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The Filthy Speech Movement

The neocon Fox television network has violated decency standards by broadcasting the “s-word” and the “f-word” in family-viewing time slots. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled in March that broadcasting such vulgarities was “indecent.” The FCC, however, did not impose a fine on Fox. Nevertheless, Fox appealed the FCC ruling, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York decided in Fox’s favor. The Court said that it is “arbitrary and capricious” for the FCC to prohibit primetime profanity, in essence saying it violates free-speech protections. A spokesman for Fox said that “government regulation of content serves no purpose other than to chill artistic expression in violation of the First Amendment” (Reuters, June 4).

Your Editor remembers the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley in 1964, which was about civil rights. In its wake, the Filthy Speech Movement was devised as a mockery by beatniks and bohemians. It primarily consisted of homosexual beat poet Allen Ginsberg and his buddies standing on campus and shouting random obscenities at passersby — you know, “artistic expression.” The Free Speech Movement didn’t want to have anything to do with them, at least not officially.

The Filthy Speech Movement can now be declared victorious. When the Fox television network, which brownnoses for the Bush Administration, sues for its “right” to curse, you know obscene language has won.

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