February 28, 2005

Pvt. Ryan Gets A Pass (updated 3/01) [5:12 pm]

Your tax dollars at work: In the Matter of Complaints Against Various Television Licensees Regarding Their Broadcast on November 11, 2004, of the ABC Television Network’s Presentation of the Film “Saving Private Ryan” (press release)

18. In so concluding, we find that this case is distinguishable from that in which we

previously found the use of the word “fucking” during the broadcast of the 2003 Golden Globe Awards ceremony to be indecent and profane in context. The contextual differences between the expletives contained in the broadcast of the film here and that contained in the 2003 broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards ceremony are critical to our analysis under section 1464. The utterance of the word “fucking” by a performer during the Golden Globe Awards telecast occurred in the context of a live awards program in which use of the word was shocking and gratuitous, where no claim of “any political, scientific or other independent value” was made, and during which children were expected to be in the audience. Consequently, we concluded that, in context, the use of the word “fucking” in that instance was indecent and profane. In contrast, and as discussed above, in the different context presented here, the complained-of material broadcast during the presentation of the film “Saving Private Ryan” is not indecent or profane.

Hmmmmmmmm - and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, again? Too bad stations had to wait for someone to take the plunge before the FCC would rule.

Later: CNN looks at What was censored at the Oscars [pdf]

Comedian Robin Williams said it all when he walked on stage with a piece of white tape over his mouth.

Williams was to have performed a song lampooning conservative critic James C. Dobson, whose group had criticized cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants for appearing in a video it branded “pro-homosexual.”

He was going to do it by concentrating on the dark underside of other cartoon characters, asking, for example whether Casper the Friendly Ghost wore that white sheet as a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Marc Shaiman, who wrote Williams’ original routine, said he decided to withdraw the material after ABC raised objections that would have led to him re-writing 11 of 36 lines. ABC declined to comment.

[...] Williams was not available to comment on his act at the Oscars, but he told the New York Times [pdf] on Friday:

“For a while you get mad, then you get over it. They’re afraid of saying Olive Oyl is anorexic. It tells you about the state of humor. It’s strange to think: How afraid are you?”

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