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You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Dec 8, 2004
Memo to Michael Powell: YOU ARE STILL DUMB.
It's Wednesday, and you know what that means! It's NEW WORD... wait. No it's not. It's just your regularly scheduled rant about our government being run by a bunch of nimrod prudes with Doric columns where their large intestines should be. Nevermind.
Yes, we're talking about the FCC, bastion of decency, protector of our nations airwaves, and the second-largest concentration of tittyhaters in America. Whether it's Janet Jackson's boob, Nicolette Sheridan's asscrack, and Saving Private Ryan's F-bombs, the FCC, under Michael Powell's not-nepotistic-at-all leadership, has been, first and foremost, a responsive agency, acting only when they receive complaints from a significant portion of the population.
Of course, "significant portion" means something a little bit different to Powell and the Bush administration than it might to you and me. For example, if I were to suddenly decide that our nations airwaves had a massive obscenity problem, I wouldn't base it almost entirely on the automated, one-click testimony of the LARGEST concentration of tittyhaters in America.
Yes, it's the Parents Television Council, who, if they had their way, would fill the airwaves with nothing but Lawrence Welk reruns and a new version of "Seventh Heaven" where all those naughty ankles are covered up. The PTC hates everything, and not in a cheery, daily web columnist kind of way. To them, the common, everyday nipple is Satan's Warhead, delivering pure, evil, Immorality Devil Milk through the corneas of any poor soul who catches a glimpse.
According to MediaWeek, citing internal FCC numbers, in 2000, the FCC received about 350 indecency complaints. In 2001, they received about 350 as well. In 2002, they got about 14,000. In 2003, they got 240,000. Powell, who I cannot stress enough in no way got his job because he is Colin Powell's son, used this increase to justify the FCC's indecency crackdown on fuck, shit, and all the other fun words that enrich the fucking language and keep it from being all shitty.
Completely coincidentally, in 2003, the PTC developed a web-based form by which people could send form-complaints about indecency to the FCC. Completely coincidentally, in 2003, these complaints made up NINETY NINE POINT EIGHT PERCENT of the indecency complaints by the FCC. That means the PTC bitched about 239,500 times, and the rest of America bitched about 500 times. This is what happens when you listen to people on the INTERNET.
The PTC's spokesperson, Lara Mahaney, who I am led to believe is in personal possession of not one, but TWO of the deadly, soul-destroying nipples, offered up the kind of defense that, even for a bunch of fundamentalist, crusading loonies, is just sad. It's NIPPLE FUCK ACTUAL NIPPLE QUOTE ANUS TIME!
"I wish we had that much power. Why does it matter how the complaints come?? Mahaney said. ?If the networks haven?t done anything illegal, if they haven?t done anything indecent, why do they care what we say??
That's lovely. When accused of manipulating public officials to get their narrow viewpoint forced down the deep throats of the viewing public, all Ms. Flanagan and her nipples can muster is "I wish!". Yes, if only they could truly dominate the public discourse on obscenity and make up that last point two percent! Then we could digitally clothe all that filthy naked skin on the Surgery Channel!
As for the rest of her defense, I'm sure Ms. Mahoney knows from her head to her areolas that "indecency" in this country is defined by two things - what gives a judge an erection, and "community standards". Send enough form letters and dominate the complaint system, throw in a complacent, fundie-loving administration, and suddenly, the "community standards" are being redefined by a bunch of maroons who think the biggest problem with the country right now is Howard Stern talking about stripper's cooches during drivetime.
And Powell, willfully or otherwise (the Official Line is that he was "unaware" of the PTC's dominance) went right along with it, taking a much needed break from not making digital TV happen to fight the good fight against the bad tit. Ergo, HE IS DUMB.