FCC: The Ass Police

Let me ask an innocent question.  Should a major American network be subjected to a fine for airing allegedly objectionable material?  Those who reply in the affirmative will argue for the protection of children’s eyeballs and ear drums while condemning the unrelenting filth that continually pollutes the airwaves.  Those who give the alternate answer will counter with First Amendment, anti-censorship arguments and repeatedly insist on parents taking more responsibility regarding their children’s viewing habits.  Furthermore, not every form of entertainment is kid-friendly, they’ll conclude.
 
But what if the specific program being singled out for naughtiness is no longer on the air?  Furthermore, what if the “obscene” episode in question aired in prime time almost five years ago?
 
Incredibly, this is the situation ABC finds itself in right now.  Their highly regarded drama, NYPD Blue, officially ended its 12-year run in the spring of 2005.  But an episode that aired in February 2003 has raised the ire of the Federal Communications Commission.  Apparently, a scene involving a kid accidentally walking into the bathroom while his mother is getting ready to go into the shower got their collective panties in a bunch.  Why?  Because the chick’s ass was shown.  For that one moment, ABC and 55 of its affiliates have been slapped with a collective 1.4 million dollar fine.
 
What a bunch of phony, hypocritical bullshit.  How seriously can anyone take this ruling?  It couldn’t possibly hold up in court.  It better not hold up in court.
 
The FCC argues that showing ass in prime time is a big no-no because it’s a “sexual” and “excretory organ”.  Wait a second.  Didn’t this show make a name for itself for showing all kinds of different asses throughout its entire run?  I mean we saw David Caruso’s ass, Dennis Franz’ ass, Jimmy Smits’ ass, Sharon Lawrence’s ass, Amy Brenneman’s ass and countless other asses.  Why is this particular ass from this particular episode the million dollar ass?  This must be some ass to warrant all this fuss half a decade after the fact.
 
I mean, please.  By now, it should be glaringly apparent that the FCC is out of control.  For Christ’s sake, they’re fining programs that are no longer on the air!  Are they insane?
 
Be honest.  If you’ve seen the NYPD Blue episode in question, is this allegedly appalling moment really worthy of such a hefty financial punishment?  Did you lose sleep over seeing female butt cheeks?  Are your children doomed, if they saw this ass?  And is the ass in question really a “sexual” and “excretory organ” in this context?  (Was mommy on the can doing a number two when the kid walked in?)  Chances are, you’ve probably forgotten it which makes sense because this episode aired five years ago!!! 
 
And, as an aside, what is the deal with the FCC’s obsession with sexual and excretory organs?  When is it up to them to decide what’s appropriate and what’s not for broadcast Television?  Last time I checked, there was such a concept as “community standards”.  If it offends the community, then you can make the case for obscenity.  But good luck getting a real consensus on that.  Disagreements always arise when it comes to matters like this.
 
To be fair, I don’t remember seeing this episode of NYPD Blue.  I pretty much bailed after they killed off Bobby Simone which was back in the late 1990s so, from my perspective, it’s unclear whether the scene in question is truly offensive or not.  That being said, I seriously doubt that it deserves such a severe punishment.  I mean, really?  All of this over an ass?  Get a grip, FCC.  Who died and made you the ass police?
 
The good news is ABC is fighting the charge.  What they should also do is declare war on the FCC.  Get NBC, CBS, Fox, and every broadcaster in the country to join their cause.  Ditto the newspaper business.  Fire up the public, too.  Remind everyone again and again that this is the most useless bureaucracy in the American Federal Government.  It is corrupt to the core, against freedom of expression and must be immediately dissolved.  Expose their hypocrisy over and over again.  God knows this is long overdue.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, January 26, 2008
10:24 p.m. 
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Published in: on January 26, 2008 at 10:25 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. because it is a woman’s ass!
    Nah, just joking. If Caruso’s scrawny ass is okay for the Tv screen then other butts are as well. HIPOCRITS….not to mention that that “incident” was 5 years ago – A BIT LATE, or?


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