’ Can Be a Great Fucking Word

FCC Tacitly Acknowledges That ‘Fucking’ Can Be a Great Fucking Word:
On Saturday, just before the Boston Red Sox took the field in
the first game since the city was shut down to find the marathon
bombers, the team handed the mic to beloved slugger David "Big
Papi" Ortiz. In front of the mayor, governor, Neil Diamond, and a
huge live broadcast audience, Papi dropped one of the better
F-bombs you'll see:



Transcript
here
. As amazing as it may seen, the Federal Communications
Commission is
still pondering
whether and how to punish such "fleeting
expletives
," even after having some of its FE punishments

struck down by the Supreme Court
in 2012. As the FCC asks in
its
request for public comment
on its indecency policy [PDF],
For example, should the Commission treat isolated expletives in
a manner consistent with our decision in Pacifica Foundation,
Inc.
, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 2 FCC Rcd 2698, 2699
(1987) ("If a complaint focuses solely on the use of expletives, we
believe that . . . deliberate and repetitive use in a patently
offensive manner is a requisite to a finding of indecency.")?
Should the Commission instead maintain the approach to isolated
expletives set forth in its decision in Complaints Against
Various Broadcast Licensees Regarding Their Airing of the "Golden
Globe Awards" Program
, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 19 FCC
Rcd 4975 (2004)?
While a jumpy nation waits to see whether an agency set up to
divvy up scarce spectrum continues making a mockery of the phrase
"Congress
shall make no law
," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has issued
an official
Tweet
pre-absolving Big Papi (and the broadcasters who carried
him live) from blame:
David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today's Red Sox game. I
stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston – Julius
Why, it's almost like "fucking" is a rich, colorful word capable
of conveying a nearly infinite set of meanings!
There may be an extra benefit to Genachowski's attempt to get on
the popular side of a profanity: The Supreme Court's decision in
FCC v.
Fox
reprimanded the agency for enforcing regulations that
are unconstitutionally vague. Surely any policy that depends on the
definitionally slippery standard of whether Julius "stands" with
the curser cannot be anything but arbitrary. It'll be damned hard
carving out a new fleeting expletive policy that navigates through
the new Genachowski exception while also satisfying SCOTUS. Nice
fucking job, Papi.