Yesterday, as the serious threat of the swine flu epidemic loomed even larger over the nation and while the economy sunk even deeper in its dismal downward-spiral, the public servants at the US Supreme Court, as a result of actions by the public servants at the FCC, wasted more public time in their drawn-out debate of the use of so-called "fleeting expletives" on US airwaves.
The 5-4 ruling, which endorsed a Bush administration Federal Communications Commission (FCC) policy, upheld a federal prohibition on the one-time use of [fleeting] expletives in a case arising in part from words uttered by Bono, Nicole Richie, and Cher. It was at a live television broadcast of the 2002 Billboard Music Awards show on Fox TV that Cher, while at the podium accepting an Artist Achievement Award, and in response to critics who had said her career was dead, famously said, “People have been telling me I’m on the way out every year, right? So fuck ‘em.”
Was Cher right in what she said? Probably so (about the critics) and good for her for expressing her honest views. But should she have cursed on a family viewed TV show? Probably not, but it is not a huge big deal in my opinion-- not one that deserves so much attention and resources poured into it, especially during these critical times. Cher's one-off use of the F word on a live show or Bono's equally blown-out-of-proportion use of the same word in adjective form (as in “this is really, really, fucking brilliant”) at the live NBC televised 2003 Golden Globe Awards, which the FCC ruled as “indecent,” and hence deserving of a fine, are both non-issues that should not have caused such a fuss. But as they stand, they are a most important issue since they address the First Amendment.