Saying “fuck” on TV = $325,000; Blogs = $0

Saying fuck now costs $325,000

Smith on Benettontalk reports how “[t]wo days ago, the fine for saying “fuck” on US radio or television was $32,500. Then they added another fucking zero at the end of that number, and the fine for saying fuck is now $325,000. It’s a result of the fucking Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act (BDEA)…”

Hmm… I believe that this policy works regardless of viewership, so if there happens to be say 100 people listening to their radios or 1000 people watching TV when “fuck” comes on, the fine might still stick. Note that both of these broadcast media are time-based… if you’re not there at that time, you miss it entirely. Which brings me to my point…

In contrast to blogs as a medium, bloggers can have huge viewerships (my puny blog gets under 2,000 per day), if not bigger than some of these broadcast media (think BoingBoing). Adding to that, they stick around for a eternity and are even searchable too! That’s where blogs get interesting… they are essentially easy-to-publish web sites for free expression and a place where this decency act doesn’t stick.

So what’s to stop bloggers from saying fuck?

Nothing other than Relevance and Reputation. My excuse for saying fuck today is contextual, not emotional. Too much swearing would turn readers away, but once in a while might be likened to “keeping it real”. On the flip side, there are rant blogs which serve as carthasis devices, which shows that every piper will always have an audience. Other than this difference, blogs and broadcast media are still subject to selectivity, that is you can change the channel if you’re not interested. Some might argue that television and radio are more ubiquitous, but I see them as already losing attention to the Web. So perhaps the only reason why there’s a big deal about saying fuck on air is really to stop the dissemination of an idea, which to some (e.g. Christian faith groups), is considered a wrongdoing.

In any case, Smith recommends saying alternatives such as frack (Battlestar!), frel, fetching, freaking, fricking, friggin, flocking, flippin, fluffing, fecking, effing, hecking, or cruding… I’d pick “Flock” (have you downloaded it yet?).

He adds that the battle over words is nothing new, recommending us to check out Frank Zappa debating it 20 years ago, as well as Lenny Bruce, one of the leading proponents against censorship.

Oh yeah, I’m inviting you to say fuck in the comments or on your blogs. It’s your right, but just don’t abuse it.

6 thoughts on “Saying “fuck” on TV = $325,000; Blogs = $0

  1. Well fuck me, I never knew about these fines. A lot of money for a little beep.

    Flock? That’s a hilarious suggestion; yes, got it yesterday. Looks good but I’m going to need some serious adjusting if I ever am going to use it as default. I adore the blogging and Flickr integration, but I keep wondering why del.icio.us is in there and BlinkList isn’t. I use this and like it very much, but it seems nobody else does. I hardly ever see it mentioned anywhere. Does it suck that much? I might just go back to del.icio.us after all.

  2. Napfisk: del.icio.us was just first to market, that’s why it’s gotten a bigger user base.First one wins!

    Alex H: Definitely having trouble googling for the movie and article. Try it and see what I mean. Do gimme a link!

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