Ernest on "Profane" [4:33 pm]
Prof Solum points to Ernest Miller’s discussion of the FCC’s characterization of Bono’s "fucking brilliant" as profane speech — and now he’s getting Slashdotted, although the Corante server seems to be holding up ok.
The first thing that struck me, however, was not that the use of “fucking” as an adjective was found to be indecent. I understand the FCC thing about indecency. I don’t agree, but I understand it. What struck me and what I don’t really understand is this whole “profane” thing. Isn’t “profane” something like blasphemy or contempt for the sacred? Well, it used to be. Used to be, as in people are seldom prosecuted or fined for it anymore, and the FCC never used it.
Turns out, where most anti-indecency folks would have been happy with overturning the original “fucking” decision, the FCC decided to go one big step further and has decided to basically create a doctrine of the profane. Why they would want to do this I have no idea. Nevertheless, this renewed doctrine seems to have the strong support from every commissioner: