Sir Winston Churchill reportedly once approached his foil Lady Astor
with a startling proposition, stating, "Lady Astor, if I gave you a
million pounds would you sleep with me?" To which Lady Astor, somewhat
flustered and flattered, accepted. Churchill then asked, "Lady Astor, if
I gave you 10 pounds would you sleep with me?" To which she replied
indignantly, "Mr. Churchill, what do you think I am?" with the reply,
"Lady, we have established what you are, we are just negotiating price."
The Federal Communications Commission finds itself in the same boat as Lady Astor on the censorship issue these days as it seeks to determine whether the coarse language that has slipped into America's everyday speech should be allowed in over-the-airwaves television.
All the predictable folks are coming forward demanding that this censorship end, and that parents can always turn the channel. To which I wonder, would they be so vehement in their desire to open the airwaves to offensive language if those words were pejoratives toward a race or someone's sexual orientation? Somehow I think the same crew rushing to open the airwaves to a barrage of four-letter words would have no problem censoring speech it finds offensive.
And that is the problem. Adding the “F”-word to our over-the-airwaves diet of drivel serves no purpose except to further coarsen American life. The FCC should run, not walk away from proposals to add the “F”-word to our regular television viewing. After all, they already are censors; we are just arguing over what they are going to allow.
Rick Manning is the communications director of Americans for Limited Government, and the opinions expressed in this piece are his and don't necessarily reflect the opinions of any group.