I’m seldom excited by the decision of the courts in our land. There are few surprises and most issues fall off my radar before any decision is made. By the time the courts actually get around to letting us know their take (and therefore the law of the land – at least for now), it’s rarely a hot topic.
July 13th, however, was a great day. The Second Circuit tore apart the FCC’s stance on censorship – namely that their arbitrary and fleeting definition of “patently offensive” was applied inconsistently and when applied, without substantive explanation.
Obscenity (and, ostensibly “patently offensive”) are personal definitions. Much as the court itself has struggled with defining “pornography”, the FCC had a poor policy and it applied it in a less than uniform manner. For some great examples, check the opinion yourself (just Google FCC and it’ll pop), it’s rare to see our judges have to delineate the nuances of curse words.
It’s personal. It’s age appropriate. It’s ours to control – change the channel or don’t watch.
I have a son. Though he’s too young to understand any salacious programming, I already find myself wanting to censor his reception. And this is where the control should be. Let me make the decision. Make me parent. Censorship doesn’t remove the content I want my son to avoid – it just softens it with lousy overdubs.
The next step would logically be an appeal to the Supreme Court. The current constitution of the Court will likely hold the decision and part of me wants to see an even lengthier dissertation on the absurdity of the FCC. What about you?