Eight Dirty Words (Count 'em)


The Contra Costa Times reports on the effort by Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.) to increase the FCC's infamous seven dirty words to eight (by doubling up on versions of "asshole").

No grammatical novice, Ose wants to ban noun forms as well as "verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms" of the words too terrible to speak. Ose is pissed–excuse me, peeved–that U2 frontman Bono got away with saying "fucking" during the Golden Globes Award broadcast a while back.

Noted First Amendment lawyer Robert Corn-Revere is quoted in story saying, "There's no conceivable way that an approach like that could survive constitutional review….This is one of the reasons why radios and televisions have on-off switches."

Ose's bill, H.R. 3687, is filled with the dirty language he wants to ban from the airwaves. You can search for it here. Here's the text in full:

To amend section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, to provide for the punishment of certain profane broadcasts, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, is amended–

(1) by inserting `(a)' before `Whoever'; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

`(b) As used in this section, the term `profane', used with respect to language, includes the words `shit', `piss', `fuck', `cunt', `asshole', and the phrases `cock sucker', `mother fucker', and `ass hole', compound use (including hyphenated compounds) of such words and phrases with each other or with other words or phrases, and other grammatical forms of such words and phrases (including verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms).'.

Question for all you amateur lawyers out there: Would it be illegal to go on TV and call Ose a fucking asshole who's wasting everyone's time with shit like this?

NEXT: Saddam v. Spider-Man

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  1. And in Novemeber we get the “freedom” of choice to vote for either an idiot like this – or his “opponent” who merely wants to take by force all the results of my productive efforts.

    And we call this fucking freedom?

  2. As a non-amateur lawyer, my smart-ass response would be that I need to read all of the relevant statutes before I could make a decision. By specifically adding certain words to be included as ‘profane’, Ose would potentially avoid one of the biggest First Amendment problems of void for vagueness. This means that the prohibitions are too vague to provide adequate notice of the proscribed behavior. Thus, the law must be stricken.

    However, Ose seems to run into another problem, overbreadth. A law like this may be constitutional as a time, place and manner restriction if it proscribed saying those words at certain times on non-cable broadcasting, but a blanket prohibition would proscribe conduct that would be protected by the First Amendment. As such, the rule is overbroad and could be struck down or narrowed by a court.

    So the lawyer’s answer to the question is ‘maybe’. But it should not be.

  3. These cork sorkers are farging iceholes

  4. I think this link will have more permanence.

  5. the real question is if this law passes and c-span covers the debate, what will happen?

  6. Oddly enough, Johnny, the bill calls for the deportation of offenders to Sweden. If if you’re not from there.

  7. Actually, “fuck” is not a verb. Not the common “fuck” anyway, as in “fuck you.” It won’t transform in the ways that verbs do, eg. “I said to fuck you,” “Don’t fuck you,” “Do fuck you,” “Please fuck you,” “Fuck you, won’t you?” “Go fuck you,” “Fuck you or I’ll take away your teddy bear,” “Fuck you and I’ll give you a dollar” all are incorrect.

    These and a thousand other bits of evidence can be found in _Studies out in Left Field: Defamatory Essays Presented to James D. McCawley on the Occasion of His 33rd or 34th Birthday_ “Sentences without Overt Grammatical Subject” by Quang Phuc Dong, recently reissued.

    Neither then are the various forms what they seem: to say that “the fuck” in “what the fuck are you doing?” is adjectival in function misses its point, which is to color the whole sentence; it makes a convenience of grammar but does not participate in it.

    Aside from that, “fucking” as in “fucking brilliant” isn’t the adjective that the FCC claimed but an adverb, under any grammatical theory whatsoever.

  8. Limiting the class of words to be proscribed to those that the courts regard as “profane” may cure the overbreadth problem. This implicitly concedes that non-profane uses of such words, as in “legitimate” artistic or political enterprises, would probably be constitutionally protected. The salient question, of course, then becomes: at what point does uttering “ass” on South Park constitute protected expression and when are such utterances examples of valueless profanity? As Anon said, though somewhat facetiously, the right answer in these sorts of muddy constitutional cases is always “maybe” or “who knows?”

  9. Do lawmakers really think “asshole” and “motherfucker” are two words?


  10. This, and the vibrator arrest in Texas, are
    just so pathetic.

    Don’t these people have lives?


  11. Does the law say anything about chickenshit and tight-assed?

  12. in the listing of profane words, where’s “tit”???
    if i remember correctly, the Original Seven are: shit piss cunt tit cocksucker fuck motherfucker.

    so are we just saying we now like tits but not ass? why can’t we finally have both tits AND ass?!?!

    damn politicians.

    for reference: http://www.erenkrantz.com/Humor/SevenDirtyWords.shtml

  13. “fucking” as in “fucking brilliant” isn’t the adjective that the FCC claimed but an adverb…

    Thanks, Ron; nitpicking schadenfreude is about the only thing good that can be found in something like this. Lessee… how ’bout the redundancy of banning “fuck” and “motherfucker”?

    I say if they’re gonna do this sort of thing, make ’em work for it–have “The arsehole show” and after they insert language about alternate spellings, start having characters say “felch” at random times. Use the word “dork” incessantly. Make ’em open a dictionary.

    Hey Ose! If you PRICK me, do I not bleed? Garr… useless waste of flesh fucktard…

  14. So “cock” is ok if not part of -sucker? So a picture of Ose with a caption that reads “This man is a cock” would be ok?

  15. As would, “this man is a cock; Sucker’s trying to make to many laws

  16. A while back, I posted this link to a protest song against McCain-Feingold and the Supreme Court’s ruling that criticism of politicians isn’t “protected speech”:


    Since it uses the word “asshole” as part of its parody (where “asphalt” occurs in the original), it has a new applicability to Ose. And since, in the jargon of “filk songs,” an “ose” song is a very depressing one (as in “ose, ose, and morose”), it’s a triple-whammy! Yes!

  17. Father’s rights groups should be up in arms, as this legislation provides special treatment for mothers — well mother fuckers, anyway.

  18. Out of curiosity, does the FCC control webpage content?

  19. Out of curiosity, does the FCC control webpage content?

    No, but it probably won’t be long now. Dumb shit motherfuckin assholes. When it does, I’ll be rooting for the hackers.

  20. Well, sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit…

  21. Ose is just plain fucked up!

  22. I wonder when Ose will add phrases such as “blow me” or “licking pussy” or “stupid peckerhead” to his list…afterall he is a stupid peckerhead who needs to stop licking the pussy of the fasciligists who can all go blow me.

  23. The original list of words you can’t say on TV according to George Carlin, stated rapidly to great comic effect: shit piss fuck cunt cocksucker motherfucker tits. His monologue on the topic is truly a classic.

  24. Fuck me, it’s the history of swearing!

    Anyone remember the classic sound file, “All the uses of the word, ‘fuck'”? Had the background music to Masterpiece Theater? 🙂


    Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.) wants more. He has proposed legislation to effectively overturn the FCC ruling, blasting the agency for relying on a “technicality.”

    “You want to split hairs? I’m going to shave your head,” Ose said, referring to his legislative remedy.

    I don’t like this guy.

    What I’m curious about is Section 1464 of Title 18, Chapter 71, which says:

    Whoever utters any obscene, indecent, or profane language by means of radio communication shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

    Wouldn’t this cover all cordless phones, including cell phones?

  25. don’t forget 802.11b/g wireless access

  26. How does Ose feel about Peaches’ new album “Fatherfucker”?

  27. Actually, the correct order of GC’s list was ShitPissFuckCuntMotherfuckerCocksuckerTits.

    Being able to recite the list without a stutter was a sign of true manhood during my college years.

  28. Why not email him and make sure he knows what a fucking asshole he is?

  29. wow. Ronald Bailey tells us that the global icecaps melting is just a coincidence. He says that all the government reports showing global warming aren’t true. He knows more about global warming than anyone, since he sits at a desk in some swank think tank funded by Exxon Mobil that denies global warming exists (HMM–wonder how that works) Does anyone believe the bullshit that this guys is telling us?

  30. Garth: how about the episode entitled “the biggest douche in the universe”? Seems like a good title for certain lawmakers.

  31. Cursing on the telephone is illegal in Wisconsin. A man was arrested a few years ago and charged with profanity? after cursing out his ex-girlfriend’s answering machine.

  32. Tits doesn’t even belong on the list! It’s such a friendly sounding word.

  33. I recall that “ass” is used in the bible at least a few times. Would Mr. Ose outright ban books like that, which use such profane language? Or would we have a special profanity police with wide ranging discretion under Mr. Ashcroft to dispense moral justice?

    Does publishing this explicit list of profanity in the Congressional Record make that publication profane and thus make Congress as the publishers violators subject to the ultimate punishement?

    Is this crime to be punishable by caning, stoning or merely being forced to watch C-Span and listen to these idiots for hours on end?

  34. Ose can blow it out his Ose-hole! Oh, wait a minute… that’s EXACTLY how he ended up with this piece of crap bill in the first place!

  35. For anyone who needs some old-school catharsis, I recommend Pink Floyd’s “Animals”. One song is a great tribute to our pig overlords.

    “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are”

  36. Nice Guy:

    Don’t let Ose get to the part about the f***** up old hag in that song. He might implode.

  37. Que? What about the South Park Episode in which they said “shit” 162 times?

  38. We’re gonna fuck you, Congressman. But we’re gonna fuck you SLOW….

  39. During the August Coup of 1991, when Communist hardliners tried to turn back the clock and retake control of the Soviet Union, a team of KGB agents were sent to Gorbachev, on vacation at his dacha, to tell him he was deposed. He was told that if he cooperated, like Khrushchev had, it would be announced that he had resigned due to ill health, and he would be allowed to live out his life in internal exile. Otherwise, of course, a fatal “accident” would be staged. His response was quite direct:

    “FUCK OFF!!!”

    The New York Times printed his statement in their coverage, complete and without asterisks. How could they not? This was a critical moment in history, and that’s what one of the major players said.

    Under Ose’s law, they could not have printed it. I’d call that overbroad.

  40. Several years back, I vaguely recall, there was an organization somewhere called “Curse-aholics anonymous.” They had a “curser’s hotline,” but had to discontinue it because they were getting “too many obscene phone calls.”

  41. Well… The fact is the so called 7 prohibited words and phrases were never actually prohibited.

    Just discouraged

    Now, as for Rep Ose… perhaps the voters will be kind enough to discourage him come the first Tuesday after the first Monday some November

    Why don’t you go outside and play hide and go fuck yourself?

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