Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I Know It When I See It

The last few weeks continue in the theme of Gonzales v. Carhart, in that the Supreme Court is pouring out depressing 5-4 decisions that feature the five right wingers of Gonzales overcoming, and failing to persuade, the four liberals. Such beauties include Ledbetter, which somehow came to the conclusion that if you do not file within six months of your discrimination, even if you do not know you're being discriminated against, you have no case. Or today's ruling that enables the prosecuting attorneys to easily remove people who have a problem with the death penalty, or, indeed, on the basis of race. Kennedy has simply proved himself to be no friend of women, or the vulnerable, whatsoever. Good to see that Christian conscience and concern for the meek / humble coming through there.

Anyway, given the genuine horrors of the Supreme Court right now, it's time to look elsewhere. And in that vein, there was an interesting ruling in a Circuit Court* today. The Second Circuit--which covers New York, Connecticut and Vermont--ruled that so-called "fleeting expletives" do not trigger a mandatory fine from the FCC - if the government uses the same language. Which is a good thing, sort of. Fleeting expletives are something that Studio 60 was preaching about earlier in the season--heavy handedly, obviously, but valid intention. However, I worry that this relies on the foul mouths of the government being heard... anyway, this is something I really do believe is important: Bad language will not do people damage. Why not instead look at crap like The Next Search for a Pussycat Doll or, indeed, the content of most of MTV, and think about the awful messages sent out about women and their bodies and what is important about them?

Not that I am suggesting the CW11 gets fined for that boswellox, but if we're talking about the role of television in society, and whether it should shape or reflect our culture, if shaping is important then we should really be investing in decent, clever television that is nowhere near as degrading as not just the CW11, but all those godawful, stupid sitcoms where there is a slob of a guy with an amazing looking woman but they are VAPID and all the woman possibly could want is to be married at home with kids. Yes, Patricia Heaton, I'm talking to you.

* Quick brief for non-law school types: from lowest to highest it goes District (where the trial takes place), then Circuit (the Courts of Appeal) and then Supreme Court).

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