‘Wardrobe Malfunction’ led to over-zealous FCC crackdown

Rob Ettman

Last week major TV networks refused to show Steven Spielberg’s war classic Saving Private Ryan in honor of Veterans Day stating that they were worried about any fines the FCC might regulate on them for the excessive amount of violence and language used in the movie. A movie that is showing how brave and heroic soldiers can be, especially in WWII, was not shown because of the fear of being sued. What has this country become?

Ever since the infamous Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl last January, the FCC has been cracking down on any radio or television program that happens to include a single curse word or inappropriate scene. Immediately, we see the Academy Awards have a delay to edit out any obscene joke that one of the presenters may have made. After that, Howard Stern said that he was being unfairly targeted by the FCC and just recently moved his radio show onto satellite radio.

When will this stop? Public action groups find the smallest things to be offended by and therefore all the normal people in this country must deal with the backlash and have our award shows, television programs, movies and radio shows censored at an all-time high. If one animal is harmed in any way, PETA immediately comes out and complains. If there is a joke made about Jesus, the Christian Right comes out and complains, and if one entertainer’s left breast accidentally peaks out for a split second on national TV, any form of entertainment as we know it is sanctioned and watched like a hawk.

What makes these groups, especially the FCC, out of control is that some things are awful for people to see while others are not. A curse word can be considered dangerous to young kids’ ears but watching Britney Spears shake her half-naked butt in a music video on MTV or watching people cheat and backstab each other on “The OC” is quality viewing entertainment that young kids can enjoy.

In Europe and other places around the world, they accept these images and jokes and bring them into their society. There are half-naked bodies on billboards in major European cities and not a single peep is said about it. But in the United States, when everything is fair and equal and where everyone has a freedom of speech, expression, and of the press, each thing that insults one person is re-thought and then made appropriate for the public to view.

Since I am a solutions oriented person, here is how this nation fixes this problem: we stop acting like a bunch of babies and accept what we see and hear on TV, in movies, and on radio. If people do not like it, then simply do not tune into that program. If you’re like the majority of this country (according to this last election) and feel uncomfortable around homosexuals, then simply do not turn on “Will and Grace.” If you support President Bush and his administration, simply do not turn on “Real Time with Bill Maher.” If you fear a celebrity having another wardrobe malfunction, simply do not turn on MTV or “Access Hollywood” or “Entertainment Tonight.”

But for the FCC to put our networks and programmers in panic mode that they cannot show a movie with the importance of Saving Private Ryan or Schindler’s List but not sanction “The Real World” should put up a big road block to Americans and have everyone question which direction this country is going in.

Because if it stays on the same path we are on, then it will be okay to show “The Passion of the Christ” but not “Saving Private Ryan” because after all, The Passion of the Christ won’t offend the majority of this country because it is about killing Jesus. Besides the movie is in Latin and Aramaic, and it would be impossible for any curse word to be heard or any wardrobe malfunction to occur.