Monday, October 24, 2011

Adult Language on TV and Radio

This post was inspired by my Facebook friend, Angie Rayfield. She posted the other day that she had heard the line, “...pussy bitch” on a TV program. Nothing new there, right? Gangsters and thugs say that stuff all the time on TV. But then, in the same show, “...suck my [bleep]” was heard. The interesting point that “pussy” was allowed, but “dick” wasn’t, was brought up by Angie.

And, let’s face it, it *is* interesting. In the above example, it’s the meaning behind the words, I feel, that kept one out but allowed the other in. “Pussy” was said in lieu of “sissy”. “Dick” however, would have meant the man’s penis, and that’s just not accepted in our society – yet.

I have heard phrases like, “That car is tits!” on several shows, but you won’t hear a man saying, “Look at those tits!” on the same shows. The connotation makes a big difference, but why? It’s the same word! It seems quite silly to me, really.

When I was young, if you wanted to hear the really bad curses, you had to have a movie channel, and then stay up late enough to catch Eddie Murphy, or George Carlin, or someone of their ilk. “Damn” was still real iffy on basic cable, and it caught your attention when it was said. Today, obviously, those lines have moved, or have been eradicated altogether.

The same thing can be said about radio play. The things they choose to let air vs. the things they choose to bleep out are amazing to me, sometimes. There are certain songs out today that aren’t even enjoyable to listen to on the radio, because it sounds like a heart monitor with a beat thrown in. Just constant bleeps with the occasional instrumental break. What good is that?

I wonder where this is all heading. How long before there are *no* lines to cross? How long before Disney characters are swearing at each other, or fornicating? How long before the average sitcom is allowed to contain any and all words? Or, maybe, we’ll go backward and try to clean things up. What do you think? Should progress necessarily mean total freedom of language on the airwaves?


Sevastian Winters said...

Certainly, it should be allowed on the airwaves. Sometimes I think we just make up morality as we go along as some sort of ridiculous way of keeping score.... of differentiating ourselves from other people. The truth is that the only thing that makes certain words "crude" is the randomly placed assignment handed down to us that says they are.

Cindy said...

I always worry when I find myself agreeing with Sev, (LOL, it happens a lot actually!) but what really ticks me off is when they bleep things on the radio or make up words that are just another way of saying the same thing. All the "fracking" on BattleStar Galactica comes to mind.
And when they bleep out words related to drugs especially, I assume the censors must be idiots. The people they are "protecting" probably know the offensive language better than they do.
The simple truth is Americans are too prudish compared to the rest of the world. Weird, huh?

Lindsay Maddox said...

I'm torn on the issue, really.

On one hand, I swear like a fucking sailor. Srsly, cuss words are my vice, though I try *very* hard to squelch my potty mouth in front of the kiddos.

On the other hand, I don't want my kids hearing bad words and repeating them. (Do as I say, not as I do, kids.)

Anywhatzit, I know you're talking about adult shows that are on later at night when kids shouldn't be privy to them anyway, so I guess I'm offering an enormous digression here.

How's that for a non-answer and a whole bunch of randomness? You're welcome. ;)

Michelle Devon (Michy) said...

Words are just words. We ascribe meaning to them. I don't see that a word is 'dirty' any more than a certain finger is 'bad'. It means nothing without context anyway. When my kids were little, I cursed in Spanish around them. They just thought they were funny words I said and made up. They meant nothing to my kids. I've never understood why curse words are 'bad'. I'll never get it.

But as for censors, I know a bit about that, having worked in television years ago. When the reference is non-sexual, it has a lower censorship than when it's sexual. In the reference to 'dick', if a woman had said, "Don't be a dick, John..." meaning, don't be a jerk or an asshole, they wouldn't have bleeped it. But 'suck my dick' has a sexual reference, so it can't be used.

To get an NC17 rating, the word fuck can only be used in certain circumstances too, referring to non-sexual things and can only be used some of the time.

We laugh when the bleep out "ass****" leaving the 'ass', but taking out the 'hole'. Truth is, it's not like anybody doesn't know what the words are supposed to be.

My favorite isn't when they bleed them though - it's when they dub in fake words in their place - sometimes I laugh so hard I miss part of the show.