Censorship

Toddler to Say Fuck on Delightful Family Sitcom Next Week; Nuclear Clock Now Even Closer to Midnight

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As the Supreme Court hears arguments over the Federal Communications Commssion's right to regulate content on broadcast radio and TV, Entertainment Weekly reports a toddler character on the offensive-only-to-comedy show Modern Family will drop the f-bomb.

A long way from Scout's "Pass the damn ham!" in To Kill a Mockingbird, and arguably a rare sign of progress in American culture and expression.

'You've been warned, America. If you stumble across this safe-as-milk moment which is doubtless one of the reasons why the terrorists hate us, it's your own damned fault. There is a plenitude of tools designed for viewers to avoid ever seeing anything that might somehow offend or annoy them. Get off your duff and use them, despite that fact that the kid won't actually be heard saying fuck.

Jacob Sullum has just written a column about the FCC should just die already when it comes to regulating broadcast content. Read it and then go watch cable shows or internet porn.

Corrected alt-text: That's not Dan Aykroyd in the cast, but an incredible simulation.

To get a full sense of how slack the brainpower at the FCC is, travel back to 2005, when then-FCC honcho Kevin Martin actually said in a discussion of "indecency":

"You can always turn the television off and, of course, block the channels you don't want[….] But why should you have to?"

From the vault of Seinfeld, a simpler way to deal with cursing kids:

NEXT: A.M. Links: Ron Paul Still Hot on Romney's Heels, Fannie Mae CEO Steps Down, Hostess Files for Bankruptcy

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  1. So, the “fuck” won’t be bleeped?

    1. If so, don’t they need the prestige of Spielberg to get the FCC to grant the special privilege of the “fuck”?

    2. From what I’ve read, you won’t hear the “fuck”, but you will see the kid mouth the word.

      1. Thats so precious

          1. good word for it.

  2. Shutting It All Down: The Power of General Strikes in U.S. History

    By Erik Loomis

    As protesters gather Wednesday for the general strike called by Occupy Oakland, it’s worth looking at the history of this tactic. General strikes are rare in American social movements, because they are difficult to coordinate. On the other hand, few actions offer a more direct challenge to those in power. What can Occupy Oakland learn from their activist ancestors to help its participants draw strength? How have general strikes affected long-term labor and social movements?

    The two major general strikes in American history are the Seattle General Strike of 1919 and the Oakland General Strike of 1946. In 1919, the workers of Seattle engaged in a three-day mass action calling all city workers onto the streets. This was the first citywide collective action in American history known as a general strike.

    The Pacific Northwest in the early 20th century was a center of radicalism. Horrible working conditions in the timber industry, already radicalized immigrants from Scandinavia, activist dockworkers and the popularity of the Industrial Workers of the World among the region’s thousands of transient workers made Seattle a fertile center of radical thought that even influenced labor organizations affiliated with the traditionally moderate American Federation of Labor (AFL).

    The strike began with shipyard workers but was quickly joined by workers around the city. By February 6, over 60,000 workers were on the streets where they remained for four days. In an atmosphere fearful of radicalism after the Bolshevik Revolution, conservatives around the nation declared the strike the first step toward revolution.

    Seattle mayor Ole Hanson took the lead in crushing the strike ordering the National Guard to take control of the city’s light company. Fearing long-term fallout, national AFL leaders denounced the strike and it quickly fell apart. After its defeat, the labor movement in Seattle fell apart, a victim of both internal fighting and the vicious Red Scare that followed World War I.

    The Oakland general strike came out of the massive changes to the Bay Area during World War II. Hundreds of thousands of Americans moved to San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, and other cities to work in wartime industries. The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) had achieved major successes in organizing American workers during the late 1930s. Often using communist organizers, the CIO built on the militancy of American labor to become a powerful force in opposition to both the more traditional AFL and conservative business interests.

    During World War II, the AFL and CIO turned their energies toward defeating the fascist menace of Germany and Japan. The administration of Franklin Roosevelt, wanting to avoid strikes that would undermine wartime production, brought both the AFL and CIO into wartime planning. But while consumer prices rose during the war, wages did not. The motivated and radicalized workers wanted to strike, but their leaders and the federal government urged them to work through it.

    When the war ended however, the country was overtaken by a wave of strikes. In 1946, 4.5 million workers went on strike throughout the United States, the greatest number of strikers in one year in American history. Wages did not keep up with rapidly rising prices and higher wages were the core demand of almost all the strikers.

    The situation in Oakland was especially volatile because of the city’s Retail Merchants Association, a powerful and deeply anti-union business organization. These department stores owners employed mostly women, who they believed would accept low wages. The Department and Specialty Store Employees Union Local 1265 organized workers at these downtown stores. Early in 1946, they won victories at smaller stores and decided to take on the biggest retailers, Kahn’s and Hastings. A month-long strike ensued in the late fall of 1946. Beginning mere blocks from Occupy Oakland’s encampment, this turned into one of the biggest challenges to corporate America in the postwar years.

    Although the CIO had the more radical agenda, it was actually the AFL who decided to call for a general strike on December 2, 1946 in support of the striking department store workers. AFL workers around Oakland walked off their jobs?bus drivers, teamsters, sailors, machinists, cannery workers, railroad porters, waiters, waitresses, cooks. For over two days, Oakland shut down. Over 100,000 workers participated in the strike.

    The strikers controlled Oakland. All businesses except for pharmacies and food markets shut down. Bars could stay open but could only serve beer and had to put their juke boxes outside and allow for their free use. Couples literally danced in the streets. Recently returned war veterans created squadrons to prepare for battle. Union leadership took a back seat to rank and file actions.

    Although it is often spun in Oakland legend that the general strike was a successful action, it really wasn’t. A majority of workers wanted to continue striking and CIO unions considered joining in support, but the strike fell apart because of a single corrupt labor leader. Dave Beck, the head of the Teamsters and Jimmy Hoffa’s mentor, forced a compromise when he pulled his powerful union off the lines and endorsed a moderate settlement that accomplished almost nothing and quite literally did not address the department store workers concerns at all. While the still agitated workers managed to elect several labor representatives to the city council, the entire apparatus of the city used the general strike to attack all labor. The police, the city government, and the Oakland Tribune combined to resist not only the unionization of the department stores, but all labor in Oakland.

    While Oakland remained a strong union city after this, the strikes of 1946 around the nation and especially the Oakland General Strike led to the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. Taft-Hartley was an open attack on the labor movement, limiting labor’s ability to strike, banning sympathy strikes (which could make it legally difficult for today’s unions to support Occupy Oakland’s general strike), and allow individual states to pass so-called “right to work” laws, meaning that just because there is a union at your workplace doesn’t mean you have to join it.

    Soon after, the McCarthy era began and radical unionism of any kind became suspicious, with the CIO kicking the communist organizers and entire communist-led unions out of the federation, turning its back on its radical history.

    If there is one lesson to take from these general strikes, it’s that they are extremely threatening to those in power. If successful, they show that the 1% have lost the control they so ardently seek. They will react with ferocity against the organizers, laying bare structural and legal inequalities in this nation. Neither strike was successful, but we remember them as moments of incredible worker solidarity when it seemed massive changes were about to happen. They need to be seen as part of the larger struggles of working people to achieve basic rights, decent wages, and safe living conditions in this country.

    The Occupy Wall Street movement is picking up this torch and providing a strong voice for those who have become disempowered in the unregulated capitalism of the early 21st century. Whether the new general strike succeeds or not is less important than the public stand it takes against the exploitation of working-class people. The general strike is not the end of the road but rather one step on the path to taking back our country.

    Finally, I want to encourage everyone involved in the Occupy movement, as well as anyone who identifies as progressive, to deeply read labor history and the history of social movements. Knowing about your ancestors is great, but the past offers a more direct lesson: understanding how various tactics and strategies have worked in the past, and how they can work in the present.

      1. Good it was deleted. Maybe a character limit on the comments would take care of all this copy/paste crap we have to put up with.

    1. Dude,

      You have to have a job to go on strike. When you are just a bum who lives in a tent at McPherson square, no one notices when you go on strike.

      1. Erik Loomis is an assistant professor of labor history at the University of Rhode Island.

        1. OK then, a bum that lives at a Univeristy.

        2. So he’s going to have his TA’s teach his class and grade his papers for the day? How is this different than any other day?

        3. Oh yeah, a strike by university profs and their semi-employed adherents will certainly shake the foundations.

        4. Assistant prof. Shocking. The convenient thing about going from student to assprof is that you never have to learn how the real world works, you can just stay safe and sanctimonious in your own little leftest university brainwashed bubble.

        5. Just like John said, you need a JOB first.

    2. Knowing about your ancestors is great, but the past offers a more direct lesson: understanding how various tactics and strategies have worked in the past, and how they can work in the present.

      I’ve already thrown my wooden shoes into the mechanical looms. What more do you want.

      The Occupy “movement” is about as influential as an internet petition to get Firefly back on the air.

      1. I don’t think that analogy works anymore since Firefly is back on the air. Granted it’s on the Science Channel not Fox, but it’s still back.

        How about: the Occupy “movement” is about as influential as Mitt Romney is at limiting government…

        1. Now a whole new generation of idiots will think Firefly is real science, since it is on the Science channel. Don’t we have enough problems from the dolts who think Star Wars and Trek are real?

          1. Shiny!

    3. “Unregulated capitalism”? Do you have any fucking clue what words actually mean?

      1. I think he means “not quite communism”

    4. Yawn another troll

    5. Needs more random capitalization and “[“.

    6. TL;DR
      I’ll just assume that you are in favor of Right to Work laws being passed in Indiana.

      1. The troll has been deleted. Nevermind.

  3. I think Modern Family is tolerable. They try, at least.

    1. I watch very little TV at all, but my wife watches that show, and if it’s on and I’m not doing anything else, I’ll watch it also. Two things make that show worth watching:

      1. The gay couple are the funniest part – the guys are both hilarious. Trivia: the big guy actually is straight in real life; the red head actually is gay.

      2. Sofia Vergara.

      1. so, basically 3 things…

        1. The Ed O’Neill and Manny relationship is a nice part of the show…

        2. Um… Julie Bowen is still smokin’ hot too.

          1. Sarah Hyland, too.

      2. once again, I’m happy not to have cable – I only get the local Fox station (and not very well) which is perfect for watching NFL. Other than that, it’s Netflix (all the way down).

      3. Number 2 is the only reason I’m interested in its success. Oh, I love Al Bundy too.

    2. My wife loves that show. It is okay. The hot Colombian wife and the gay couple are funny.

      1. Occasionally funny. Jeez, the fact that so many people I know think that show is the funniest thing ever is testament to the desert that is network TV. And the Colombian woman – most preposterously overwrought acting I’ve seen in a long time. OTOH, the fat gay guy is really good, especially considering that the actor is straight.

        1. Is Two and a Half Men still the most popular show on television? Modern Family is the funniest thing ever in comparison.

          1. You speak the truth.

          2. Aston Kutcher lacks that special crazy that Marty Estivez brought to the show.

            1. Who?

        2. Ive only caught a few minutes from a couple episodes and was not that impressed. Im probably not the greatest judge since I find most sitcoms banel and boring.

          1. I find most banalities banal. Or is that anal?

    3. I personally find this show to be very funny, often hysterical. One of the few bright spots on TV. (Big Bang Theory also cracks me up. I have a degree in physics; their nerd characterizations are not over-the-top. If anything, they’re understated.)

      Oh, I think Claire (Julie Bowen) is by far the hottest woman on the show.

    4. My wife likes the show, and I pretty much watch it for the fat gay character.

      They’ve started putting “what we learned” voiceovers at the end which annoy the shit out of me.

      1. Looks like everybody’s wife likes the show. That’s good enough for me to never watch it.

    5. I like Modern Family. If we’re gonna take pot-shots at something because it’s popular, I say we start with Portlandia.

  4. If they’re going to be indecent, why not start with a topless Sofia Vegara?

    1. There’s nothing at all indecent about those.

    2. A topless Sofia Vegara mouthing the word ‘fuck’….

      1. … followed by “me”?

  5. Is there a joke I’m missing? That isn’t Dan Ackroyd.

    1. Jesus Nick how fat do you think Ackroyd is?

  6. Why did/do both “Lily” characters on that show look like some sort of mutant?

    1. Are there no Asians where you live?

  7. Embedding disabled by request

    You sf’ed the video. (and that is not the best Seinfeld scene ever)

    1. I also don’t get the “simpler way of dealing with cursing kids” angle. Jerry briefly mentions it in passing. How…illustrative?

  8. How is having a small child mouth an ancient Anglo Saxon vulgarity a “rare sign of progress”?

    1. It offends the squares. In some circles, that’s all that matters.

  9. I’ve never seen this show. That screenshot makes me believe it utilizes canned laughter. Arrested Development had spoiled me on the idea of a laugh track.

    1. It’s a single camera show; there is not a laugh track. In its style it’s sort of a blend of The Office/Parks and Rec and Arrested Development. There are talking head segments and the characters are aware of the cameras when it suits the joke. They stuff a lot of jokes into the show; the problem is that they’re not always very funny and they rely too much on not particularly talented child actors.

      1. Yes. It’s Arrested Development lite. Sappier and less clever.

        So, not terrible relative to everything else on network television.

        Did they ever explain the presence of cameras or the characters’ awareness of them?

    2. Fist, it doesn’t. It’s actually funny. It’s not “Curb your enthusiasm” – there, requisite snob comedy that’s really funny reference made- but it is funny. I don’t know why the jacket would have the hate for it.

    3. Modern Family does not use a laugh track.

    4. It doesn’t use laughtrack. I didn’t know there were so many Modern Family haters. I like the show. Nothing will ever beat Arrested Development, though.

      1. Yeah, I was told by different people it was good. I don’t know when it’s on and am not sure I’ve even ever seen it advertised. I don’t know why I thought it was laugh tracked.

    5. Nothing currently on air beats Arrested Development.

      Some kid mouthing an obscenity does not compare to a business card that says Analrapist.

      1. I still find the “get rid of the ‘Seaward'” Lucille scene hilarious.

    6. Apparently I’m the only one who found Arrested Development to be merely a passable comedy. The original Office was miles ahead of it.

      1. streets miles ahead of it.

        … not that I agree with you.

  10. Why are there no pictures of Sofia Vergara?

    1. Thanks Warty. My morning just got way better.

    2. I really wish these Hollywood types would let her keep her regular blond hair for their productions.

  11. The show, Growing Pains (you know with Kirk Cameron), did the exact same thing with the toddler being bleeped out, but nobody cried about it back then.

  12. Modern Family is actually pretty funny if you give it a chance. Agree with the rest of the articles content of course.

    1. Some parts of it are good and some parts just make the lazy use of stereotypical Jewish comedy devices–the overbearing mother; the clueless father; the smart-mouthed kids.

      Ed O’Neill is probably the main saving grace on the show because he’s not a 2-dimensional caricature.

      1. Sure it’s no Arrested Development or Curb Your Enthusiasm, but I hear a lot of vitriol thrown its way that I really think is unfair. The show goes to the same well for story and whatnot a lot, but there’s also lots of amusing stuff.

  13. anything to sell your fucking garbage nobody needs with your marketing psychological warfare bundled in with your “programming”

    with dozens of free channels and 100’s of cheap ones, there is no excuse for being unable to balance censorship & decency with expressive freedom and choice.

    yet changing the channel doesn’t work when every single channel is filled with shows that are either uninteresting or uncomfortable to watch with family.

    the only option left is not watch it at all, depriving ourselves of what could otherwise otherwise become a wholesome resource for news and info, culture, art, and sports. now, about the only decent programming still available is sports, which is ruined by the most unbelievably insulting, sterotyping and disgusting ads of all.
    if we want disgust, discomfort and stupidity, and personal drama, thats why we have the internet, with facebook & twitter in particular.

    clean up TV, otherwise we’ll completely forget what it means to have values, and we wont be able to get them from a church or school or good parenting or anywhere else, without becoming culturally ignorant in the process

    1. No, you get together with some like minded people and start a channel that caters to your taste.

      If there are so many of you then you should make enough money to keep going.

      And if not the there are too few people with your taste for it to be worth stealing my money to support yohr entertainment.

  14. Modern Family is generally funny, but they have had some episodes that were real clunkers. Plus, the sappy endings they tend to have usually feel awkward and grafted on….in addition to not being funny.

  15. I don’t even like it when child actors are made to stay up late at night to perform. It vexes me almost as much that they teach children to cuss for an act.

  16. Since I’m black, I only find the show somewhat amusing at best. My white wife thinks it’s great- on the same level as Friends for her.

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