Sunday, January 27, 2008

We're Safe And We're Moral!

In 2003, ABC aired an episode of 'NYPD Blue' in which Charlotte Ross was preparing to take a shower and was shown naked from behind. Remove the word "from" and you have what the FCC considers to be a problem. Naked behind.

The FCC has decided to fine 52 ABC stations a total of $1.4 million dollars. (By the way, that amounts to the paltry total of $26,923.08 per station. Yeah, that'll teach 'em.) The fine is being imposed because , according to the FCC, the scene shows "multiple close-up views" and those views are of a "nude buttocks". So showing Charlotte's ass was a problem because the FCC's definition (not to be confused with a real definition) of indecent content requires that it "depicts or describes sexual or excretory activities" in a "patently offensive way". It also says that those depictions or descriptions of said activites must be horrifically done so between the hours of 6 am and 10 pm. So I guess Leno's or Letterman's ass would be just fine. (But I don't really want to find out.)

The FCC said that the show was consistent in meeting that definition because it "depicts sexual organs and excretory organs - specifically an adult woman's buttocks." The only argument (that I can find) that the network had was that a human ass is not a sexual organ.

Come on, ABC! That's all you got?! Really, they should have gone into the definition of "sexual organ". (For God's sake, I'm not going to. But they could have taken a stab at it. Not literally, please.) I'd probably agree that the ass is not a "sexual organ". Now, without getting overly graphic, I'm sure that, yes, it could be used in such a way. But, hey, sometimes I use my power drill as a hammer, but that doesn't make it right.

Here's the real issue for me. This was in 2003!!! A quick calendar check and I have just confirmed that is, in fact, 2008. FIVE years later and they're fining ABC for showing some chick's ass on 'NYPD Blue'. If they were going to fine ABC for showing anyone's ass it should have been for showing Dennis Franz's because, good Lord, man, no one wants to see that.

Five years. Who the hell is running the FCC? I'm guessing it's those guys who came up with the new requirements for driver's licenses.

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