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?).
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.